Best Books of the Year

As my long-time readers know, each year I take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’ve been doing this since 2013. When I started, I was working at a job with no free time, yet I still read 26 books and listened to 14 audio books. Ever since then, I’ve kept the 40 books as my goal, even though most years I fly past that number.

This year is different. I will barely make it to 40 books, and the ratio is much more heavily leaning towards audio books. You know what? I’m fine with that. So where did my reading time go? To writing and revising my own books. That’s a more than acceptable substitute.

Although I’ve read fewer books this year, many of them were really good. If you are looking for some recommendations, here you go:

I’ll start with the final book in a series I’ve written about a couple of times (here and here and here). It is the MaddAddam series by Margaret Atwood.

MaddAddam

The first two books (Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood) can be read in any order, but MaddAddam only makes sense last. It wraps up the story lines from the other two books in a very cohesive way, while still expanding upon the universe. It also has a delightfully unexpected moment where Ms. Atwood creates a whole backstory for a character named F*ck.

My second choice is also sci fi, but I promise a genre change after this. Like MaddAddam, this book has already appeared in my blog before. It is All our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastal.

All Our Wrong Todays

I could never the top the back of the book description of this novel:

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

That was what drew me in. I was amazed that it lived up to all of that. It was an incredible book. Read it Read it. Read it.

For something completely different, consider The Great Passage by Shion Miura.

The Great Passage

It is a novel about the creation of a dictionary. It had me at hello: It has a socially inept man in love with the origin of words, with the added benefit of being from a Japanese author. It is wonderful.

Unlike the rest of the books on this list, my final book only received four stars from me instead of five, but it was exactly what I needed to be reading when I read it. Consider The Rejected Writers’ Club by Suzanne Kelman.

The Rejected Writers' Club

It is about a group of women in a small town that are all joined by a shared experience – all their books get rejected by publishers. The club, however, is threatened, when the leader receives an acceptance letter. The determined women take a trip to visit the publisher to convince him of the error of his ways. It is a light read, and it was worth every page.

What has everyone else been reading? If you could only recommend one book, what would it be? (If I was asked the same question, my answer would still be Ready, Player One.)

Hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season. Not sure if I’ll post again before the new year, so I wish all of you a healthy and happy 2018.

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