Friday, December 30, 2016

2016's Best Books

It's the end of the year and I have enjoyed a wide variety of books. I decided to pick the best and highlight them in a list.

The Indies

Mirth Defects
Clint Forgy
My absolute favorite book of the year. J.D. Ferguson is a hard drinking, hard loving kind of guy and this book tells his back story. Funny, irreverent and sometimes tender, it entertained from start to finish. 

My Children's Legacy 
Clementine Rhodes
Interesting biography about an 'ordinary woman" who decided to record her life for her children. I couldn't put this slice of American down. Fascinating insight into the everyday life of a girl brought up in rural Texas. Reminded me a bit of The Glass Castle.

Old Pops' Last Beer
Dwayne Fry
Great little short story about a beer dive and the people who drink there. Short and lyrical, I raced through it wanted to learn more about his fully developed characters.

The Seduction of Granny
Clint Forgy
The continuation of my favorite rascal, J. D. Ferguson. This is the backstory to his eight marriages and how he finally snagged the one that got away. Don't let this fantastic read get away from you either.

Austism: A Noah City Short Story
Dwayne Fry
A family comes to life in the short story, their hopes, dreams and insecurities so accurately portrayed. Fry creates an entire world in a few short pages that will suck you in and not let go.

Oldies but Goodies

The entire Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling

Read this every night from February to September with my oldest grandson.  I never expected to enjoy it as much as he did and will admit I cried a bit when we closed the last book. Enchanting, captivating and much deeper if you look, Rowling is a master storyteller that created a creditable world from the fantastical idea of a school for wizards.
Roots The Saga of an American Family
Alex Haley
My brother listened to it on audio and told me how much he was enjoying the story of Haley's ancestors. I loved it as well. Compelling and sometimes brutal, it was a fascinating history of Haley's family. I especially loved Kunte Kinte's boyhood in Africa. Unforgettable.


Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville :A True Romance

Amy Licence
Nobody writes history like Amy Licence. She weaves a beautiful story about the courtship and marriage of Edward of York and the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville. A deeply wonderful way to read history.

Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe
Sarah Gristwood

A smorgasbord of powerful women from the sixteenth-century who shaped the world. Take a trip through Europe and watch the world develop thought the smart women who knew how to influence the right people.

The Vatican Princess:A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia
C.W. Gortner

Very human treatment about the Borgia family, author Gortner detangles the complex history of both the Vatican and Italy to explain the impact of this notorious family. Fraught with intrigue, dirty politics, and incest, The Vatican Princess offers an insiders look as to Gortner perceptions of the Borgias and the reign of terror

Popular fiction

The Forgetting Time
Sharon Guskin
Compelling and well-written story about a four year old boy who can inexplicably recall a former life. Janie Zimmerman is a single mother trying t raise her difficult son. Unputdownable.

The Widow
Fiona Barton
Excellent book, way more believable than Gone Girl about a woman stuck in a situation leaving the reader to wonder if she was the victim or architect of her nightmare.
Hanging Mary- A Novel
Susan Higginbottom

The back story to Mary Surrat, the woman convicted and hanged as John Wilkes Booths  accomplice in the assignation of Lincoln. Higginbothom fills in the ghosty outlines giving them human substance. I never gave Mary more than a passing thought as a scheming villain when I read about her in history. Susan Higginbottom's Mary becomes another hapless victim swept up in the war that rent families as well as the country.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman