Last year I shared a few books that I really loved and I decided I needed to do the same for last year. There are a few that I would recommend to most people.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach - I read so much about this book in 2012 and Mom bought it for me for Christmas. I was intrigued that it took a decade for Harbach to write and find a publisher. It's been 13 months since I finished it and I still remember the story vividly and fondly. I appreciate when an author creates a world that I can't wait to inhabit. I rate this with Brothers K as two of my favorite baseball novels.
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada - this book is very sad. It's about a couple living in WWII Germany whose only child is killed in war. The father decides to participate in little acts of revolution and the consequences are felt by those close to him. I had read about Fallada in Erik Larsen's In The Garden of Beasts as a German author who decided to remain in Germany during the war and the scorn the felt by the German literary community for this decision. This story was written by someone who was living under the regime and was trapped in a society run by pride and hate. It's dark but sometimes dark is needed.
Freedom by Jonathan Frazen - people may have strong feelings about this but I liked it. It was an interesting story that kept moving forward and the characters were not perfect but I liked how the choices they made created real consequences.
Decoded by Jay Z - friends teased me for reading this but I loved learning about Jay Z's childhood and what happened to make him who he is today. It's a crazy interesting story.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - after reading Les Miserables last year, I wanted to read more Victor Hugo. Why in the world did Disney make this into a cartoon? It simplified a really good story that deserves to be told completely.
Rabbit Run by John Updike - there were parts of this book I really hated but that is because Updike was that good at writing about a not very nice guy. This is the first book in the series and I'm taking a break before learning more about Harry Angstrom's life.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - I loved this book completely. I'm so grateful that I found it through a friend on Goodreads as it is such a lovely book about a girl and her friends in 1930s New York City. It has glamor and humor and beauty and I want to live in it.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene - I love Greene and this was another opportunity for me to confirm that love. A wonderful look into how a man decides to live his life and for the love of a woman.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre - I can't wait to read more about George Smiley. Such a complete spy story.