Best Books I've Read this Year
(Disclosure: A couple of them have yet to be read, but you might like them)
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (2011)
· In a futuristic dystopia, Wade Watts spends most of his time in a virtual reality game, with most of his relationships in a virtual world, too. If he can overcome the hurdles to solve the puzzles that the genius creator of this world has planted, he’ll be a millionaire. Great references to the beginning of gaming.
Crossfire Trilogy, Sylvia Day (Bared to You, Reflected in You) (2012)
Erotic Romance, appeals to Fifty Shades of Grey readers. Obsession, passion, and “damaged” inside.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (2012)
Amy Dunne disappears from her home on her 5th wedding anniversary. The author interweaves Amy’s diary with her husband Nick’s recounting of his efforts to find her. Where is she, and who do you trust?
The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach (2011)
· Story of a group of college baseball players, and so much more. Five wonderfully drawn and endearing characters have lives that are entwined in complex ways. Sweet and sad, funny and serious, all at once.
Farishta, Patricia McArdle (2011)
· Farishta is fiction, but based primarily on the author’s real experiences, with real people. Farishta, or Angela, is an American diplomat stationed in Afghanistan in 2005, in a military compound with military personnel from our country, and others. The author visited with us using Skype as we discussed the book, and she is a wonderful storyteller.
Secret Keeper, Kate Morgan (2012)
· 1959 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime. Fifty years later, Laurel is overwhelmed by memories and questions.
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern (2011)
· Imagine following a circus that appears suddenly after dark, and disappears just as suddenly some morning. Imagine a fantastical competition somehow just outside the boundaries of reality. This is a nice love story, with just a touch of subtle magic.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami (2011)
· Aomame jumps out of a taxi during a traffic jam, and inadvertently enters an alternate reality. Her world wraps around Tengo’s, who is a writer. This dystopian adventure/suspense/love story slowly & gracefully converges their stories.
The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje (2011)
· In the early 1950’s, an 11-year-old boy is put on a huge ocean liner headed for England. He teams up with a few other boys, some eccentric grown-ups, and has quite a journey on one level. On another, the contrast between innocence and awareness are illustrated with great storytelling.
The Year We Left Home, Jean Thompson (2011)
· Spanning four decades, an Iowa family’s lives contain tragedy, joy, heartbreaks, and triumphs. All Iowa Reads choice for 2013.
Mad River, John Sandford (2012)
Virgil Flowers, detective up in the Twin Cities. Sandford combines a good mystery with dark humor.
Rules of Civility, Amor Towles (2011)
· On NYE, 1937, Katey Kontent has a chance meeting with wealthy Tinker Grey. She goes from the secretarial pool to the offices of publisher Conde Nast. She begins to realize “how our most promising choices lay the groundwork for our regrets.”
Before I Go to Sleep, S.J. Watson (2011)
· Christine wakes up every morning with no memory. She’s been in an accident, and her amnesia restarts every day. She finds a journal that she has devised to help remember her hunt to recover her life. And the first page of that journal tells her to not trust her husband. Great suspense.
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand (2010)
· Louis Zamperini, mischievous boy turned Olympic runner turned POW. An inspiring story on many levels.
Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson (2011)
· Much, much more than a biography of the man who founded Apple. Humanitarianism meets creativity and science, with drive and brilliance. Computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing were all revolutionized by Jobs.
Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly
· A story about how an assassination not only killed the president, but changed the course of American history. Includes the events that led up to the crime of the 20th century, this book also chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot.
The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe. (2012)
· “What are you reading” are words that many of us ask each other all the time. Imagine a son starting a book club with his terminally ill mother, and all of the opportunities for talk that are opened up.