for the love of books

I thought I’d do something quite different from my normal musing here and give you a few of my favorite reads from this past year.  I love my library and picking up books I have never heard of, books I’ve been waiting to read, books friends suggest and ones I see people raving about on social media.  These are all novels, except one, because when I thought back over the many books I read this year it was these stories that stuck out to me.

A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser.  I needed to read this after the tragedy in our family last December.  His writing is honest, hopeful and hard.  If you are grieving, or walking a grief path with a friend or loved one, this is a great book to read.

Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli. I loved the spunk and the angst of conformity .vs. nonconformity in this book.  A good read for upper elementary age on up to spur some good discussions about people and expectations and what does fitting in really really mean and why is it the sought after status.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline.  A lovely novel about the painter Andrew Wyeth and his relationship with and the subject of his famous painting Christina’s World.  I thought Kline captured Christina’s struggle so painstakingly well.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Gerogia Hunter.  I have a penchant for WWII books and this one pretty much gave me an ulcer, in the best possible way if that is even possible!  It is well worth the read as it is the heartbreakingly true account of the authors own family lineage.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk.  The blurb on the jacket compared it to To Kill a Mockingbird, which I found completely intriguing and also very accurate after reading it.  A coming of age story of a young girl and it will make you wonder why we hold the assumptions that we hold.

BearTown by Fredrik Backman.  His writing voice is catapulting him onto a list of my favorite authors.  I love the messy, confused, broken characters he creates and the world he makes for them to walk around in.  This book is face passed and gritty, I love the cadence he used in his telling of this story and this is one of my top 5 reads from this year.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  This is haunting and also gritty, but I think well worth the read to expand ones knowledge of West Africa, slave trade, slavery in America and being black in America.  Keeping the lineage straight over the years is a bit confusing and I referenced the geology map at the beginning quite often.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  This book is quirky, depressing and heartwarming in equal measures.  I cheered for Eleanor, loved her obsession of Tesco and enjoyed watching her character develop.  I didn’t like some aspects of the ending to the story, but it is a gem overall.

The Hate U Give  by Angie Thomas.  Her writing voice for a youth of today is spot of and I found this story is to be a great narrative of hard to discuss racial current events.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier.  A modern retelling of Othello – so you know not exactly in the warm fuzzy category.  It is told within the span of one school day and will leave you aching and asking a lot of questions about assumptions and how we arrive at the thoughts we arrive at.

So there you have it – 10 books from this year that I really enjoyed.  What did you read this year that you enjoyed?  I’d love to hear and add them to my list of books to read.

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