This week I’m recommending Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr. This was the latest in my kick of reading fiction set in the Southwest. Indeed, I only picked it up because I thought it was set in Nevada (it’s actually set in the Sierra Nevada mountains). I could definitely keep on with this theme until I run out of selections. Sense of place is really important in Southwestern fiction, and I am loving that aspect of these reads. Read my full review at my blog Books Worth Reading.
I like to track my reading in multiple ways, for which I use the various OCD tracking tools on LibraryThing. One way is to track what I read during the year as compared to what others were reading during the same period (here’s the list). It interests me to see what trends emerge.
Here are the most popular books I read last year that multiple others also read:
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (also my number-one read of the year)
- Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (possibly the buzziest book of the year, at least in my circles)
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (one of my top 5 of last year)
- Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
- The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
- Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
I can recommend all of these!
Now here’s a selection of what everyone else was reading that I chose not to read, and why:
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: So many people were reading this and talking about it, that I was sure it would be a letdown. Let’s just say that I’ve been burned by uber-popular thrillers in the past.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which won the Pulitzer and all, yadda yadda yadda. Let’s just say that I couldn’t bear taking on yet another World War II book at this time.
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple: As we all know, we shouldn’t judge books by their covers (or titles), but these seem way too cutesy for my tastes.
- The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey: I actually picked this one up and read the first few pages, but I am sooooo tired of zombies. Burned out big time.
Feel free to try to convince me I made a mistake passing any of these up in the comments.
Here are my five favorite reads of the year, a nice mix of old classics and new discoveries. Please post your favorite reads of the year in the comments. (These are books read during the past year and enjoyed, but not necessarily published in 2015.)
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (my essay on a kinder, gentler apocalypse)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer