So, I keep a google spreadsheet of all the books I read each year, which, I highly recommend, because I love going back and seeing what books I read in 2011 (when I started keeping track). Anyway, the last couple of years, I started incorporating a rating system so that I could look back and remember if I liked a book or not. Here are some of the best and worst that I read last year.
Favorite Fiction Book of the year:
You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes
I should say first off, that I listened to the Audiobook version of this book, which I HIGHLY recommend.
Santino Fontana aka Joe Goldberg
Santino Fontana narrates the book and OHMYGOD he is fantastic. I still hear his voice in my head when I think about the book. His voice IS Joe Goldberg.
ANYWAY, this was a book recommended to me by my friend Melissa, and I read the back of the book a few times and was always like.. Meh. The words and phrases “stalker” and “digital age” scared me off. But then I read Stephen King’s blurb on the book: “hypnotic and scary” and I thought, STEPHEN KING has a blurb. It’s a worth a shot.
IT WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. And Santino’s narration, made me actually LIKE the despicable and crazy Joe Goldberg. It’s terrifyingly erotic. I mean, I kept asking myself… uhhh… should this being having this effect on me? Shouldn’t I be utterly disgusted with Joe? But, I think that’s the beauty of the book and the genius of the writing (and the narration). You can’t help but strangely root for this scumbag and yes… be weirdly turned on by him.
It’s the story of a man who essentially becomes obsessed with a woman and does everything in his power to get her into his life. But, it’s raw and the writing isn’t fluffy and it’s obvious that the writer isn’t trying to write a Dickens novel, but she’s writing a REAL novel about a could be REAL guy and life. I don’t want to spoil anything, but please read this book and do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. You will thank me. (and your significant other will probably thank me, too).
Favorite Non-Fiction Book of the Year:
The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of The Donner Party by Daniel James Brown.
I LOVE non-fiction, and particularly historical non-fiction, but, I am picky as hell about it. I don’t like sweeping tomes of history or even really biographies. I like books about a single event or thing. So, this book was right up my alley. I don’t remember really learning or hearing about Donner Party, so, I was pretty shocked by it.
The book tells the stories of the families that made up the Donner Party who traveled from Missouri to California in 1846. Which… in and of itself would be an interesting read, but throw in all the tragedy, bad luck, and ill-advisement that this group experienced and DAMN, you start thinking about what a soft life we lead.
Totes easy to navigate through with wagons and 12 bazillion feet of snow.
If you are one of the few people in the world (like I was) that don’t know the outcome of this story, I don’t want to say too much to spoil it. But, if you like reading about this time period and you like reading about people struggling and taking risks and about the human spirit, this is a great book for you. I was finishing this book on the way to the Des Moines Marathon and during the race (the worst race of my life), I kept trying to think of the families from the book. And, it was hella inspiring. And of course, now, going to the Sierra Nevadas and hiking part of their trek is on my bucket list.
Anyway, I highly recommend the book. It has a journalistic feel to it, like you’re ready a really long magazine piece (which, is, again my favorite type of non-fiction). (And there are so many cartoons and gifs I could have included, but they give away too much about the story, and if you’re like me, and didn’t know about it, I think the book is better that way. You’re Welcome
Least Favorite Book:
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Sometimes I love this genre, but this book just fell flat for me. I couldn’t wait to finish it. I honestly don’t remember much about it, it was one of the first books I read last year. Apparently I’m in the minority, because it has really good reviews on Amazon, though. So… who knows.
What was your fave and least fave of the year?