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For me, a shorter list, but this year seemed to bring clunkier books. Quite a life. He escaped, made his way to the U. Appointed the acting governor of the Montana Territory after the war, he disappeared overboard from a river boat under mysterious circumstances after resisting the land barons who controlled Montana. Beautifully written.

The editors of the OED encouraged people to send in suggestions for words that should be included, with both their linguistic derivation and sample usages to trace the various meanings of words. One of these volunteers, Dr. After years of being put off from a thank-you visit to his mysterious contributor, Murray insisted and traveled into the English countryside, only to find that Dr. Minor, an American Civil War surgeon, had been held for more than 20 years in a mental hospital for the criminally insane, after a murder in London.


The first is titled An Expert in Murder. There are seven so far. They are set between the first and second world wars and do a wonderful, moody description of the consequences of the wars in British society. The plotting is good. The characters are excellent. Well-written and enjoyable. Broad Band by Claire Evans. This is a fascinating and sometimes infuriating history of the role women played in the development of the internet and the reason for their erasure from most histories of the technology.

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If you liked Hidden Figures , you will like this. Pacific Crucible by Ian W. I knew next to nothing of the activist Pauli Murray, and so deepened my knowledge of her plus witnessed the remarkable relationship between these two important women of the last century. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. A historical fiction, light on historic depth, of 20th-century Russia told through the life and relationships of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is under house arrest in the Metropol hotel right across from the Kremlin.

Insightful, witty storytelling. Well-written suspense thriller stories investigated by a black Texas Ranger. The chapters are written almost like short stories, each focusing on another individual representing a generation of one or the other of two branches of the same family tree. Heartbreaking from Page 1, yet witty and utterly masterful writing.

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Five hundred and eighty pages, but it ended too soon. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This book left me breathless with each page turn. Also, everyone has a past, and everyone has a story. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This book takes effort. It follows four male college classmates as they make their way into a post-college world, sustained by ambition and their friendships with each other, while navigating the uncertainty of middle age and coming to terms with the past.

It spans decades of up and downs, becoming darker as truths and horrors are revealed. What makes this book so worth reading is the incredible writing, the way the author touches so brilliantly on themes of race, religion, addiction, abuse, and suffering. This is not a light read, but is well-worth the journey.

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This was a dark and twisty delight! Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Deeply engrossing, this novel spans several generations of a Korean family living in Japan at a time when prejudicial tendencies reigned supreme. The first is about an exiled Russian count who is a charming, witty character.

Towles uses enchanting language to describe the surroundings, the meals, and every happenstance meeting with those the Count comes in contact with at a famed Russian hotel. The second is New York City in all its glittery glitzy splendor of the s, with its upper-crust societies and colorful characters. Eleanor struggles with the basics of appropriate social skills and tends to have no filtered thoughts. Her perfectly structured life is disrupted when she finds herself the other half of a duo saving an elderly man from collapsing outside her office. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. The book is peppered with sharp recollections of poverty, told with humor and a realist view of its legacy.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu.

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As group members fall, one by one, the remaining party members are plagued by the feeling that they are being stalked by something more than just winter and hunger. The Emigrants by W. I cannot recommend this, or any of his novels, highly enough. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. A zoologist specializing in wolf recovery is hired by a wealthy earl to introduce wolves to his estate in northern England.

The experiment is accompanied by complicated personal relationships and devious plots against the venture, ending in a surprising outcome involving a Scotland that has successfully seceded from the United Kingdom.

The Dry by Jane Harper. The apparent murder-suicide of his best childhood friend and his family is not as straightforward as it appears. Over all the drama looms the influence of the worst drought in a century, intense heat making tempers short and conditions dangerous. Artemis , the newly released novel by Andy Weir, author of The Martian. It was a fun read. I could envision this one being made into a movie. The author creates a wonderful tapestry of current and previous experiences of the main characters that kept me engrossed in the story while traveling to and from New Zealand earlier this year.

A coming-of-age story of a gay man in Ireland, this novel was hilarious, touching, and memorable.


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I tip my hat to Ali Keegan, who recommended it. A family memoir about untouchables in India. This book will make you laugh out loud and will also provide a sobering look at how the U. Provides hilarious perspective on North American relationships with nature. Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala. This incredible novel is a mixture of genres: gay coming-out story, immigrant narrative, and coming of age as a male Nigerian American and a female white American.

I loved her in Girl Trip , so I immediately decided to read her memoir. Okay, I confess, I listened to it on Audible because she was narrating it. I have to say it was a hoot-and-a-half. Haddish is a natural raconteur and I was constantly laughing out loud. Haddish is all that! What a beautiful voice she had!

This sounds like my perfect summer read: Paris in the s, glamorous models, Josephine Baker, and Liza Minnelli. Who could ask for more? Boy With Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis. Counternarratives by John Keene. It recently won an American Book Award. This was by far my favorite book this year. The book tracks his adventures and misadventures while revealing life on a frontier of the Empire just as frustration with King George is gaining steam.

What are the social norms in a new place? How is New York similar to and different from London?

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When you are secretive yourself, whom do you trust? Speaking of whom one should trust, not this guy! A pedigreed English public-schooler groomed for the spy world of MI6 was a Communist early on in his career and for decades managed to spy for the Soviets, unbeknownst to his wife, school friends, and spying colleagues. His social trappings, affable humor, and fun boozy parties shielded him from discovery, at great cost to the agents he outed. What a liar! And people kept trusting him. An interesting view into several decades of Cold war history. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan.

This novel follows a woman at work — as a diver in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Again, some double-crossing is involved. I read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders this year. This past year, I marinated in mysteries, mostly. In addition to these, I did read a few books that are worthy of note.