Here is my 2016 reading material with links to the reviews:
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (2013) – 3.5 /5. An intriguing science fiction novel that draws your attention from the very first scenes. Winner of the Arthur C. Clark Award in 2015 and nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction for 2014.
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) – 4.5/5. A very subtle book and one that touches on regret and nostalgia in a phenomenal way. Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989.
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt (2013) – 4/5. A controversial novel. I related with the protagonist, many will not. Long at close to 800 pages. Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Fortune Smiles: Stories – Adam Johnson (2015) – 3/5. A collection that is raw and reverberant with tangible realism. Just not “complete or satisfying” National Book Award Winner for Fiction 2015.
Act One – Moss Hart (1959) – 4.5/5. Its been called the best book ever on the creative process and the best book on American theater. It’s a memoir of a Broadway playwright, but its lessons can apply to almost anyone.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir – Roz Chast (2014) – 3/5. A graphic memoir (comic panels). It’s poignant, humorous at times, and a much-needed and intriguing perspective on a difficult subject – old age and death in your parents.
Working Stiff: Two Years, 262, Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner – Dr. Judy Melinek and Thomas J. Mitchell (2014) – 4/5. A true story of all the deaths that occur and the work of a person who continued to serve the dead and their families. Also includes a powerful and unique perspective from a forensic pathologist who witnessed first hand the events of 9/11.
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Randall Munroe (2014) – 3/5. In a way Munroe is a smart aleck. However, he shows genuine curiosity and a goal to educate and entertain his audience. A much lighter read.
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America – Jill Leovy (2015) – 4/5. For those concerned about race issues and about homicide, this is an enlightening portrayal that I would definitely recommend about black violence in south LA. In light of recent national attention being drawn specifically to police, race and #blacklivesmatter, I found this to be a topical and educational book for the socially aware American.
Deep Dark Down – Hector Tobar (2014) – 4/5. This is a vivid and immediate account of the mining disaster that occured in Chile in 2010. This story is very much a cultural account laced with a historical vibe that speaks to the very nature of the region and specific landscape. Personally, I was truly absorbed and engaged.