The books we loved this year, Part 2

book pt 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 is part 2 of our list of our booksellers’ favorite books they read this year. If you missed part 1, click here. I shared my personal top-10 list, as well. 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.

Eddie Burton

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronsoneddie

Ronson’s my favorite reporter, and here he reports from the uniquely modern world of social media lynch-mobs.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

I didn’t think people were writing novels like this any more, especially people as young as Groff. As thorough a look at a modern marriage I’ve seen since John Updike.

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

This turned out to be my favorite Eggers book to date. Timely and important, but I also came to care about the characters a lot.

Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick

It’s everything i heard it was and more. It succeeds on every level: history, biography, music criticism.

Honorable Mentions

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson


Macon Wilson

112915-little-sister_Little-Sister-DeathLet Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

Little Sister Death by William Gay

Speak by Louisa Hall

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho



Jason Bouck

Between You & Me by Mary Norrisbetween you and me

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman

Trashed by Derf Backderf

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

Witches by Stacy Schiff

Unfaithful Music by Elvis Costello

Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Pitch by Pitch by Bob Gibson

Ephemeral Works 2004-2014 by Andy Goldsworthy

Dispatches From Pluto by Richard Grant




Kat Leache

ice cream starLook at Me by Jennifer Egan

An aging model is in a terrible car accident which results in severe facial disfigurement, and subsequent reconstructive surgery renders her completely unrecognizable yet still beautiful. Through multiple intertwining storylines and in language that is compulsively readable yet meaty and sophisticated, Egan’s 2001 National Book Award-nominated novel brilliantly explores identity and self-worth as defined and contorted by the world’s gaze.  If you loved Egan’s 2010 Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Good Squad, you’re sure to enjoy Look at Me.

Soil by Jamie Kornegay

Set in and near a fictionalized college town in Mississippi Hill Country–Kornegay’s own little Yoknapatawpha, if you will–Soil chronicles the downward spiral of paranoid Jay Mize, would-be farmer and former family man whose bad luck is rivaled only by his bad judgment. In turns sharply comic and piercingly sad, part Hannah and part Dostoyevsky, Soil is a gem of a debut by Greenwood, MS bookstore-owner Kornegay.

Euphoria by Lily King

A love triangle of anthropologists living among the native tribes of Papua New Guinea in the 1930s is the centerpiece of this gutwrenching novel inspired by the life and controversial psychosexual research of Margaret Mead. For fans of the cerebral, tortured love story.

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

An epic and breathtaking adventure centered around the life and loves of the singularly winning Ice Cream Star, member of the brave Sengals tribe of scavenging warriors. The story is set decades after a mysterious plague has killed most of the North American population, the only survivors being those under 18, the age around which the plague hits. This novel is truly one-of-a-kind and never what you expect. Don’t be turned off by the dialect in which Ice Cream Star written–it doesn’t take long to learn to read it, and its lyrical beauty is one of the novel’s greatest pleasures.

Other favorites:

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Mislaid by Nell Zink

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Descent by Tim Johnston

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The Lake House by Kate Morton


Jamie Wells

my brilliant friendThe Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante




Joey Carr

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivanpulphead_John_Jeremiah_Sullivan_cover

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

Werner Herzog by Paul Cronin


It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here by Charles Grodin

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet


Jesse Davis

purityPurity by Jonathan Franzen

In Purity, Franzen gives us the charming psychopath Andreas Wolf, an intoxicating digital-age celebrity, and the multiple-viewpoint structure successfully exposes nuances of Wolf’s psychosis by allowing the perspectives of Tom and Pip to reveal his most repulsive side. Purity, or Pip as she prefers to be called, could easily have been lost amid the more successful and adventurous characters in the novel, but her relatable problems and insecure, if hopeful, attitude give the reader a familiar thread to grasp, an entry point into the narrative, while her namesake immediately sets the Dickensian tone in place.

Thematic concerns are tied in with the mystery of identity that propels the narrative, and what has stuck with me after reading Purity is the pleasure of reading such a plot-heavy novel; I wanted nothing more than to be left alone to finish it. Though it is clear Franzen is an author with points to make — about identity and visibility, about celebrity and the private self — the mystery at the heart of the narrative spurs the reader on, leaving little time for contemplation. It is immensely gratifying to make progress in Purity as each new chapter reveals more secrets about the small cast of characters until the reader sets the finished book aside, head buzzing with ideas and crystal-clear lines of prose.

Sex At Dawn by Cacilda Jethá and Christopher Ryan

Time Out Of Joint by Philip K. Dick

The Zone Of Interest by Martin Amis

Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue De Connick

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