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Topic: ***What is your book of the Month for 2013****

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Subject: ***What is your book of the Month for 2013****
Date Posted: 1/2/2013 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Let's start for 2013.  Go ahead and  add your places.

 Page 1:                         

Kathleen K.  (kathyk)                          

Kelly E.  (rainfall)                                 

Jeanne W.  (Jeannewar)

Kristin K.  (escapeartistk)

Melissa V.  (jjameli)

Lynn N.  (reelycreekgirl)

Barbara B.  (barbieof mpls)

Valerie P.  (vprosser)

Regina  (Gr8Smokies)

Temple S.  (Tempie)

Bonnie S.  (Bonnie)

Nan Z.

Rhonda  (pinkcypress)

Lori L.  (loralei)

ANNA L.  (SanJoseCa)

Sheila M.  (Page5)

Debra R.  (MediumDebbi)

Wendy  (Froggie)


Sara M.  (Sara618)

Dw  (squarespot)

Margaret T.  (megt)

Sandra D.  (bookcrazychick)

Page 2:

Deb B.

Jenny R.  (jennala9)

Donna W.  (drw)

Tammy W.  (yak233)

Pamela S.  (Cosmina)


Jennifer   (mywolfalways)

Cele D.  (sk888888)

Mary   (mepom)

Heather F.  (AZmom875)

Jo-Anne S.  (JoS)

Deborah T.  (nysbikergirl)

Joanne G.  (jlibrarian)

Carole    (craftnut)

Lisa H.  (Granites2001)

Jerry T  (Twobooklovers)

Chris O.   (Lambie)

Page 3

R E K.  (bigstone)

Kat   (polbio)

Linda S.  (tchstroo)

Valerie V.

Barb S. (okbye)


Paige M. (onthesamepaige)


Becky T. (beanie5)

Monica   (ReadingMonster)

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January  - GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

February - Dark Fire - Shardlake, Bk 2 by C. J. Sansom;  best audio: Marley and Me ready by the auther : John Grogan

March - Bad Move by Linwood Barclay;  best audio: -- Coal Run by Tawni O'dell  read by Daniel Passer

April -  The James Deans by Reed Farrel Coleman; best audio : /the colorodo kid by stephen king read byJeffery Demunn

May  -Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo;  best audio:  power play by joseph finder read by Dennis Boutsikaris

June : A Brother's Blood by Michael C. White

July  Wisconsin Death Trip (Wisconsin) by Michael Lesy & Charles Van Schaic

August - Endless Night by Agatha Christie

September : Safer by Sean Doolittle

October  The Cold Kiss by John Rector

November   Reunion by Fred Uhlman

December - Soldier Boys by Dean Hughes


Last Edited on: 12/27/13 12:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 14
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Thanks for starting it! My spot...
Date Posted: 1/2/2013 2:16 PM ET
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January: The Council of Dads Bruce Feiler

February The Red Thread Ann Hood

March True Sisters Sandra Dallas

April The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap Wendy Welch

May Chocolate Chocolate Francis & Ginger Park

June One Breath Away Heather Gudenkauf

July: Ask Me Why I Hurt Randy Christensen MD

August: The Chili Queen Sandra Dallas

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JanuaryThe Stolen Child by Donohue (4.5 stars)

FebruaryWhat Alice Knew by Cohen (4 stars)

MarchThe Last Enchantment by Stewart (4 stars)

AprilThe Dream of Perpetual Motion by Palmer (4.5 stars)

        {Runners up: The Girl with Glass Feet by Shaw (4 stars) and The Scar by Dyachenko & Dyachenko (4 stars) }

MayJonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Clarke (5 stars)

JuneWool by Howey (4.5 stars) and The Curse of Chalion by Bujold (4.5 stars)

JulyThe Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone Bk 2) by Keyes (4.5 stars)

        {Runner-up: The City, Not Long After by Murphy (4 stars)}

AugustDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Taylor (5 stars)

SeptemberThe High Lord by Canavan (4 stars)

October: Shadow and Bone by Bardugo (4.5 stars)

          {Runners-up: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Lynch (4 stars) and Hounded by Hearne (4 stars)}

November: The Thief's Gamble by McKenna (4 stars)

December: The Wicked Day by Stewart (4.5 stars) and The Emperor's Soul by Sanderson (4.5 stars)

          {Runner-up: Divergent by Roth (4 stars)}

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January:  Unwind by Neal Shusterman  The only 5 star rating I gave.  I loved the originality of the story, it's horrifying and interesting.  


February:  You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane  Chick lit for me has lost it's luster, it's all been done and nothing in the genre feels new, but this novel made me smile.  It's not exactly original but the I enjoyed the writing and the storyline had a freshness I wasn't expecting.


March:  The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew  A southern historical fiction set in the 1950's.  It's a coming of age story dealing with race, greed and infidelity.  Very engrossing. 


April:  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler  A fictional account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life with F.Scott Fitzgerald.  Zelda has always been fascinating person to me, could not stop reading.


May:  Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin  Suprised by how much I love this.  


June:  Poison Study by Maria Snyder


July:  Tampa by Alissa Nutting


August:  The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey


September: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathon Evison


October:  Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier


November:  What Ever Happen to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell


December:  I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb


Favorite Book of the year:  I Know This Much True by Wally Lamb

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January.............The King Of Lies.....John Hart

February...........Touch & Go.....Lisa Gardner

March................Depth Perception......Linda Castillo

April...................No Way Back.......Andrew Gross

May................Did You Miss Me.....Karen Rose

June.............Unintended Consequences......Stuart Woods

July........The Shadow Tracer...Meg Gardiner................Unseen.....Karin Slaughter

August.........Justice For Sara......Erica Spindler

September........The Stranger You Know....Andrea Kane

October............Deadline...Sandra Brown

November.......The Good Sister......Wendy Corsi Staub

December......Sycamore Row....John Grisham


Best book of 2013:  The King of Lies...John Hart

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FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR:Three Men and a Maid   by P. G. Wodehouse (fiction)  
NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR:The Story of America: Essays on Origins   by Jill Lepore (nonfiction)

January     Time and Again   by Jack Finney  (fiction)   Beautifully written time travel story where the main character travels back and forth between modern New York City and 1882. Imaginative plot, well drawn characters, and excellent historical detail.                 

February   Jailbird   by Kurt Vonnegut  (fiction) and  Free Will  by Sam Harris (nonfiction)

March    Three Men and a Maid   by P. G. Wodehouse (fiction)   Hilarious romantic comedy (audiobook) by the author of the 'Jeeves & Wooster' series and  The Story of America: Essays on Origins   by Jill Lepore (nonfiction) Very well written series of cogent essays on diverse  American personalities and issues.

April     MountDragon   by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

May     The Inimitable Jeeves   by P. G. Wodehouse (fiction)In a word...hilarious! and  for nonfiction, the incredibly interesting Birdology  by Sy Montgomery. This fascinating book takes an indepth look at five or so familiar birds, and I guarantee you'll learn many things you never knew.  

June     Reunion   by Fred Uhlman...a marvelous novella with a stunning twist at the end!

July     Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World   by Haruki Murakami

August       Lolly Willowes   by Sylvia Townsend Warner

September     The Keeper of Lost Causes   by Jussi Adler-Olsen

October     The Story of Lucy Gault   by William Trevor

November   Asgard Park   by Ronald Simonar  This was a fantastic thriller with some Nordic mythology/paranormal goings on.  It really held my interest because the plot was original, characters interesting, and it was well written.

December    The Forest Lover   by Susan Vreeland and  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea  by Barbara Demick (NonFiction)


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January:  Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  I thought it was going to be another women's fiction book, and while it is, it also is a historical fiction story within a story.  I listened to the audio version and absolutely loved the reader.  Very good Russian accent, and the way the author gradually brings to light things that have been hidden away for years is great.  By far the best of Kristin Hannah's work I've read/listened to.

February:  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  After collecting most of the series and having put off reading it for years, my husband and I finally read book one of this historical fiction/time travel/romance series.  We actually read it at the same time, thanks to having two different copies found at library sales.  We both liked it so much, we immediately began book two.  This is nothing surprising for him to do, but was a Big Deal for me to do.  The books are huge, but definitely kept my interest.

March:  Shopgirl by Steve Martin.  Yes, the actor Steve Martin.  I listened to another audio by him and was impressed -- but the writing in this one is absolutely incredible.  I loved everything about it.  The fact he reads it is a true bonus.  I never saw the movie, and probably won't because I don't think it could possibly do it justice.

April:  Falling by Christopher Pike. Yes, the young adult author from the 90s.  I must be on a kick of reading books by authors known for other things or something. Anyways, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!  I listened to it on audio, and the narrator is superb.  The cover and even the description doesn't do this book justice.  It is modern & suspenseful, full of twists and turns, peppered with literary references, and absolutely amazing characters.  I highly recommend it!

May:  I've been reading the Outlander series back to back, so my pick this month is Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.  In audio, I didn't listen to anything spectacular, but I did enjoy Dark Harbor by David Hosp.  A bit predictable but worth a listen.  Good narration.

June:  The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg.  This is a little different from other works I've read by Ms. Berg -- but it is just as interesting.  It's more of a study of families and the psychology within the members.  Not the best ever, but the best I've read in June.

July:  Rainwater by Sandra Brown.  Not anything like I expected from this author.  I listened to it on audio and it was a real pleasure.  A great story, terrific characters, wonderful narration.  It's set during the Great Depression and I even learned about a government program I didn't realize they ever had, and I work in a related field. I recommend this one!

August:  I read a lot this month, both audio and paperbacks.  I can't pick just one, so I choose Just One Look by Harlan Coben, Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls  by Victoria Laurie, and The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross.  All happen to be mysteries.  The Coben and Gross were authors I've never tried before and the Laurie is a tried & true author for me.  I love her Psychic Eye and Ghost Hunter series.

September:  I chose both an audio and a hardcover book this month.  The audio is Innocence by David Hosp.  This is the second in a series beginning with Dark Harbor, which was my audio pick in May.  I liked this one even better than the first.  Same narrator, which was a bonus.  The hardcover is I'm Proud of You:  My Friendship with Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan.  This totally reinforced all I believed Mr. Rogers was, and that he really is the man you think he is on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  I have even more respect for the man after reading this.  I wish there were more people like him in the world.

October:  Hands down, this month was the audio Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen.  The author narrates, which is superb.  I don't know if I would have liked the book as much if I just read the paperback, but I think I would still rate it near the high end of the spectrum.  It's about a couple of little girls in the late 1950s, told from the perspective of the older (10 year old) sister.  There is so much I can relate to, and I wasn't born until the 70s.  The way she can bring back memories of how it felt to be that age and with the knowledge I have as an adult about the world -- it just struck a chord with me.  It has a killer on the loose so there's suspense too.  I loved it and highly recommend it!!!

November:  I read a variety of genres this month, and to pick the best for the month is a bit harder than usual.  However, my pick is Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon.  I had read her first novel and really enjoyed it, and this was her second and I had pretty good expectations.  Well, for once my expectations were exceeded big time!  The book is basically a mystery, but the layers and double meanings had me eager to get back to it every chance I got.  There was one night I read before bed and the next morning I woke up with an A-HA moment.  I couldn't believe I overlooked a certain detail.  I recommend this one -- and give it a chance since the first chapter or two starts slow.

December:  I didn't get to read as much as I'd like, since it's a busy month...but I did get a good handful of audios in.  My pick this month is Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush.  I always admired her, but didn't know very much about her.  I really enjoyed that she was also the narrator and it wasn't all about when she was first lady.  I liked learning about her life before George and what she achieved behind the scenes while in the White House.

2013 BOOK OF THE YEAR:  I listened/read to 49 books this year.  My pick of the year is  Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen. It was very close -- a few were also 5 stars, but in the end this was the book that touched me the most.


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I'm in! 

January:   Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.  Sweet story of the friendship between an older white lady and a middle aged African-American woman.  

February:  The Shining by Stephen King.  So much richer and scarier than the movie!

March:  Banished by Lauren Drain.  Her story of leaving the Westboro Baptist hate group.  (I refuse to call them a church.)  Sad and frustrating all at the same time.

April:  Cannot believe that I am going to write this, but not one book rose over a 5-6 on a scale of 1-10.  So no favorite this month!

May:  It's a tie between Broken Wing by Judith James (a super angsty romance, not for the faint of heart) and Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen (an awesome turn of the century mystery.)

June:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  A reread, but still one that I love!

July:  This is just not my year.  I am going to name a favorite, but it was nothing remarkable.  Just a fun romance.  The Look of Love by Bella Andre.  I wanted to throw it against the wall at times, but it was a fun fluff book.

August:  Only read one book all month and did not love it, so no favorite this month!

September:  Who Asked You? by Toni McMillan.  Involving family drama.

October:  Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  Girl drama at a high ranking high school.  The pages kept flying.

November:  For pure enjoyment Amanda MacNeill's Waiting for Daybreak.  Is he or is he not a zombie?  Will her cat survive?  Fun little book about living through the zombie apocolypse.

December:  Pretty sure I read this one in December and not Jan. 2014.  Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  Hilarious and touching.  A keeper for sure.

Book of the Year:  Hyperbole and a Half with Resconstructing Amelia as a runner up.


Last Edited on: 1/9/14 10:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 9
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January: Retribution (CJ Townsend, Bk #1) by Jilliane Hoffman

February: The Innocent by Harlan Coben

March: Heartsick (Archie & Gretchen, Bk #1) by Chelsea Cain

April: Tomato Girl by Jane Pupek

May: Under the Dome by Stephen King

June: None

July: The Secret Life of Ceecee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

August: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

September: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

October: None

November: Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy

December: The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Book of the Year: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

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January:  PRINT:  She Flew the Coop by Michael Lee West

                AUDIO:  Room by Emma Donoghue

February:  PRINT:  American Pie by Michael Lee West

                  AUDIO:  Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

March:   PRINT:  Compound  by S.A. Godeen

              Audio:  We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg                         

April:    PRINT:    Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West

            AUDIO:  Swan Song by Robert McCammon

                          The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson                    



June       PRINT:  Nothing

               AUDIO:    And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossenni

                                Mad Girls in Love by Michael Lee West

July       PRINT:  Confessions of a Carb Queen  by Susan Blech

August      PRINT:  Keeping the Feast One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing by Paula Buturini

                 AUDIO:  The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb

September:   PRINT:  Rot & Ruin by Jonathon Maberry 

                                      The BeeKeeper's Pupil by Sara George

                         AUDIO:  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

                                         Cold Sassy Tree  by Olive Ann Burns

October:       PRINT:  The Talk Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

                      AUDIO:  The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka                                     

November:    PRINT:    Unto the Daughters by Karen Tintori

                                       The Bird House by Kelly Simmons

                      Audio:    Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, narrated by Janet Song  (I may have picked this one in a previous year also.)

December:   PRINT:    The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne

                          AUDIO: Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, amazingly narrated by Will Patton.

Pick for 2013:
Print: The Talk Funny Girl by Roland Merullo
Audio: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
          Cold Sassy Tree  by Olive Ann Burns
           Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, amazingly narrated by Will Patton.

Last Edited on: 12/29/13 10:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 18
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Best of the Year


Audio:  When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Book(s):    Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese and Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler -- truly hidden gems of 2013.


Audio:  I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place by Howard Norman

Book: After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey



January:  NF: Giving Up the Ghost: A Story About Friendship, 80s Rock, a Lost Scrap of Paper, and What It Means to Be Haunted by Eric Nuzum

Fiction Tie:  The Round House by Louis Erdrich  AND  Bereft by Chris Wormersley

February: NF Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

March:  NF:  After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey

Audio:  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

 Fiction:  The Dinner by Herman Koch

April:  Fiction :  The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

May:  Fiction:  Snapper by Brian Kimberling

          Audio:  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

June: Fiction:  Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash

Audio:  Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

July:  Fiction:  Truth in Advertising by John Kenney

Audio:  Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

August: Fiction:  Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Audio:  You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

September:  Fiction:  Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler

Audio: When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka

October:  Fiction:  The Thief of Auschwitz by Jon Clinch

Audio:  When Captain Flint was Still a Good Man by Nick Dybek

November: Fiction: Someone by Alice McDermott

Audio:  In the Sea, There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

December:  Fiction: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

NF:Audio:  I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place by Howard Norman

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January - Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

February - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

March - The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

April - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

May - A tie between And the Mountains Echoed by Hosseini, Khaled and Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

June - NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
July - The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
August - Replay Author: Ken Grimwood
September - Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones, book 3).

October - Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

November - I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

December - The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and Night Film by Marisha Pessl


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JANUARY    I LOVE YOU LIKE A TOMATO by Marie Giordano.  A wonderful contemporary, coming of age novel that deals with an Italian family immigrating to America, after WWII.  Many PBS readers have called this a real "gem," and I agree!



APRIL    DIVISADERO by Michael Ondaatje

MAY    MRS. KIMBLE by Jennifer Haigh

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January - Mockingjay - Collins

February - Polar Star - Martin Cruz Smith

March - Fallout - Hopkins

April - Slaughterhouse Five - Vonnegut

May - Isaac's Storm - Larson

June - Holy Warrior - Angus Donald

July - The Archer's Tale - Bernard Cornwell

August - A Serpent's Tooth - Craig Johnson

September - Born to Run - McDougall

October - I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith 

November - Killer of Men - Christian Cameron

December - no selection 

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2013 Best Books

January: The Garden of Last Days~Andre Dubus III: This book stunned me, haunted me, made me think more deeply and I could not put it down!! Even tho it was a week and a half overdue @ the library. This is a speculative story of the weeks and the few short days before the tragedy of 911. The author accomplishes an artfully delicate balance between 3-4 main characters and some more distant as well.  All of the characters are depicted as painfully vulnerable even the perpetrators, but judgemental at the same time, of the others and of themselves. This balance of vulnerability,culpability and judgement is sustained until the the end of the book, which is what makes the story so compelling and exceptional. Some of the points of view are difficult to stomach at times, but it kept me reading. I have been raving about it to my freinds and I highly recommend it to all of you. I haven't been this enthralled since "Let the Great World Spin" another book about the Twin Towers. Amazing! 5 *stars

February: My Lobotomy~Howard Dully: This is by far the most moving book that I have read this month. A memior by a man in his late 50's who, at the age of twelve, was put under the knife and lobotimized by his stepmother and some hack Dr. in 1960!  On the jacket he says that he didn't know why, he didn't think he did anything but he was classified as "a trouble maker" and apparently that was enough! This is a frightening and maddening tale of abuse, ignorance and crank cures! Reading it has lead me to look into more on the subject of mental illness and maltreatment in the 50's, of which there seems to be plenty!!

March: The Thirteenth Tale~Diane Setterfield: 5 stars   An exceedingly exciting, mysterious,and sometimes baffling tale of Gothic ecstasy! Talk about the joy of convolution! A professional biographer and biblioholic is hired to write the biography of a famous author and from there the tale is untangled and tangled again! LOVED IT! Plenty of scandal, twins, heartbreak and nefarious deadly mischief. Thanks to the September Basement Book Club for the recommendation! Just the thing for Winter Blahs by the way!

 April: The Paris Wife~Paula McLain: I am about a third into this one but it is the most attention absorbing book this month that I have picked up and so, It Wins! Written in the voice of Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, this speculative fiction follows Hemingway and Hadley around Paris in the 20's and parts of greater Europe, into the artistic/intellectual salon of Gertrude Stein, and through thick and thin stages of the marriage. I  was ecspecially impressed by the background details of both Hemingway's family of origin and Hadleys and how they were interwoven by the author. Good companion to " A Moveable Feast", Hemingway's account of life in Paris in the 20's and also, Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris". 5 stars

May: Rez Life~David Treuer: I don't read alot of nonfiction, but when I do it's because it is way too compelling to put down! Treuer's "Rez Life" falls cleanly into that category.  The scope of information in this book  about Native American reservation life ranges from fishing/hunting rights, treaty rights,  the history of broken treaties,, tribal justice, family life and struggles on the reservation.   Along the way he weaves in colorful narrative and little known history:  for example, there was a time in the 50's when a whole family lived through the winter on $.35  and did you know that during the French Indian War in America (late 18th century)  that there was another war in Europe waged at the same time period  that was considered the First World War?   Well, I didn't, Treuer carries all this out in an engaging blend of humor and pathos and I give it : 5 stars! 

June: Midnight's Children~Salman Rushdie: This marks my first experience with Rushdie, A florid, hilarious, deep story of twins born and apparently separated at the historical pinnacle of India's Independence from Britian on August 15, 1947.   I am not through with this book and neither were most the people in my book group!  Nevertheless we had a very lively discussion about Rushdie's humor within his storytelling style (comparisons to Joyce and Kafka), regard or disregard for the reader, nevermind the fact that most of his books are banned widely in the Middle/Near East  and of course, the Fatwa on him personally.  Extremely exciting writing I give it 5 stars 

July: The Power of Three~Laura Lippman: I was completely sucked into this one, I have read books by Lippman before but always considered them a kind of guilty pleasure, not really serious reading. And I guess that kind of attitude is snobbish of me. I have read plenty of mysteries and thrillers by some very compelling writiers such as Stephen King, Sue Grafton and Dennis LeHane, so the snob factor is more about the category than the writers.  However, I am voting this as my best this month and she has become a new fave in the mystery/thriller category. This is a timely story about three friends whose lives grow enmeshed from kindergarten to high school and in high school the jealousies and ambitions grow as fast as weeds. Tragic results ensue but it's not what you think. Lippman weaves the characters stories, red herrings and events together in a stunningly strong suspenseful fashion and the end effect is a wallop!! 5 stars

August: Buffalo Lockjaw~Greg Ames: A sweet poignant tale of a young man who is dealing with his swifty morphing identity and the mortality of his mother who has early onset Alzheimers. I hope Greg Ames writes again, I would read him again! His dialogue and character development is skilled, natural and precisely credible. The voice of James Fitzroy is tender and funny and he touches on many personal philosphical points while he figures out what he should do for his mother, an accomplished political RN who is in fullscale dementia at the age of 56! Scary! 5 stars!

September: The Unlikely Pilgimage of Harold Fry~Rachel Joyce: Harold Fry is a man who is quiet and soulful but seems to live outside his relationships with his wife and others. One day he gets a letter from a former coworker, with very sad news, she has inoperable cancer. So Harold  embarks on an unpredictable journey to save her.  Along the way he meets every kind of stranger and sychophant that it is possible to meet. Joyce takes the reader on a very meaningful deep trip into one Englishman's life and soul! Even if I personally felt a tinge of preachyness in this story, I can recommend it, language and descriptions alone are well worth it! 5 stars

October: The Lighthouse Road~Peter Geye: The true story of Thea, who immigrates from Norway to Gunflint, a lumber settlement in Northern Minnesota in the late 19th century.  There she bears a son named Odd (pronounced Ode,by the way) and the story gravitates between episodes of the two family members with plenty of other characters as well.  In his descriptions of life on the North Shore of Lake Superior and it's history, Local author, Geye, is especially candid about the beauty and the danger of the area. My book group has been fortunate because Geye has visited the group twice to discuss the book and his writing process. We had read his other book, "Safe from the Sea" earlier in the year, and this book was equally fascinating 5 stars

Runner Up: The Tale of Halcyon Crane~Wendy Webb: It's quite a coincidence that I ran into this hidden gem because it is also set on the Great Lakes/Northern Shore area. More of a cosy mystery and a ghost story, it kept me enchanted and very pleasently surprised. Hallie receives a mysterious letter from her recently deceased mother, having lost her her father just weeks before. She travels from the West Coast to the Great Lakes area (around Lake Superior, where, incidently, you can get hypothermia if you swim in the lake in August!!) and the house turns out to be haunted by three witchy little children. I give it 5 stars!! 

November: Sweetness in the Belly~Camilla Gibb: A prepubescent English orphan is left in the care of a Muslim iman when her hippie parents are murdered and she starts her life as a Muslim. There is some very well informed writing about her life and efforts to fit into the Muslim community but no matter how devout she is still considered an outsider. The story fluctuates between the 70's and 80's in Ethiopia, and London, where the main character works with refugee's from the Ethiopian revelution (Idi Amin era). Some people in my book club thought that one of the other characters should have been the main character and discussion took and interesting direction from there. I have no real opinion about that but the idea of imagining the story, any story, as if another character is the main character ( other than the one the author choose) would be intriguing way to talk about the book. Anyway 5 stars

Runner Up:  "The Minnesota Experience" an Anthology edited: by Jean Ervin: I found this intriguing selection of stories while browsing the shelves of the Hennepin Co. Library. It was well worth the time I invested!  There are a variety of styles and plots from well known writiers (ie: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Gordon Parks,) some locally known (ie: Carol Bly, Garrison Kiellor, Meridel LeSuer.) and also some pretty obscure and skilled story writers.  I especially liked Emilie Buchwald's story "Getting and Spending"  a story about the survival from day to day in the wilds of a Minnesota city suburb, I admire the juxtaposition between the laundrylist of mundane errands and deeply contemplative interior observations of Margaret, the main character. 5 stars


December Zoli~Colum McCann: This is World War 2 from the point of view of a Slovakian Gypsy poet with a Communist bent.  McCann is the author of one of my all time faves " Let the Great World Spin" and since I had been meaning to get to this one for sometime, So Glad that I finally did.  It is in such demand that I will have to finish it in stages, book to waiting list on Kindle, but I can say, without even finishing that it is, hands down, the winner for December!!


Best Book of 2013: The Garden of Last Days~Andre Dubus III: This book meets my criteria for Best Book of the Year: The story stays with me! How the author makes me think about the characters, how the story was paced, how far the story took me away or toward my present life.Fantastic!!

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This is my 3rd year with this forum and I LOVE it.  Saving my spot for 2013!

January  - 33 Valentines by Stephanie Monahan.  This book is currently out as an e-reader version but hopefully will be in print soon.  A sweet and funny chick-lit book.  The main character, Sophie, hates Valentine's Day and you must delve into her life to find out why.  While this genre is not usually my style I was pleasantly surprised.  Plus, my co-worker is the author and I couldn't be more excited for her!!  I can feel good things coming her way this year...please check out her book.

February - The Divide by Nicholas Evans. I had put off reading this book for a few years and boy, I am sorry that I did.  One of my friends convinced me to finally read it and it was way better than I expected.  It was interesting to see the story unfold as you find out in the beginning how the book ends but just how did it get to that point?  Also it is a story about relationships which I really enjoyed.

March - The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. 
I was able to see and meet the author in person so it was fascinating to hear the research behind this book.  I really enjoyed this book (although I still don't think it was her best it is up there).  Story is told from many different viewpoints but somehow all manage to tie in together.  A very unusual friendship forms and when one person asks the other to do something unbelieveable that is when the story starts to unfold.

April  - I had a bad reading month for April.  There was nothing worth mentioning...here's hoping that May will be better!

May  Every Last One by Anna Quindlen. I was thinking the book would go one way and it went a completely different route - very unexpected.  I love when that happens!!  The Latham's are a loving family with 3 children.  Unexpected violence shocks their family/town and this story is about the mothers (Mary Beth)  determination to go on.  I had a hard time putting this one down.

June Decision Points by George W. Bush.  The book was very interesting and a quick read.  I liked it very much.

July - These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf.  Wow, this book was so good, I had a hard time putting it down.  The chapters are told form different view points but not hard to follow.   Story about one families downfall.  Their "perfect" daughter goes to jail for a crime that shocks the community.  The truth comes out in the end but it was not what I expected.

August The Kitchen House by Katheleen Grissom.  This could be my favorite book of the year!  After reading on this site how many other PBSers liked this book I decided to give it a try.  Wow is all I can say.  Told from two main characters, this book takes you backk to the 1790's and a southern plantation.  The story is heartbreaking and suspenseful - I really could't put it down.

September Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.  I know there is about a week left in September but I doubt any book could top this one.  Even though you know in the first chapter how the book ends, you have no idea how it gets there!  Young woman is kidnapped and held for a year in a cabin in the woods.  The mystery unfolds as you find out who the captor is and who is behind this.

October Bleah - I am in a reading slump!  I read quite a few books this month but nothing worthwhile of putting on my list here.  Hoping November is better.

November - The Last Child by John Hart. The book was very fast paced and so many different stories woven into one.  I really enjoyed reading this one and couldn't put it down.  I honestly didn't see the ending until it started to unfold before me.

December - The Accident by Linwood Barclay.  I have read several of Barclay's books and he never dissapoints me.  Right from the beginning the story grabs you and there are so many layers to this story.  Sex, drugs, fake purses, blackmail are all intertwined into this fast paced novel.

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January- Hellblazer vol. 1- Original Sins by Jaime Delano, runner up: The Complete Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

February- Two Graves by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

March- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

April- tied between Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and 11/22/63 by Stephen King, runner up: Alas Babylon by Pat Frank

May- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

June- NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

July- Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

August- The Botany of Desire: a Plant's Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

September- Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard, runner up: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

October- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

November- Dolly by Susan Hill

December- The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling

2013 Favorite: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Runners Up: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

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Wow, was just looking back in old threads.  Chris started this topic in 2008.  It was much smaller then, only 8 pages.  Lester and a few other old timers were on that one.  I don't have time to go through the whole thing just yet, but I think I skipped that year since I've saved my lists only since 2009. 

Thank you, Chris (challada) for having the foresight to do this back then!  It's been such fun and we've shared such great books.

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January: The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

February: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

March: Nothing thrilled me this month.  If I had to pick one of the mediocre March reads, I'd go with The House Girl by Tara Conklin.  It wasn't great or memorable (in all honesty, I don't really remember much of the story), but it was readable.

April: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

May: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  This book just got under my skin and stayed with me long after I finished it.

June: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan.  This was the book we read in book club and I was pleasantly surprised.  It is the memoir of a young woman who begins having bizarre symptoms both mental and physical that threaten to destroy her life.  It all comes on suddenly and doctors had no clue what was wrong with her.  A fascinating and terrifying read!  

July: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain.  When I picked this book up from the library my first thought was, "ugh, this looks long- do I really want to read it?" I brought it to the pool with me and the next thing I knew, I was 300 pages in and didn't want to put it down.  An engaging and enjoyable read!

August: January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by Michael Schofield.  This memoir was fascinating!  It details the struggle of a family as they attempt to deal with their daughter, January, who shows signs of having severe mental illness at a very young age.  

September: Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain.  This is the 2nd time this year that a Diane Chamberlain book has made my best of the month list.  While I didn't like this one as much as I liked "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes", it was still quite good.  I think what was most fascinating (and horrifying) was the state run sterilization program that this book delves into.  I knew little about it before reading this book.

October: Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  Great conclusion to the Divergent series!!

November: Coreyography by Corey Feldman.  I really went into this just for the sheer entertainment of it.  Turns out this was actually a decent memoir!

December: All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein.  It seems wrong to rate the real life experience of a Holocaust survivor. This woman lived through hell and then wrote about it all in a touching and beautiful story. Her experiences are written about realistically without being graphic (not that this lessens the intensity of what she endured). An emotional book for many reasons.

Book of the Year: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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Hope I can avoid a second year slump. To kick off this year, I'd like to warn everyone with the worst book I read in 2012...

noGuy Laliberte: The Fabulous Story of the Creator of Cirque Du Soleil by Ian Halperin

The sex, drugs, and f---ed up relationships didn't put me off. It was the author's narcissistic, celebrity-worship point-of-view which was topped off with terrible typos! I think it was originally written in French, then translated to English, which may explain some of the errors. But entire paragraphs?! I reread two chapters just to admire what a hot mess the words were. Sloppy in tone and text.

January 2013 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien smiley (fantasy, young-adult, adventure)

While The Hobbit isn't my favorite Tolkien story, this is the one I recommended to everyone. Of his work, it seems to have the broadest appeal or, at the very least, does not take a lifetime to finish. This is the litmus test for the rest of Tolkien's work. If you finish and enjoy The Hobbit, then venture further into Middle Earth with Tolkien's other stories which are more dense and detailed.

Runner-up Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic by Burleigh Muten and illustrated by Rebecca Guay cool (mythology, non-fiction, children's book)

This book was almost my book-of-the-moth simply because of Rebecca's Guay's fascinating illustrations. Her work is so good, I realized I want an big anthology of her art. http://www.rebeccaguay.com/

February 2013 A non-fiction tie!

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman heart (parenting, living abroad, Paris, French culture)

The only parenting book that makes me feel calm.

Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin yes (history, American civil war, American theater history, New York, San Francisco)

I read it because I'm a civil war geek, but ended up loving it for its theatre lore - which informs my career. A short biography which is leading me to other biographies on the Booth family.

March 2013 The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams surprise (script, drama, American 1930s, family dynamics, writing, memory)

My career is theatre. I hadn't read this play since college. I had forgotten how damn good it is. No wonder it's a American masterpiece. The problem that productions of this play face is being able portray all the nuance that Tennessee Williams infuses into all the characters and into the layers of their relationships. There is a lot to live up to for both performers and designers.

Runner up The Fairy Tale Catalog: Everything You Need to Make a Fairy Tale by Sally Gardner smiley (children, parody)

A kids' book that's more enjoyable for adults. Purely silly. Wonderful illustrations. Inspires me to write and doodle.

April 2013 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton heart (science-fiction, dinosaurs, genetics, action)

Jurassic Park 3D came out in movie theaters this month. Naturally,  I had to reread the book. This book keeps getting better with each read. A variety of quirky characters, interesting scientific theories, and a series of intense survival situations - all add up to the most intellectual action book ever. (Not even close, Da Vinci Code!)

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January:  Bossy Pants by Tina Fey, I am still laughing!, 2nd The Midwifes Tale

February:Those Who Save Us, I was late to the party reading this one, but it is a must read

March:  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

April: Any Bitter Thing, 2nd -The Bright Forever by Lee Martin

May: On the Island, by Tracey Graves; 2nd - We Need to Talk About Kevin

June: I read a few good ones in June, best would be - Snow Flower & the Sercet Fan and Sold by P McCormick

July: My Mother's Secret: Based on a True Holocaust Story by J Witterick; and The Color of Light by Karen White

August:A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas; and 2nd Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

September: Fly Away by Kristen Hannah, 2nd Fall of Giants

October:The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, which was good but was the only good thing I read in Oct.

November: Reread but still THE BEST - Year of Wonders, other good one would be Sharp Objects

December: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book of the Year: My Mother's Secret: Based on a True Holocaust Story; and Sold by P McCormick

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I'm going to try and stick with it this year!

January - This Life is In Your Hands - Melissa Coleman



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