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JANUARY The Martian by Andy Weir
FEBRUARY Day After Night by Anita Diamant
MARCH Sh*t My Dad Says - Audio CD - UnabridgedAuthor:
APRIL Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
MAY The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett & The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory
JUNE Area X: the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
JULY Take Me With You by
AUGUST The Far Country by Nevil Shute
SEPTEMBER Zeitoun by Dave Eggers 5 stars
OCTOBER Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
NOVEMBER Pen Pals by Olivia Goldsmith
DECEMBER Water, Stone, Heart by Will North
BOOK OF YEAR: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers 5 stars All of the books above were great books, but this one sticks in my head, especially in light of all the immigrant controversy right now. A rare non-fiction book for me.
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Due to the impending changes on PBS, I bid you farewell. I want to extend a big thank you to those who post their best books of the month on a regular basis. I enjoy seeing your lists (and will likely continue to lurk). Happy reading!
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JANUARY: Print: The Apron Book by EllynAnne Geisel
Audio: Son by Lois Lowry.
FEBRUARY: Print: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Audio: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
MARCH: Print: Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson
Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson
Audio: Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman read by Jenna Lammia
APRIL: Print: As The Crow Flies by Craig Johnson
A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson
Audio: Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (relisten)
MAY: Print: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Audio: As You Wish by Cary Elwes
JUNE: Print: The Sweet-Potato-Queens Big Ass Cookbook
Audio: The Sweet Potato Queens American Thighs
JULY: Print: The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Audio: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian read by Grace Brewer.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
AUGUST: Print: Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell.
Audio: The Supreme's at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore.
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford.
SEPTEMBER: Print: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Audio: Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Audio: The Martian by Andy Weir
NOVEMBER: Print: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch by Jennifer Reese. Loving the stories between the recipes.
Audio: Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim read by Bahni Turpin.
Tomorrow There Will be Apricots by Jessica Soffer
DECEMBER: Print: Dinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Third in the series and I love love love it. These 3 books will be on my keeper shelves forever!
Audio: Nothing, nada, not a dang audio would rank as my favorite of the month.
So, here we go, my favorites of the year. I have one fiction and one nonfiction in print, and a couple of audios. I always have a couple of audios.
I would have added Cold Sassy Tree to my audio picks, as it is a fantastic audio. So well narrated. But I do believe I picked it in another year.
Print/Nonfiction: 10 Happier How I Tamed the Voice in My Head Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris
Print/fiction: Dinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Third in the series and I love love love it. These 3 books will be on my keeper shelves forever!
Both of these books deal with meditation, finding a good inner self for yourself, peace. What makes them so very good, are that these teachings are more of sharings, and done totally without preaching. I cou
Audio: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Audio: The Supreme's at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore.
There were some pretty close runners-up in each category. Some of the earlier Longmire books in the series really rocked it. Others were quite annoying. Two really stood out. I recommend the series, both books and TV. And I really loved my cookbook memoirs.
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January - Choosing Him All Over Again; A Story of Romance and Redemption by Juana Mikels
February - Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
March - Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
April - Dreams of Joy (May and Pearl, Bk 2) by Lisa See
May - Silent Sister by Chamberlain or Covet by Tracey Graces
June - Unspoken by Angela Hunt, it was different
July - Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
August - Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Oct - Girl on a Train - keep me interested
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January - Cypress Point - Diane Chamberlain (I loved this one)
February - The Dressmaker - Kate Alcott
March - Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand (Amazing!)
April - The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
May - Necessary Lies - Diane Chamberlain
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JANUARY -- Sovereign by C. J. Sansom
FEBRUARY - The Dinner by Herman Koch
MARCH - In the Woods by Tana French; The Spiritualist by Megan Chance
APRIL - Entry Island by Peter May; Someone Is Watching: A Novel by Joy Fielding
MAY The Bone House by Brian Freeman
JUNE The Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George
JULY The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
AUGUST Precious Thing by Colette McBeth, Dry : A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
SEPTEMBER : Who Moved My Blackberry? by Lucy Kellaway & Martin Lukes;; The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard
OCTOBER Redemption Street by Reed Farrel Coleman : Audio CD: The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
NOVEMBER The Innocence Game by Michael.Harvey. A Distant Echo by Val McDermid. AUDIO: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense by Various
DECEMBER The Murder House by James Patterson & David Ellis
BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR -- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
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January: This was a mediocre month -- nothing outstanding in either audio or paperback. My pick this month is The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I read the reviews (mostly bad) and definitely wasn't expecting anything like Harry Potter (which it wasn't). It was basically a character study -- definitely an adult book. There was no real plot or excitement, but I was drawn in to the characters. There is going to be a British miniseries -- I might check it out if it ever becomes available here.
February: The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais is my pick this month. It is my first book I've read or listened to by this author, and I chose it because it's a stand alone novel. I really enjoyed it, and will probably read more by this author in the future.
March: Not a lot of reading done this month, but my pick is the audio Soul Catcher by Michael White. It was a long book, and it took some time to get into, but the style of writing was incredible and after a while the actual story hooked me in. It's about a slave catcher back before the Civil War and even though some things that happened were easy to predict, there were some surprises that made the story that much better.
April: A pleasant surprise -- The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston is my choice this month. It's the second novel by this author I've read, and I sought it out since I liked her first novel (The Witch's Daughter). The Winter Witch was much better, and I look forward to more by this author.
May: My pick is Second Honeymoon by James Patterson & Howard Roughan. I listened to it on audio and thought it was narrated well (by Jay Snyder and Ellen Archer) and the plot was interesting. I read Honeymoon a few years ago, but didn't go back to refresh myself or anything for this sequel and I had no problems with the continuity. I would recommend reading Honeymoon first if you haven't already, though.
June: Hands-down my pick this month is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I listened to it on audio and it had two narrators and the one with the Irish accent was incredible. The other, modern day character, was good for the part but took a little getting used to. Overall I loved the story and gave it 5 stars.
July: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is most definitely my pick this month -- I gave it 5 stars! I loved it. The literary references were the icing on the cake. Highly recommended.
August: Not a great month, but this one surprised me - The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund. I listened to the audio and it really kept me on the edge of my seat! Kind of gross at times, but a good story and the narrators were incredible. Better than most Patterson & Co. material.
September: Yes, believe the hype: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is excellent!
October: I almost didn't have a very good month, but finished the month out right by listening to Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark. Yes, the Marcia Clark from the OJ Simpson trial. Obviously this is a fiction novel having nothing at all to do with the OJ trial. This was Ms. Clark's debut novel and I really enjoyed the writing, the wisecracking characters, and especially January LaVoy's narration. Very entertaining!
November: This is a book you should definitely not judge by its cover. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell is my choice this month. Again, I listened to it on audio but I think in this case, the book on paper would be just as good. The way the author weaves the story between time and different characters' perspectives is admirable. I liked the ending while I've read many reviews that people were dissatisfied with it. I would refrain from reading any reviews in order to experience the story yourself. I would definitely recommend this one!
December: In anticipation for the movie to be released next month, I read The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I loved it! I can't wait for the movie and am looking forward to reading the second in the series!
2015 BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
(out of 42 books read)
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Saving my spot for 2015. Thank you for starting this thread.
January - Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was full of information and facts that I just was not aware of. You got a much better insight on John Wilkes Booth and what lead up to him killing President Lincoln. I usually don't read history books but someone on these boards recommended it and I finally read it. I had a hard time putting this one down.
February - Six Years by Harlan Coben. Coben has a style of writing that I'm drawn to and this book doesn't disappoint. The book is fast paced, mystery, with some sarcastic humor thrown in.
March - The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. Loved, loved, loved this book! Small town weirdness happening here. There were alot of characters so just a tiny bit confusing at times. Fast paced and I couldn't even begin to predict the ending of this book.
April - One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf. Holy Cow was this book good! Short, quick chapters told from different characters but not confusing at all. A gunman takes a classroom hostage in a small town in Iowa and the story begins to unfold. I have read one book by this author before and loved it - looking for more now.
May - The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I was skeptical at everyone saying how good this book was but finally decided to read it. At first I was a bit confused but I stuck with it and I'm glad that I did. The character of Rachel is a hot mess but in the end I ended up rooting for her. While you can figure the book out a little more than halfway through it I'm glad I read it and would recommend it too.
June - The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn. I picked this book up at a thrift store and didn't really give it much thought. The book quickly grabbed me in the beginning and stayed with me the entire time. While you know at the beginning who the kidnapper is you don't know how the book will turn out.
December - What She Knew by Gilly Mcmillian. This was a fantastic book - I stayed up late at night finishing it!
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JANUARY Hope to Die by James Patterson Book 22 of this series and should be read in order. I really like this book because you see a dark side to Alex Cross.
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I have decided that with my huge backlog of books that I own, I ought to cut down on my public library hoarding habit in the new year.
So, I developed a list of books that are 90% selected from my TBR pile, the ones I meant to get to last year and want to read this year for sure. A few will be library books because I have to restrain my buying habit from now on. But the majority are from my own shelves . The list is called Starting Over and it is in my profile They may not be finished within the month, which goes way too fast if you ask me! Technically, they are choices for that month that I will at least start (ha!)
if you are interested, go check it out and vote, I will consider any votes in my final decisions.
I will pick two a month and let them wrestle for ratings: Stay tuned to see who pins who!
The Blazing World~Siri Hustvedt/ An Instance of the Fingerpost~Ian Pears
The Blazing World won this time, it is so dense and full of deep questions about the Art World and how to be an artist, also I am reading it for a discussion group.
I did start the Instance and still intrigued but it isn't grabbing me right now. Another month.
February: The Two Towers~Tolkein: I am reading this for a project reference but seeing as I started the Hobbit and couldn't get into it, thought to might be interesting to go into the middle of the Middle Earth. I am pretty excited about this one since I have a better understanding of the Fantasy genre these days. This one will take longer than a month. I'll get back to this thread when I pick it up again.
Lucky Us~Amy Bloom: Family dysfunction preWW2 during and after, and Hollywood to boot! This is a funny sad story of two sisters abandoned by their supposed family of origin. One of the sisters has been discovered as the one with talent and good looks and the other is the plain book one. One strong point in this novel which has struck me so far is how truth is treated as a casual and fickle subject! Very interesting!! A good portrait of how ruthless and cold the movie industry could be and about people who act like good people! Amy Bloom is becoming a favorite writer for me!! I think this one wins this month!!
March: A Walk in the Woods: Bill Bryson: Loved this! The Humor is exquisite standout dry humor and Bryson is a walking encyclopedia on the history of National Parks, bear attacks and annoying co-hikers.
April: How It Went Down~Kokla Maroon: We read this in my library book group and it was a pretty quick,interesting read, about a shooting death of a young unarmed black man and effects on eyewitness's.
May: Orphan Train~ Christina Baker Kline: A strong and feeling story about a connection between two orphans: One a juvenile and the other a ninety year old woman. The older woman tells a story about orphan children carted off to the Midwest in the 1900's to be adopted by complete strangers. These strangers are people who might keep them, abuse them or send them back to live in an orphanage.. The most striking feature of this story is that the children kept their wits about them and forged connections to each other. This one deserves the whole 5 stars~ Probably the best book I've read this year
June: Lake Wobegone Days~Garrison Keillor: Normally I would not vote this best, most of it is a stylized memoir. I do like Keillor's writing more than his personality. Especially like the way he muses about friendships~ how you can share good times with the people you call friends, when you feel so close and then how you drift away in imperceptible ways. I can identify with that very much!
I was also compelled, this month, with reading Hannah Arendt: The Last Interview: She is someone I have admired for a long time because she has such candid and observant eye on her experience in Europe during the years of Nazi terror.
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JANUARY Outlaw by Angus Donald
FEBRUARY Holy Warrior by Angus Donald
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Best of 2015
Non-Fiction: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
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January :: The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown
February :: All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
March :: Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
April :: The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
May :: Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng
June :: What She Left Behind - Ellen Marie Wiseman
July :: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
August :: Mockingbird - Kathryn Erskine
September :: Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
October :: $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America - Kathryn Edin, Luke Shaefer
November :: A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman
December :: The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
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JANUARY Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
FEBRUARY Run for Your Life by James Patterson
MARCH Big Little Lie by Liane Moriarty
MAY Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult
JUNE Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
JULY The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain & Fade Away (Myron Bolitar, Bk #3) by Harlen Coben
AUGUST A Time to Kill by John Grisham
OCTOBER The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
NOVEMBER Triptych (Will Trent, Bk #1) by Karin Slaughter (wins by default, only book I finished this month)
DECEMBER The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
***2015***- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
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I vow to actually read throughout the year this time.
January: No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, Bk 3) :: Kresley Cole - So, nothing amazing here. Just a well done paranormal romance. I've read other series by the author and this is hands-down her best.
February: Dry : A Memoir :: Augusten Burroughs - I told I friend I loved David Sedaris and she immediately told me I had to read this. It's a bit more David Eggers than David Sedaris, but it is a compelling, funny, and moving "story" of Burrough's battle with alcoholism. Made me cry.
March: Blerg. I read 10 books this month, and none of them were really worth recommending. If pushed, I would say On the Prowl :: Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Sunny, Eileen Wilks, which is an anthology. The stories are all good, but it is notable for having the Patricia Briggs story that introduces her popular 'Alpha and Omega' series.
April: Motherless Brooklyn :: Jonathan Lethem Lethem is one of my favorite authors but I always skipped over this book, it being his least fantastical. Now that I've read it, I understand why it is one of my fiancee's favorites. Lionel is an orphan with Tourette's who turns detective when his boss/idol/father-figure, Minna, is killed. Lionel is a one-of-a-kind sleuth whose verbal and physical tics make sneaking around difficult and every personal interaction unpredictable. A skillfully written Noir.
May: How to Be a Woman :: Caitlin Moran I absolutely LOVED this mash-up of memoir and rant, Each chapter focuses on a different topic related to the "business" of being a woman. This includes things like periods, flirting, "being good at clothes", marriage, children, etc. She typically starts with a humorous anecdote about how she (who grew up a poor, friendless, home schooled oddball before becoming a famous, hip, journalist) fumbled at the topic, and ends with an examination of why we feel it is essential to womanhood. Laugh out loud funny, eye opening, but NOT for everyone, as she is 1: SUPER British so I had to Google some lingo, and 2: Not afraid to tackle touchy subjects, like what slang word to call your privates or contraception.
June: Feed (Newsflesh, Bk 1) :: Mira Grant Only book this month, but pretty good. A trio of bloggers are invited on the Presidential campaign trail in a world that has adapted 20+ years after a "zombie apocalypse". There is a ton of detailed world building that really slows down the start, but sets the stage nicely for a action-packed thriller of a second half. Speeds along to an emotional punch of a finish. Story is fairly self contained, so you don't need to feel committed to a trilogy.(EDIT: I've finished the trilogy and I can't recommend the next two. You will want to read them, but the storytelling changes dramatically, they are poorly edited, VERY repetitive, and they jump a bunch of sharks... I would suggest reading FEED and then reading a summary of the rest of the trilogy if you are curious. It goes off of the rails.)
July: Dreams Underfoot :: Charles De Lint This is a collection of short stories set in the fictional town of Newford and it is considered a starting point for De Lint's "Newford" books. The stories are dreamy, tragic, gripping, hopeful... It's beautifully written Urban Fantasy and I will be reading more by this author.
August: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time :: Mark Haddon Another suggestion from my fiance about an unlikely detective. I loved this so much more than Motherless Brooklyn. It felt so real and true. I would laugh out loud on one page and weep on the next, so I don't recommend reading this on your commute. A short, quick read that I think will stay with me for awhile.
September: I'm posting this mid-month, but it's going to be hard to beat I Capture the Castle :: Dodie Smith. This had a similar feel to Curious Incident above, partly because of the journalistic storytelling and partly because it felt so honest and real. Recommended for those who enjoy a beautiful coming-of-age story, charming narrators, and Jane Austen (even the characters compare themselves to her characters.)
October: Well, I read a bunch this month, but mostly "fluffy" books. The best of the fluff would be The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars, Bk 1) :: Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas. If you don't know, Veronica Mars started as a tv show. Veronica was a high school/college girl who worked with her dad part time as a private investigator, making it in a noir-drama. The show was clever, gripping, funny, romantic, and I LOVED it (seriously, go watch it now.) They recently made a movie set 10 years after the show finale, and this series of books picks up 2 months after the events of the movie. Has a typical Veronica story: she fights against the corruption in the town of Neptune to solve a missing persons case. Veronica is a little less sure of herself than she was as a teen, but it's nice to see the character grow. I liked the book better than season 3 of the show OR the movie, so I'm excited to read more of these. I think there is enough backstory so those who didn't watch the show can still enjoy the book.
November: Didn't read much this month but the best was Koko Takes a Holiday :: Kieran Shea. Not my typical read... In fact, I will say that I've never read anything like it. Picked it up from Goodwill on a whim when I saw the cover. Lots of grisly ultraviolence and lots of dark, DARK humor. Closest mainstream comparison would be Quentin Tarantino-esque. For fans of dystopias (Think the movie Brazil more than The Hunger Games), black comedy, stone-cold assasins, and women who kick serious butt. Be warned, I meant that Tarantino bit. Not for the squeamish. Wouldn't pass this on to my mother.
December: I only read 3 books this month and none are really worth talking about. :/
BOOK OF THE YEAR:
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January: Yes Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
February: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James; The Year of the Flood(MaddAddam, #2) by Margaret Atwood; A Sunless Sea (William Monk, #18) by Anne Perry; And Quiet Flows the Don; A Novel by Mikhail Sholokhov
March: A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest K. Gaines; The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by James Daniel Brown
April: Collector's Encyclopedia of Red Wing Art Pottery: Identification & Values by B.L. Dollen; Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill; Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn; Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum; The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins;
July: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; The Poet of Baghdad: A True Story of Love and Defiance by Jo Tatchell; Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5) by Jim Butcher.
August: Sashenka by Simon Montefiore; My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman; The Whale Rider by Ihimaera, Witi; Alanna The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness) by Tamora Pierce; The White Mary: A Novel by Kira Salek; An Overdose of Death by Agatha Christie.
Book of the Year:
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JANUARY Man Killed by Pheasant by John Price & The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
FEBRUARY Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn by Larry Colton
MARCH The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky
APRIL Waiter Rant by The Waiter and also The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser
MAY I am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkley
JUNE Back to the Blood by Tom Wolfe
JULY--The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer
AUGUST -- Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith
SEPTEMBER--Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle, short story book
OCTOBER--The Forever Boys by Peter Golenbock and American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
NOVEMBER--The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
DECEMBER--Secret Daughter by June Cross
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