The books we loved this year, Part 1

books 2

Need some ideas for what to buy the book lover in your life or suggestions for a terrific book to get lost in during your holiday down time? Let our book-loving booksellers help.

 

This week, we’ll be sharing our favorite books we read this year. The lists reflect the eclectic mix of interests we have; we all love books, but we don’t all love the same books.

 

Check out the lists and come into Booksellers and let us help you get perfect book for any reader. (Go to Part 2 here and blogger Matt’s personal top-10 here)

 

Karen Tallent

These are not in any particular order of best or least, just the books which provoked thought, enjoyment and exploration of the human condition.

 

Gold Fame Citrus by Clare Vaye Watkins-  This was a book all at once chilling and beautiful, often in the same sentence.  It follows the life of a young woman in a drought-ravaged California of the near future. Its landscapes will haunt you, and its people stay with you.

 

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson-  The end of the world…and it’s rebirth over a five thousand year span.  A novel of human daring and ingenuity.  No one does it better than Stephenson.

 

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay- Probably the finest work on the mystery of evil since William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist.  Is young Marjorie truly possessed, or is she an intelligent and broken child using the instruments of media -fueled technology to further her own emotional, spiritual and physical demise?  Whatever you decide, the conclusion is inescapable: Marjorie and Merry Barrett are victims of human vanity and media exploitation.

 

You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman.  A true modern karenmyth of identity and consumer-based obsession.  Hallucinatory, allegorical and wholly original.  To review this book is difficult. It must be experienced.

 

The Devil’s Chessboard by David Talbot- A fearless, well-researched  bio of Allen Walker Dulles by the founder of Salon.com.  Cold War realpolitik that will have you saying, “What? Are you kidding me?”

 

Nicole Yasinsky

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M. T. Anderson

 

Mosquitoland by  David Arnold

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahirember in the ashes

 

Sabaa Tahir has created a world that is terrifying and exhilarating–one that I hope I never find myself in, but of which I cannot get enough!! With action and twists as exciting as any episode of Game of Thrones, and prose that drives the story with crystal-clear precision and lyrical beauty, An Ember in the Ashes leaves the reader wondering what freedom really is, and contemplating what price each of us would be willing to pay to achieve it? How far would YOU go? Her talent shines through from start to finish, with characters that you love to root for, love to hate, and some you may find yourself sympathizing with, even though you probably shouldn’t…

I haven’t been this excited about a new author in the YA world in quite some time-I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!!

 

Thing Explainer by Randall Munro

 

Home by Carson Ellis

 

 

joanneJoanne Van Zant

Descent by Tim Johnston

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Lake House by Kate Morton

 

Ill give you the sunRachel Harris

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon

 

 

Mark Frederick

 

Pacific Crucible and The Conquering Tide by Ian Tollpacific crucible

The first two volumes of Ian Toll’s brilliant “Pacific War Trilogy” are simply superb. As bracing as cold sea-spray, these narratives hoist naval writing to a new zenith. Five stars to Commodore Toll and a promotion to C.N.H. – Chief Naval Historian.

 

Target Tokyo by James M. Scott

Tense, dramatic and exciting, James Scott’s Target Tokyo thrillingly recounts America’s first great counter-punch to Japan after Pearl Harbor: The Jimmy Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942. Each of the 16 air crews’ perilous journey is vividly detailed, while the individual heroism displayed that day is now legendary.

 

Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell’s Watreloo is the best of many books published this summer to commemorate the 20th anniversary of this historic battle (June 1815). Writing of French eland and British vigor (allied with Dutch and Prussian loyalty), Cornwell’s story of that “near run thing” (Wellington) is well-told. The numerous color illustrations are glorious.

 

Matt Wening

1). Armada by Ernest Cline (2015)-  High school teen, Zachary Lightman, looks out his classroom window to see a flying saucer flying outside his classroom window, a flying saucer from his favorite’s video game.  With the help of the millions of other gamers around the world, they must unite and use their training to defend the earth against an impending invasion.

2). The Martian by Andy Weir (2015) – U.S. astronaut Mark Whatney is stranded on Mars after a storm—a storm his colleagues thoughts killed him—forces his team to evacuate. With only his skills and the supplies left behind, he must find a way to survive and make it back home to Earth.

Matt w3). The Ritual by Adam Nevill (2011) – Four friends are backpacking through the forests of Sweden when they decide to take a shortcut to avoid the dreary weather that has followed them from the start of their trip. This shortcut however proves to be the most horrifying decision that they have ever made. Somewhere in the distance of the never-ending woods, an ancient beast begins to hunt them. Their survival solely relies on their cooperation, something that has been tested from the moment they entered the ancient forest.

4). PT-109 by William Doyle (2015) – Doyle investigates and brings to light newly found evidence and articles that pertain to John F. Kennedy’s fantastically wild altercation he had during World War II, when his PT boat was struck, and sunk, by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri.  Kennedy and his surviving crew swam to the surrounding islands avoiding sharks, Japanese patrol boats, and possible hostile natives. A completely true and wild tale featuring one of Americas most loved and infamous presidents.

5).  Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990) –  Revisiting this twenty-five year old classic with the release of the newest addition to its movie franchise this year, it proves to be just as satisfying now as it did when Michael Crichton first published it in 1990.  A group of specialists are invited to a tropical island to review billionaire John Hammond’s newest ground-breaking attraction: a dinosaur park.  Twenty-four hours at the park turns out to be the most terrifying adventure of their lives, however.  They must work together to survive this terror 65 million years in the making. Touching on ground-breaking ideas of the time, Crichton includes DNA sequencing, genetics and chaos theory in this novel that truly is a page-turner till the very end.

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