I read more books than usual this past year. 203! My eye muscles are tired. It's hard to pick a favorite when you read so many, but I've made a collage of a few that really stood out. In no particular order:
2. Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a hilarious and authentic memoir of a woman who works in a high paced office for a senator in DC. She ends up moving home to help out her dad's small town medical practice when her mother has a heart attack.
3. The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford. Historical fiction exploring the legend of mermaids (and incorporating a real medical condition as explanation). Intriguing writing that made it hard to put down, even in the slower parts.
4. The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White. A story about a distant dad who has to take over the needs of his highly functioning but autistic son when his wife is hospitalized long term for a heart condition. Bittersweet and at times quite funny, this was an excellent read.
5. The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman. I'm not certain who gave me this book. It had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. I picked it up and was immediately drawn in to family secrets and dynamics, and a lost painting. I recommended it to several people, who all loved it too.
6. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I have read every book Picoult has written. I love her ability to take ethical dilemmas and make you see every side of them. But this book? She outdid herself with this book! Some have been calling it "To Kill a Mockingbird for the 21st Century" and I'd have to say that's an excellent phrase to sum it up.
7. The Magician King by Lev Grossman. This is the second book in a trilogy and I read them all, after finding the first on a list of books for adult fans of Harry Potter. This book was my favorite of the three, but you should read the first one first.
8. Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer. This is another book that had been on my shelves for years. If I'd known how good it was, I would have read it sooner. Each chapter has a different angle on neuroscience combined with insights from classic literature and art. I know, it seems an unlikely combination, but it is so well done and fascinating.
9. The Disaster Diaries by Sam Sheridan - the author has been worrying about the apocalypse for years, and finally decides to do something about it. So he takes each aspect of survival preparation and seeks out an expert in that field for training (how to live off the land, how to defend oneself, etc.). A unique perspective with a lot of useful information.
And two last books that I loved (but read after I made the collage):
A Man Called Ove was recommended by a friend, and I think it was my favorite book I read all year. And my mom recommended The Mad Woman Upstairs, which was also excellent reading. Well, that does it! Readers, do you have a favorite book you read last year?