And call me crazy. But I always have a little sliver of guilt for leaving "someone" (as if these books have beating hearts) off the list. I wouldn't make a very good Olympic judge would I?
It helps to split up my groups so I can choose more favorites. Today I've selected my favorite fiction books, read in print or on Kindle. Tomorrow I'll list my favorite non-fiction, and Thursday will address my beloved audios. The list below is not in any particular order, and I've not selected a certain number of books. I won't summarize the book, I'll just briefly tell you my lingering impressions that have made these books my top of the year.
A Land More Kind Than Home - Wiley Cash: There are many great Southern yarns out there, but this one, told through several perspectives, was tragic and precious, in a prose that grabbed me in an embrace and pulled me in. I had no choice in the matter...I was going to read this and be charmed and devastated by it whether I welcomed it or not. Plus, the antagonist was one that made my blood boil.
Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter: This one was probably one of the most bizarrely beautiful books I've read in a long time. It continues to befuddle me...I can't accurately describe how incredible it is. It transported me to another time and place, it was intensely thought-provoking, and the writing was GORGEOUS. Not only gorgeous but clever and with a sense of humor that really puts Walter at the top of my list of people I'd love to take to dinner.
Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta: It is a rare thing for me to find true depth, heart and mystery in a Young Adult book, but this one had it all. It was complex (almost requires a re-read) which I loved because it was a puzzle my mind enjoyed toying with. Ultimately, however, it was the characters - a group of teenagers - that stole the show. They were each memorable and when the story was over, I grieved. I missed them immediately.
Joy for Beginners - Erica Bauermeister: If anyone has ever read Ms. Bauermeister, you know that she mines the connection between a woman's soul and food, and she does it with beauty and grace. Following in the footsteps of "The School of Essential Ingredients", she brings to life a handful of women who have lived and lost, and who are fighting their way back to happiness. I have one lingering vision from this book, and that is a woman who is a cancer survivor taking a flying leap off a ledge into a body of water, and screaming with delight all the way down. A woman who has been given a second chance at life. It still gives me happy chills.
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn: Yeah, yeah, it is dark and messed up (to the point where you doubt Flynn's sanity), and it ends in the most despicable way possible, but I will never forget this book. I felt like a big dog got it's teeth in me and just shook and shook until I was senseless. While I usually need to connect with at least one of my characters, in this case I hated them all and reveled in the slimy, oily nastiness of it. Good, dirty fun.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, my non-fiction list!