Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year-End Programming, Part 1

For the last few days of 2014, I'm going to re-cap my year in reading.  As I've mentioned before, I loved my New Year's Resolution to read 52 books.  I loved it so much, I'm doing it again.  It's the best resolution I've ever had.

So far, I've read 57 books.  I include in this total the 20 books I've listened to.  In fact, some of the audio books - the details stay with me so clearly, even more brightly than the books I've read with my eyes.

For my first re-cap, I'm going to provide a list of the best audio books I've listened to this year.  The Top 5 with brief descriptions.  Here they are!  In alphabetical by author:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.  Read by Orlagh Cassidy. The story is addictive.  Well-meaning parents raise their infant daughter and adopted chimpanzee daughter as twins.  Later, when the chimp is clearly not human (read: destructive, dangerous), they disappear her from their children's lives.  Fern is gone.  Everyone is very different going forward.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  Read by Edward Hermann.    Okay, I'm not a big non-fiction reader, but this book held me spellbound.  By now, everyone's heard of the story of Louie Zamperini, the Olympic runner-turned serviceman who survives a horrific plane crash, endless days at sea in a rubber life raft, and years in a Japanese POW camp.  Ed Hermann's warm narration in a voice I know so well from Gilmore Girls gave the story immediacy.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.  Read by Cassandra Campbell.  This is an exquisite family drama that covers 45 years and excavates five perspectives, the perspectives of people who live together but lack fundamental understanding of each other.  It's sad and hopeful at the same time.  I also recognized Campbell's voice from another favorite audiobook - Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.  Read by the author.  I've never read anything like this.  Two stories intersect - the story of a teenaged Japanese girl and the story of the middle-aged woman who finds the former's diary on a beach in Canada.  Somehow, they actually affect one another across time and space - influencing each other by a kind of cosmic magic.  Mind-bending and reassuring.  Basically, fabulous.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. Read by Dennis Boutsikaris.  Of all the audiobooks I've listened to, I think this one was most positively impacted by the narrator.  His deadpan delivery of the darkly humorous, simple sentences added to the mixed sense incredulity and inevitability I experienced throughout this book.  One day, millions of people just disappear from earth.  There's so explanation, and they don't come back.  The book is the intersecting stories of some of the people left behind.  It's just really fascinating and good.

Okay!  That's the top 5.  I'm noticing that three of these were recommended to me by my pal, Lee.  Thanks, Lee, for positively impacting my year of reading.

Here are my next favorites:
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simon
  • Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
And here are the others, all of which I also liked:
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  • A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
  • Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
  • The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio
  • The Accident by Chris Povone
  • The Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

1 comment:

LH said...

Well, I have now commented 3 times on this blog post. So, that can be frustrating.

The gist of it is this. I just got Audible. You're a great book reviewer. I'm going to listen to Invention of Wings first. And a big fat thank you.