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Mon May 25, 2015, 08:23 PM

2015. What are the BEST BOOKS you've read this year?

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I had this idea about starting a (hopefully) long-running thread where people could come and post about their favorite books that they've read this year. Obviously, since this is only the last week of May, there are still many months to go in 2015 - so my hope is that folks will keep adding to this thread throughout the rest of the year until 12/31/15. And then - if this works - we'll start a new thread for 2016.

First, I'd love to hear if anyone else thinks this is a fun idea.

Second, if you do, please post your starting 2015 BEST BOOKS list.

I'll start out - so far in 2015, the best books I've read are:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye
The Long-Shining Waters by Danielle Sosin
The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig
Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason
The Blackhouse by Peter May
Sweetland by Michael Crummey


So, if you've read something particularly memorable in 2015 so far, please start your list. Then, as the year goes on, please add any new memorable books to this thread - if you are so inclined.

Anyway, just thought I'd put this out here and see what happens...

On Edit: I'm going to go ahead and pin this thread - but if either of the other hosts objects I will unpin it.

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Reply 2015. What are the BEST BOOKS you've read this year? (Original post)
scarletwoman May 2015 OP
enough May 2015 #1
scarletwoman May 2015 #2
Enthusiast May 2015 #3
scarletwoman May 2015 #5
Enthusiast May 2015 #4
scarletwoman May 2015 #6
Laura PourMeADrink May 2015 #7
scarletwoman May 2015 #10
Laura PourMeADrink Jun 2015 #18
scarletwoman Jun 2015 #19
mainer May 2015 #8
scarletwoman May 2015 #9
SheilaT May 2015 #11
Enthusiast May 2015 #12
SheilaT May 2015 #13
Enthusiast May 2015 #14
japple May 2015 #15
scarletwoman May 2015 #16
japple Jun 2015 #17
Hula Popper Sep 2015 #29
eissa Jun 2015 #20
scarletwoman Jun 2015 #21
eissa Jun 2015 #22
scarletwoman Jun 2015 #23
eissa Jun 2015 #24
mackerel Jul 2015 #25
eissa Jul 2015 #27
ZombieHorde Jul 2015 #26
argyl Aug 2015 #28
Enthusiast Sep 2015 #30
pscot Nov 2015 #31
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #32
hermetic Nov 2015 #33
pscot Nov 2015 #34
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #35
scarletwoman Nov 2015 #36
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #37
scarletwoman Nov 2015 #38
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #39
scarletwoman Jan 2016 #40
Mira Jan 2016 #41
Dalai_1 Jan 2016 #42
hermetic Jan 2016 #43
japple Jan 2016 #44
SoLeftIAmRight Feb 2016 #45

Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Mon May 25, 2015, 08:34 PM

1. Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish. (nt)

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Response to enough (Reply #1)

Tue May 26, 2015, 04:26 PM

2. Thank you for posting this!

I looked it up and it sounds like a very intense read! I'm glad you brought it up, I don't think I would have ever heard about this book otherwise.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Wed May 27, 2015, 04:11 AM

3. Okay..

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig

Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason

The Blackhouse by Peter May

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The High Divide by Lin Enger

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #3)

Wed May 27, 2015, 05:49 AM

5. Thank you, Enthusiast!

Gee, somehow your list looks a lot like mine!

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Wed May 27, 2015, 05:38 AM

4. I just ordered used copies of The Long-Shining Waters and Safe From the Sea.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #4)

Wed May 27, 2015, 05:52 AM

6. I hope you'll enjoy them!

I, in turn, will be ordering Lin Enger's books from my library.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Thu May 28, 2015, 08:01 PM

7. Ah...just read a review about Sweetland and immediately wanted

to go buy it.

For me, got to be the Confession - John Grishman - not new - but it's such an inspiration - Makes you want to immediately sign up for any activist group that opposes the death penalty

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #7)

Fri May 29, 2015, 07:22 PM

10. Thank you. "The Confession" sounds intense.

I know who John Grisham is, but I've not read anything by him. Glad to know he's used his talent to highlight the death penalty issue.

Thanks for posting!

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 4, 2015, 07:15 AM

18. You could probably get it at a used book store now. Highly recommended. BTW

I went to two book stores and no one had Sweetland. Funny, since I had just read a review about it and I see it was published last year. Guess i have to buy it on line.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 4, 2015, 05:01 PM

19. I stopped buying books years and years ago. I get my books exclusively from the library.

My bookshelves are already crammed to bursting with books I want to keep, and I still have boxes of books from the last time I moved that I've never unpacked, and wouldn't have room for, anyway. I've given away hundreds of my books; passed them on to friends and family, donated them to the library or second hand stores. I really don't want to buy any books anymore.

I'm sure the chances are good that the library will have a copy of Confession. And if your local library can't get you a copy of Sweetland I imagine you could order it online - if you're into buying it.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2015, 06:33 PM

8. Top mystery nominees from Strand Magazine Critics Awards

in case anyone's interested.

Best Novel:
1. The Fever by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown and Company)
2. Jack of Spies by David Downing (SOHO)
3. The Secret Place by Tana French (Viking)
4. Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner (Dutton)
5. Die Again by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine)
6. After Iím Gone by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)

Best First Novel Nominees:
1. Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
2. Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little (Viking)
3. The Home Place by Carrie La Seur (William Morrow)
4. Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley (William Morrow)
5. Confessions by Kanae Minato and translated by Stephen Snyder (Mulholland Books)
6. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (Mira)

http://www.mysterycenter.com/2015/03/26/Strand-Critics-Award-Nominees-Are-Announced

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Response to mainer (Reply #8)

Fri May 29, 2015, 07:11 PM

9. Thank you for the lists. I've only read one of the books listed, "The Secret Place" by Tana French.

I certainly liked it a lot. I read it twice - after I turned the last page the first time around I headed right back to the first page and read it straight through again. (However, my favorite Tana French book remains Faithful Place.)

So anyway, have you read any of the books listed? If so, would you personally recommend any of them? It will take me awhile to look them all up - but I definitely will check each of them out.

Thank you for adding to this thread!

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sat May 30, 2015, 10:49 AM

11. I just got done reading "The Kind Worth Killing'

 

by Peter Swanson. Amazing. So I got his first book, "The Girl With A Clock for a Heart". Awkward title, but also very good. I hope he keeps on writing and publishing.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #11)

Sun May 31, 2015, 12:47 PM

12. We enjoyed The Girl With A Clock for a Heart. I haven't read The Kind Worth Killing yet.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #12)

Sun May 31, 2015, 01:13 PM

13. The Kind Worth Killing

 

is even better than The Girl. I especially liked the ending. He sort of goes for a Hitchcockian twist, and I really liked it.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #13)

Sun May 31, 2015, 01:38 PM

14. I will add that one to my list, Sheila. Thanks.

Last edited Sun May 31, 2015, 09:35 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sun May 31, 2015, 09:18 PM

15. Not necessarily in rank order

Last edited Mon Jun 1, 2015, 06:33 AM - Edit history (1)

James McBride, The Good Lord Bird
Lin Enger, The High Divide
Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
Peter Heller, The Dog Stars
Paulette Jiles, Lighthouse Island
Kent Haruf, Benediction
Lance Weller, Wilderness

Edit to add: Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

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Response to japple (Reply #15)

Sun May 31, 2015, 09:30 PM

16. Thanks! I'm going to have to look most of them up - except for "The High Divide" & "Wilderness".

I've already looked those two up and added them to my to-read list. The rest are currently unknown to me.

I really appreciate you posting your list!

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #16)

Mon Jun 1, 2015, 06:34 AM

17. I'm adding to my list, too. Thanks everyone for these

lists.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #16)

Wed Sep 9, 2015, 02:35 PM

29. New to me this year

 


Mo Hayder
Stuart Neville
Tana French
& Allen Eskins.
a DU reader recommended Stop you're Killing me a few years ago. I use their awards section to find authors I haven't read....
The above authors will cause late nights!

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 01:15 PM

20. In no particular order.....

The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa (one of my favorites)
A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado

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Response to eissa (Reply #20)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 06:52 PM

21. Thank you for adding to this thread!

I looked up Vargas Llosa and Mahfouz - very intriguing titles in their respective bibliographies. I really appreciate learning about these new-to-me authors. I will look up the others also.

Thanks again!

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #21)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 07:28 PM

22. Vargas Llosa was a late discovery for me

A contemporary of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, his writing style is absolutely intoxicating. Even better than Gabo -- there, I said it! "The Feast of the Goat" is another favorite work from him, a fictional story mixed with factual events about the tyranny of Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic.

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Response to eissa (Reply #22)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 07:48 PM

23. I must confess, I've never read any South American authors.

For years I've sort of meant to get around to reading Marquez, but more out of a sense of duty than any burning desire.

My tastes mainly run to genre fiction - particularly mysteries and police procedurals - and I tend to avoid "literary" fiction. However, I've recently been attempting to broaden my reading choices.

Since I posted my initial reply to you, I've been on Fantastic Fiction, clicking on each of Vargas Llosa's titles and reading the summaries. I may yet travel south in my future book choices...

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #23)

Fri Jun 19, 2015, 10:10 PM

24. They're new to me as well

But so happy I've discovered them! I've spent the better part of my life reading political history and non-fiction. "Love in the Time of Cholera" turned me on to fiction and I've been devouring the works of South American writers ever since!

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Response to eissa (Reply #24)

Tue Jul 28, 2015, 12:59 AM

25. Try the poetry of Pablo Neruda.

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Response to mackerel (Reply #25)

Tue Jul 28, 2015, 11:52 AM

27. I became interested in him after reading Salvador Allende's biography

What beautiful verses he penned.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2015, 02:47 AM

26. Two books come to mind.

The Complete Poems, by William Blake. I am a Blake fanatic. I read and reread his poems often. I have some memorized, not because I try to memorize them, but because I reread them so often. I often pace around my apartment and read his poems out loud while drinking at least once per week.

I've been reading a book called Juliette, by Marquis de Sade, and I absolutely love it. Anyone who loves philosophy, especially nihilistic philosophy, and/or raunchy sex, would likely love this book. It goes back and forth between philosophy and insanely degenerate sex, but mostly philosophy. The philosophy is based around nature, as opposed to religion or sociology, which to me is refreshing.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Mon Aug 31, 2015, 01:06 PM

28. "The Cartel" by Don Winslow.

And I'd read his book "The Power of the Dog" first. It's a prequel of sorts but "The Cartel" can be read as a stand alone.

It's about the horrific damage the drug trade has done to Mexico, and to individuals either caught up or actively involved in it. Government and governmental agency corruption is highlighted.

The novel is too richly textured with so many aspects and levels of this horror to our South for a few paragraphs to suffice even scratching the surface of this magnificently written book.

The depravity and hyper violence is unsettling and ,tragically, all too true to life.





-

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Response to argyl (Reply #28)

Mon Sep 21, 2015, 08:50 AM

30. Hello, argyl!

We are huge Don Winslow fans here! Highly entertaining reading. I haven't read The Cartel yet but I will get around to it. My favorite so far is The Winter of Frankie Machine.

Mrs. Enthusiast just reminded me that the Don Winslow books remind her of a Quentin Tarantino movie.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Fri Nov 6, 2015, 08:55 PM

31. The best novel this year

is one I recently read; A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. I can't understand why it took me so long to find Murakami. He's as wry as Vonnegut, but his feet never leave the earth. I also liked The Last Policeman by Ben H.Winters

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Response to pscot (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 8, 2015, 10:38 AM

32. Thank you, pscot.

I will check those out.

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Response to pscot (Reply #31)

Sun Nov 8, 2015, 01:57 PM

33. Did you read the trilogy?

Or just the one? The Last Policeman has been on my wanna read list for a long time. I only just recently learned it was the first of three.

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Response to hermetic (Reply #33)

Sun Nov 8, 2015, 07:32 PM

34. I did

I thought he handled the last one pretty well, given that we know the end. What kept me reading was that I liked the character, the policeman. He was brave, caring and honest; young and maybe mildly autistic. It's not a cheerful subject but the story is not a crashing downer either. He just does what he can.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Wed Nov 25, 2015, 01:06 PM

35. Since it is still 2015 I thought I should update.

Last edited Tue Dec 8, 2015, 07:09 AM - Edit history (1)

Sweetland by Michael Crummey

The Wreckage by Michael Crummey.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Color of Lightening by Paulette Jiles

The High Divide by Lin Enger

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller,

Wilderness by Lance Weller

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #35)

Wed Nov 25, 2015, 01:14 PM

36. Thanks, Enthusiast! I'm really going to have to read some more Michael Crummey books, too.

I was so moved by Sweetland that in a weird way, I was sort of afraid to go to anything else he wrote - I didn't want to take a chance of the spell being broken. I don't know if that makes any sense, it's just that Sweetland, for me, was such an absolutely perfect gem, I just wanted to leave it at that.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #36)

Wed Nov 25, 2015, 01:24 PM

37. Hi scarletwoman! I do know exactly what you mean.

I have a casual rating system on the books I read. I have River Thieves and The Wreckage rated about equally to Sweetland. I also liked Galore but not as much. But there is no doubt, Sweetland casts a spell, a most unusual vibe. Mrs. Enthusiast just ate them up and feels about the same as I do. YMMV, of course.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Wed Nov 25, 2015, 01:39 PM

38. Out of all the scores of books I've read since I started this thread, there's one in particular

that really stands out enough to merit a place on this list: In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward.

On the other hand, I should also add the entire Inspector Shan series by Eliot Pattison, that I was totally immersed in for so many weeks in late summer through early fall:
1. The Skull Mantra
2. Water Touching Stone
3. Bone Mountain
4. Beautiful Ghosts
5. Prayer of the Dragon
6. The Lord of Death
7. Mandarin Gate
8. Soul of the Fire


That set of stories about Tibet touched me more deeply than I can express.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #38)

Wed Nov 25, 2015, 02:32 PM

39. I believe we have In Bitter Chill on order.

I hope to read the Inspector Shan series one day. I want to be touched deeply too.

I am so way far behind.

Thank you, scarletwoman.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Mon Jan 25, 2016, 07:08 PM

40. Time to unpin this thread and move on into 2016.

Now that 2015 ended over 3-1/2 weeks ago!

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Fri Jan 29, 2016, 09:47 PM

41. WOW - found this and must tell you about the one I'm loving now

ďA confederacy of DuncesĒ
it has catapulted itself into a favorite of a life time for me, Iím almost done and when I am I will start again at the beginning. And maybe, after that, one more time to be sure to get all of it.

The history of it, and the story of the author are part of the involvement, the fact that it was written about folks in New Orleans is another part because I love NOLA. The writing is the most beautifully concocted, humor laden and understanding the South of the best of the American language imaginable. The author committed suicide at 31. His Mom found the handwritten manuscript and took it to someone to read ď I think itís goodĒ, and then it won a posthumous Pulitzer.

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Response to Mira (Reply #41)

Fri Jan 29, 2016, 09:54 PM

42. My very favorite!n/t

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Response to Mira (Reply #41)

Sat Jan 30, 2016, 03:45 PM

43. Hi Mira,

Nice to see you here. A Confederacy of Dunces was one of my favorite books last year. I've only visited NOLA a few times but I have a real fondness for it.

Since we have now moved into 2016, I will be unpinning this thread so we can have a new year of books. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Response to Mira (Reply #41)

Sun Jan 31, 2016, 02:14 PM

44. Happy to see this book has found another admirer. It's one of my favorites

of my lifetime--a true work of genius.

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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Sat Feb 6, 2016, 08:39 PM

45. Kim Stanley Robinson

 

the 40 50 60 trilogy

Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahnaman

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