7 Jan
2016
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5 Book Recommendations from 2015

woman reading Go Set a Watchman and drinking coffee

Most nights I find myself awake long past any reasonable bedtime hour. I unwind reading on the couch until I begin to doze off. Only then do I know I’ll fall asleep and stay that way until morning. My late nights lend themselves to a lengthy list of read books each year.

The following 5 books top my list of books I read in 2015:

  1. All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — Those who know me well know there’s a good chance I’m reading a book about World War II or getting ready to read one set in that time period. This book, while set in Germany and France during WWII, is not a typical war novel. The writing is lyrically beautiful with well-defined characters and scenes that engross the reader. The lives of the two main characters are seamlessly intertwined and a subplot gives a sense of mystery to the novel.
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion — This enjoyable book is a humorous look at humanity and love. The quirky protagonist, Don, is on a quest for love based on logic. He’s endearing and the book is an easy romantic comedy that has the reader rooting for Don.
  3. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver — This book is not for everyone. It’s dark and made me feel simultaneously uncomfortable and compelled to finish the story. The plot deals with the aftermath of school violence and nature vs. nurture in parenting. It’s written in letters telling the story in flashback memories. This book haunts me and has spurred multiple engaging conversations with other readers.
  4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer — I finished reading this series with Winter and Fairest this year. The series twists fairy tales in a futuristic world much altered from our reality. The world is wonderfully crafted and the nuances linking beloved fairy tales to the novels are cleverly written. Fans of dystopic YA novels should give the series a try.
  5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee — To Kill a Mockingbird changed me in high school. Reading that book was the first time I realized I was capable of having complex thoughts about serious issues. Hundreds of books and decades later, it stands as my favorite book. I read Go Set a Watchman, not as a sequel to the beloved classic, but as the first version of what would become Mockingbird.  I’m a copy editor at heart and enjoyed analyzing the edits required to jump from Watchman to Mockingbird.

I tend to narrow my search for new books based on recommendations from friends and reviews/ratings on Amazon and Good Reads. It’s not a perfect system, but helps to prioritize the hundreds of books I would like to read. Choosing books this way doesn’t allow for room to discover new authors or local talent. Our community has a thriving local author pool. Two books worth a read from my own community are Seeing Ione by Jansen Curry and Gateway to Fourline by Pam Brondos. Supporting creativity in its many shapes  is important for the growth of ideas. All authors start with that first book. Give a local author a read in 2016.

What books would you recommend from your 2015 book list?

 

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