Jan 01, 2014
The Top Tens continue! Today's Top Ten is from Meg R. of RCL - New Brighton. She says, "I'm thinking that the following group of top titles all fit into the past calendar year but don't hold me to it." A little poetry, a little essay and a whole lot of fiction fills Meg's list for 2013!
The Fun Stuff and Other Essays by James Wood - I love Mr. Wood's brain and his insights. Whenever I read his criticism I come away with new ways to think. You can't get much better than that.
The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan - Not a new title, but this collection of her poems hit me just right at the beginning of the year. I was looking for these concise nuggets of accessible wisdom.
Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle - I'm not reading that many kids books anymore, but this one wormed its way onto the top ten list because it just made me happy when I read it. I loved the voice and wanted this character to be real.
The Son by Philipp Meyer - Not even sure I liked this one. I definitely didn't like the main character. The setting and western mythologies caught me up, though. I swept through it and it stuck.
NW by Zadie Smith - Zadie Smith makes me want to do mental gymnastics all day. I like her essays the most, but NW made me really think about the way this author takes off from the styles of her literary mentors and uses that to illustrate the difficulty her characters have finding and fitting their own identity.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo - From Zimbabwe to Detroit, the voice of Bulawayo's main character, Darling, is distinctive and true. The imagery in this slim novel is stunning.
Fools by Joan Silber - Linked more by emotion than by characters, these 6 stories tell of the capacity of an individual to change while at the same time be driven by an ideal--a rootedness. We are all fools in the best sense.
City of Thieves by David Benioff - Unforgettable conversations and scenes make up this odyssey of human survival set within and outside of Leningrad during the Nazi blockade.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - A confluence of events and characters as unlikely as a Dickens novel pulls you into this story of aching loss, art and love.
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante - The second in a trilogy translated from Italian, this title explores a complicated friendship in post-war Naples. The emotional nuances and detail of Neopolitan village life are beautifully rendered.