Top Ten Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme hosted by the good folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a great way to discover new book blog’s and even find common literary ground in the blogosphere. See here for other bloggers posts on this particular topic.
I only average about a book a week, so a top ten at this point of the year actually represents about 40% of my reading. Fortunately, I’ve read a lot of good books this year and didn’t have trouble coming up with ten favorites. I had a LOT of trouble however in ranking them, but I attempted to anyway. :-)
I’m also happy to do this particular top ten list, since I can mention some of the books I’ve read but haven’t blogged about. Seems all I actually post about anymore are short stories! I keep meaning to write about BOOKS more often, but have failed thus far. Maybe that’s a worthy goal for the second half of the year? Hmm… Anyway, on to this week’s list, ranked in order with #1 being my “favorite” (if there can truly be such a thing)
10 Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Just read this one last month for my Book club that meets at Indy Reads Books bookstore. A really eye-opening non fiction work about the plight of the people in North Korea. Oppression, Economic collapse, starvation – it’s got it all.
9 Long Knife – by James Alexander Thom
The historical fiction biography of George Rogers Clark, a Revolutionary War hero who won most of his laurels in and around Indiana. I’d read this author’s (historical fiction) Tecumseh biography a few years ago and had no qualms about recommending this book as a ‘wild card’ pick for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. I was so gratified that it was a big hit with them, and that the author himself (who lives near Bloomington) visited our book club meeting with some friends.
8 Prisoner of Trebekistan by Bob Harris
I read a few books related to the TV game show “Jeoaprdy!” earlier this year in preparation for an in-person audition I had in Chicago (I was invited after passing the online test). This book was the best of the lot, both honest and funny AND useful for my “inevitable” (ha ha) future appearance on the show. Above: Jeopardy! champ Bob Harris – do you remember him?
7 Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Yet another book club I’m in read this one back in April. The stories within this book are somewhat tough going at times, but some were also indisputably brilliant and have stuck with me even two months later. I’m sure that this is a book I’ll be revisiting over the years.
6 Uncle Anton’s Atomic Bomb by Ian Woollen
I learned of this book in a roundabout way, as the author was one of the friends that author James Alexander Thom brought with him to our book club meeting for #9 above. I then heard the author would be the guest of a reading group at Bookmama’s Bookstore (link on sidebar under “local interest”) so read it “at warp speed” in order to be finished in time to participate. A sweeping “family epic” spanning the Cold War, I still hope to write a more formal “review” of this one at some point. Who’s “Uncle Anton?” Why, Chekhov, of course!
5 Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
The only YA book on this list (and I think the only one I’ve read this year), it’s the debut novel of a young local author. Kind of a “A Beautiful Mind meets YA lit” book, with a great “unreliable narrator” who leaves you constantly wondering what’s real and what’s not.
4 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I don’t know how many times I’ve read this one now, but I went through it again for a book club meeting, which featured one of the best discussions I’ve ever participated in. Shelley does not disappoint.
3 Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana by James Madison
I heard of a book signing at the local “Indiana Historical Bureau” (which I previously didn’t even know existed) and I popped downtown after work to check it out, finding a very nice event held at the Indiana State Library. I feared the book would be dry – as non-fiction sometimes can be – but it was really quite good, and I learned a lot about Indiana that I hadn’t known before, even though I’ve spent virtually my whole life here. Note: this book is not about basketball. :-)
2 Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar
The fourth (yea, Me!) non-fiction book on this list. I heard about this one via NPR, which was launching a kind of online book club with this work as the selection. It’s the story about the 33 trapped Chilean miners that was all over the news a few years ago. I actually DID blog about this one too. See here for details.
1 Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglass
Part of my “program” to read local, I learned from Dan Wakefield’s introduction to the Indy Writes Books anthology that this book was written by an Indiana author, so it went on my list. I also knew it was made into a very popular Rock Hudson film back in the day, but I still haven’t watched it. The book can be a little cheesy or naively sweet and optimistic at times, but I liked it anyway and make no apologies. :-) See my post about it here for details.
Well, those are my favorites (so far) for 2015. What are yours? Did YOU do a list for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday?