Twelve months of reading

I am a big Wall Street Journal reader and in the “Review” section of  this weekend’s paper, there are several pages with different lists of “the best books of the year.”  Of course we have all been reading these year-end lists for weeks now. Many of them are repetitious; some are enlightening.

Still, I am confused as to what I should read when I go on vacation later this week.  I am so immersed in the manuscripts and proposals that I review for work throughout the year that when it comes to what I might enjoy for pleasure, I am often stymied.

And, so I thought I would ask you guys what your favorite books were this year and why.  Perhaps you can help me put together my reading list for the next couple of weeks.

8 Responses to Twelve months of reading

  1. Jacquelyn Sylvan says:

    Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Franny Billingsley’s Chime, and Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed In Blood were my big three of the year. Divergent, because it was the Lady Gaga to Hunger Games’ Madonna; Chime, for combining literary fiction and supernatural YA and getting it so very RIGHT for once; and Anna Dressed In Blood, for giving us a male YA protag who was sympathetic, vulnerable, and kick-ass.

  2. Thomas Wolf says:

    The Florist’s Daughter by Patricia Hampl–beautiful writing; poignant story.

    I Could Tell You Stories by Patricia Hampl–superb essays on a variety of topics

    Brook Trout and the Writing Life by Craig Nova–a reflective memoir about nature, family, and writing

    All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones–simply because he’s one of the best storytellers I’ve ever read

    The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber–I saw her read at a local bookstore and loved the way she described her research and impulses for writing this novel.

    I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek–one of my favorite short story writers; wonderful collection

    Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson–wonderful writing, unique perspective, and creative approach to biographical writing

    The Last Boy by Jane Leavvy–one of the two best baseball books I read this year; plus, she’s a terrific writer

    The House That Ruth Built by Robert Weintraub–my other favorite baseball book of the year

    The Los Angles Diaries by James Brown–intense and personal essays from a writer who has lived a troubled life

    And I would add Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones to this list, but since you represent Tayari, I’m sure you’ve already read this wonderful novel

  3. Julie Nilson says:

    My favorites this year:

    Divergent, by Veronica Roth (YA, set in a future, dystopian Chicago)

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (so, so funny)

    The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, by Alexandra Robbins (excellent narrative nonfiction about high school clique behavior)

  4. Tamara says:

    Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, hands down. But I’m a huge JB fan.

  5. Ryan Field says:

    I read a lot of non-fiction for pleasure because I write a lot of fiction. It helps me escape.

    I know it’s the most gifted book this year, but I truly did enjoy the Steve Jobs bio. It takes you back to the early days and explains how “it” all started.

    I’m also enjoying “Merv Griffen: A Life in the Closet.” It received a good review from an editor I once worked with, Richard Labonte, and it’s well written. A good deal of it is hearsay, but I’m sure the author had good sources.

  6. Emily says:

    GOSH!! I read for entertainment — the Brand Name Authors of adult fiction. Long ago i discovered the best seller list — the most entertaining reads come from that list.

    So this year’s fiction has been Janet Evanovich, John Grissom, Lisa See, Nevada Barr, Susan Wittig Albert [a local luminary], Patrick O’Brian and C.S. Forester.

    To understand O’Brian’s stories, I need a reference book called a Sea of Words because he uses such obscure sailing ship terms.

    My favorite non-fiction of the year is Juliet Nicholson’s “The Perfect Summer; England 1911, Just Before the Storm.” And the most fascinating history was an audio book by Ken Alder, “The Measure of All Things” about a scientific expedition begun in the French Revolution and carried on by Napoleon with the aim of creating a unified measurement system — giving us the meter.

  7. Teri Carter says:

    Barbara Kingsolver’s THE LACUNA was my favorite, by far. It was so good I started saving pages at the end because I didn’t want the story to be over. How often does that happen?

    Have a wonderful vacation.

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