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Monthly Archives: November 2016

8 Fascinating Reads From 2016

It’s that time of year again. Time to share my list of great reads from 2016!DSC01688 - Version 2

Mind you, this list includes only those books that were published in 2016 that I’ve already read and can recommend. Of course, whether or not you’ll enjoy them depends on your mood and what you’re looking for. Beware, some of these are pretttttty dark. My list of 2016 books yet to read is brighter, but it’s also five times longer. Must get going before the next batch of new releases!

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation – Rebecca Traister

unknown-2An investigation by an award-winning journalist into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women and how singlehood has contributed to advancements in equality, education, and more.

What the LA Times said: “a singularly triumphant work of women presented in beautiful formation.”

What I say: As shown earlier this month, we women have a long way to go. This book offers lots of food for thought.

A quote from the book: In 1877, the never-married suffragist, abolitionist, and labor activist Susan B. Anthony … prophesied that the journey toward gender equality would necessarily include a period in which women stopped marrying. “In woman’s transition from the position of subject to sovereign, there must needs be an era of self-sustained, self-supported, homes.”

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

unknown-3From the creator of the TV show Fargo, a mystery about the cause of a private plane crash, the characters who were on board, and why two passengers survived.

What Publishers Weekly said: “a masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype.”

What I say: The mystery of what happened isn’t nearly as interesting as the commentary on wealth and media elites, including the parodies of Bill Cunningham and Roger Ailes.

A quote from the book: In the same way a man’s nose and ears become exaggerated as he ages, so do the psychological issues that define him. We all become caricatures of ourselves, if we live long enough.

LaRose – Louise Erdrich

unknown-4An emotionally haunting tale by a National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee about family tragedy and retribution for past sins, set in a community of whites and Native Americans.

What Powell’s City of Books said: Erdrich’s “most compelling novel yet.”

What I say: What’s not to love? The voice, the broken families, the tragedy, the themes…One of my favorites of all books I read this year, not just those published in 2016.

A quote from the book: He always had trouble opening his heart. Tonight it was stuck again. It was a wooden chest secured by locked iron bands. An army duffel, rusted zipper. Kitchen cupboards glued shut.

My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout

unknown-5From a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, the story of a young woman recovering from an operation and her estranged mother.

What the Washington Post said: the work of a mature writer “scaling new heights.”

What I say: A beautifully written story about a daughter’s unrequited (and possibly undeserving) love for her mother.

A quote from the book: One can be ready to give up the children one always wanted, one can be ready to withstand remarks about one’s past, or one’s clothes, but then–a tiny remark and the soul deflates and says: Oh.

 

Truly Madly Guilty — Liane Moriarty

unknown-6From a prolific NYT best-selling author, the story of 6 adults, 3 kids, a grumpy old neighbor and a dog, and how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, including the relationship with self.

What USA Today said: a “big tease” and not quite the guilty pleasure you’d hoped for.

What I say: Regardless of literary flaws, this novel depicts those realistic truths about relationships among friends, spouses, families, and neighbors that we pretend to ignore.

A quote from the book: No one warned you that having children reduced you right down to some smaller, rudimentary, primitive version of yourself, where your talents and your education and your achievements meant nothing.

The Vegetarian – Han Kang

unknown-7Initially published in South Korea in 2007, this is an exotic and chilling story about rebellion, conviction, familial violence, eroticism, and art.

What Slate said: an eerie universality that gets under your skin and stays put irrespective of nation or gender

What I say: Totally weird. Can’t explain it. Still, unforgettable. You should read it just because.

A quote from the book: I am not an animal anymore.

 

 

The Widow – Fiona Barton

unknown-8A debut thriller story about a husband who does bad things, the wife who enables him, and a disappeared little girl.

What NPR said: the deliberate work of a professional observer who knows that the lies we tell ourselves can be more devastating than those we tell others.

What I say: If you want a book about a seriously, eerily, chillingly flawed couple, read this.

A quote from the book: I remember looking at him lying there in a small pool of blood and thinking ‘oh well, that’s the end of his nonsense.’

 

Weighing the Truth – Christine Z. Mason

images-1A character-driven legal thriller that addresses such themes as capital punishment and sexual assault and that winds up becoming a redemptive journey of self-discovery.

What Kirkus Reviews said: An insightful exploration of love and loss that will have suspense fans turning pages until the very end.

What I say: an undiscovered gem!

A quote from the book: Recently, sex had seemed to her like something that existed in a different realm, something for people with more time and energy, and less grief.

 

What newly published books did you read this year? I’d love to hear from you.

2 Responses to 8 Fascinating Reads From 2016

    • I’ll be interested in hearing what you think about them. Strout and Erdrich are two of my favorites.

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Myths About The First Thanksgiving

True or false: the first Thanksgiving was a hospitable, cooperative harvest celebration among the Pilgrims and the American Indians. Answer: we don’t really know for sure; that’s probably partly true and partly false. What we do know is that the idyllic image we teach our school-aged children is at best incomplete and probably quite wrong. The… Continue Reading

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Saving the Earth, One by One

The election is over, and a new future is about to be ushered in. I don’t usually write publicly about political matters, and I promise not to address the myriad topics I could in this blog as a result of what happened on election day. But there’s one topic I’d been planning to write about, even… Continue Reading

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