The Best Books I Read This Year

I read more books this year than I have in the past. But even though I read more than 100 books, there are a few that really stood out. Ones that I can’t stop thinking about and probably won’t for a long time. So, in no particular order (except for the first one), here are my favorite books of the year.

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I read it when it first came out and then in October for book club. It was my pick. If I had my way, everyone would be required to read this book. It follow Starr Carter-a sixteen year old girl who lives in a tough neighborhood, but attends a private, mostly white school. She is a witness to a white police officer shooting one of her oldest friends. The book touches on everything relevant today. And it is a spectacular read. Not only will Starr live with me for along time, this is a book I will revisit.
  2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I loved her first book, Everything I Never Told You. Like that book, Little Fires Everywhere delves into suburban teenage lives. It is the story of a mother and daughter who move to Shaker Height, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. They infiltrate the lives of the family they rent their house from. It’s a complicated story of love and acceptance and secrets and all the things that family does to hurt each other. I loved Ng’s storytelling. I love her voice. I love this book. She even replied to my tweet, letting her know how much I loved it.
  3. Love & Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. Ernest, the main character, will stay with me for a long time. This is a piece of historical fiction, covering an incident that I was not aware of. Ernest is put on a ship in China and ends up in Washington state. He is raffled off at the World’s Fair in Seattle. This book brings out all the feels. It made me angry that people would consider others less than human, but is a reminder that (1) they do, and (2) that sometimes humanity shows up in places you would least expect it to be.
  4. Y Is For Yesterday by Sue Grafton. Not only do I love mysteries, I love this series. I have been reading it since high school. Kinsey Millhone has been my friend for a long time. The penultimate book in the alphabet series is, I think, my favorite. It is a complicated mystery and entertaining as well. I am going to miss this series when it ends.
  5. The Garden of Small Blessings by Abi Waxman. I won this book and I am so happy I did. This is the story of a widow and her two daughters. Lillian is an illustrator who is tasked to illustrate a book of vegetables. She takes a gardening class from the author and she learns about growing vegetables and the potential for new love. This book is well written and a lovely story. I love that Lillian isn’t perfect. I love that she tries.
  6. Crime Scene by Jesse and Jonathan Kellerman. This book introduces us to Clay Edison, former college basketball star and current coroner’s investigator for Alameda County. He investigates the death of a former psychology professor at Cal Berkeley. I loved this book. I used to read the Alex Delaware series and stopped several years ago. I liked it, and I like this one. I cannot wait for number two in the series.
  7. Tie. Back Blast and The Grey Man by Mark Greaney. Jason Bourne meets James Bond in this series. The Grey Man, Courtland Gentry was a dark operator who was blamed for killing his team. He did not kill them. The U.S. Government has a kill on sight order against him. He is intent on clearing his name. Back Blast is the fifth book in the series and the first one I read. It was a fantastic story and full of action. The Grey Man is the first book and was equally awesome. If you are looking for a good spy series, this is it.
  8. Aftercare Instruction by Bonnie Pipkin. I won this book and was glad I did. I might have otherwise missed it. Gen is a girl who has been labeled as trouble. She gets pregnant by the “good” boy and has an abortion. The boy leaves her at the clinic. It’s a really good story. It’s well-written and I loved it. So much of it hit home.
  9. The Dry by Jane Harper. The first in a series set in Australia. The book looks at the two happenings – Ellie’s suicide and Luke’s death – and whether they may be related. Was it really murder? Did Luke kill Ellie and then kill his family? Was it because of the drought? Money? Guilt? Aaron agrees to stay in Kiewarra and look into the murders with the local cop at the behest of Luke’s parents, whom Aaron was close to. Their investigation leads to the resolution of both cases, but not necessarily with neat and tidy bows wrapped around them. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Jane Harper brings Southern Australia alive.
  10. The Prisoner by Alex Berenson. The John Wells series hit a slide for a couple of books. This one brings it back. It was as good as the first book, The Faithful Spy. Wells has to find out who in the CIA is passing messages to ISIS. He goes undercover in an Afghan prison. It is a true page-turner. And a really good book.

Hopefully you will you this list to discovery some new books and authors. I am going to try to post more often and give people something to read regularly.

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