I always like to share my favorite books of the year – I hope you’ll enjoy at least some of them! These are in no particular order.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – A strange and wonderful book about a writer and her husband in rural Canada, a Japanese teenager and her family, and time. Everyone I know who has read this book has enjoyed it, I think you will, too.
I absolutely love A. M. Homes, and went on quite a reading jag this year. I loved This Book Will Save Your Life. Her characters are weird but real, and I bet these books will stay with you long after you finish reading them.
An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman – This book was originally published in 1962 but was recently re-released. Since I am Armenian I was interested in a book about travels in Armenia, but this book is so much more.The author is brilliant, thoughtful, and funny, with an outlook that made the trip to Armenia an experience I want for myself. One day, I hope! I am looking forward also to reading his other re-released book Life and Fate that had been confiscated by the KGB and which was smuggled into the West in the 1980’s.
The Epicure’s Lament by Kate Christensen – This book was a real treat.The main character has a rare disease that will be fatal unless he quits smoking. He decides to keep smoking in order to kill himself…. but that’s not how things actually go. Wonderful book, I wish I could read it again for the first time.
I went on a Kent Haruf bender this year, too. I read the trilogy of Plainsong, Eventide,and Benediction as well as The Tie That Binds and Where You Once Belonged. All are wonderfully written books that mostly take place in a small town in Colorado. His writing style is slow paced but the character development and thoughtful exploration of relationships is stellar.I recommend them all.
The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux is not a new book but it had been on my “to read” list for a long time as I love his travel books. But this story, of a basically crazy man who takes his wife and kids to live in the Honduran rain forest was shocking and scary. This is the kind of story that challenged me to think about what I would do at every turn.
Five Star Billionaire By Tash Aw – Shanghai. A pop star. A business woman. A factory worker from the countryside. A man who inherited family real estate. All are trying to make their way in Shanghai. Hang onto your hat, it is a wild ride all over the place, for me a stay-up-late-reading-until-you can’t-keep-your-eyes-open kind of book.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – The priceless painting of a goldfinch is missing after an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. That’s just the beginning, there are all kinds of interesting people and situations and you’ll be staying up late with this one, too. I promise.
Maggie O’Farrell – Instructions for a Heatwave – What if your husband walked down the street to buy a paper and never came home? That’s where this book starts, but the Decker family is going to take you on quite a ride before you finish this story.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – We all have had those people in our lives where our relationship was just so special… and those relationships can transcend age, or sex, or family relationships. This is a wonderful book I just might want to read again.