How about some books?

No, not my books — I pimp those enough, and you know where to get hold of them. How about other people’s books? You all regularly ask me what I’m reading, or what I’d recommend. And it’s been a while since I’ve written a post on my favorite books of the year. So here, in no particular order, are some books I’ve enjoyed this year, and some of my all-time favorites.

Fiction: Some of the excellent books I’ve read this year.

  • City of Thieves, David Benioff
  • A Patent Lie, Paul Goldstein
  • Duma Key, Stephen King
  • The Bone Garden, Tess Gerritsen

Non-fiction: Some all-time favorites.

  • The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe
  • Seabiscuit, Laura Hillebrand
  • Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes

And here’s one I’d love to get for Christmas: The Norman Maclean Reader. I recently heard an interview with one of Maclean’s former students, and I’d forgotten that the author of A River Runs Through It and Young Men and Fire didn’t publish his first book until he was 74. You’re never too old, folks.

How about everybody else? What do you recommend?

14 responses to “How about some books?

  1. I’m glad you mentioned Duma Key. I don’t think the response to it has been great, but I think it and the much-maligned Lisey’s Story are two of his best works.

    Some of the best I’ve read this year (though obviously not all published this year):

    Haruki Murakami: After Dark, Norwegian Wood
    Natsuo Kirino: Real World, Out
    Alice Walker: The Color Purple
    Alice Munro: Lives of Girls and Women
    Tinling Choong: FireWife
    Scott Heim: We Disappear

  2. Here are a few of my favorites that I read this year:

    The Garden of Last Days – Andre Dubus III
    The Reapers – John Connolly
    Death at La Fenice – Donna Leon
    Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait – Violet Bonham Carter
    American Prometheus – Kai Bird & Martin Sherwin
    Case Histories – Kate Atkinson

    Duma Key was also one of my favorite reads of the year.

  3. Best books of the year for me and no I am not “sucking up” are in order:
    1) Kill Chain Meg Gardiner
    2) The Ethical Assassin David Liss
    3) The Hard Way Lee Child
    4) A Dirty Job Christopher Moore
    5) Dead Witch Walking Kim Harrison
    6) Three Bags Full Leonie Swann
    7) The Abduction Mark Giminez
    8) Bad Move Linwood Barclay
    9) Blasphemy Douglas Preston
    10)The Brass Verdict Michael Connelly
    There are more but ten should suffice for today.

  4. Loved “Duma Key” Totally agree with Jonathan

  5. Meg, these are the best books I’ve read this year:

    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
    Emissaries From The Dead by Adam-Troy Castro
    Dreaming In Code by Scott Rosenburg
    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
    War For The Oaks by Emma Bull

    Most of these are SF & fantasy. The Rosenburg is nonfiction about how software development projects often go off the rails, using the Chandler project as its template. It captures why I became a programmer and why I’ve stayed one for 22+ years.

  6. Meg, obviously I re-read all of your books at least 78 trillion times each year and nothing compares to you.

    However, I have managed to read one of two other books that you haven’t penned and the following were my favourites.

    New books
    Duma Key – Stephen King
    Nation – Terry Pratchett
    The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    Re-reads
    Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett
    Loitering with Intent (vol 1&2) – Peter O’Toole
    A Painted House – John Grisham
    Tesla: Man out of Time – Margaret Cheney (I would recommend this to anyone who wants to know who the father of modern technology really is)

  7. In the past few years, I’ve read maybe two books a year (usually the new Dean Koontz and Stephen King). But this past year I’ve been a reading machine. Of course, it started with your new book when I saw you at the book signing in Dayton. Then my daughter introduced me to “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer, and I read all four of those books in the series (three times, too), along with her other book “The Host”. Then I went and purchased all of your paperbacks (on line) and read all of them (got my daughter interested in them, too). Other books I’ve read and enjoyed this year:
    “Dead Until Dark” – Charlaine Harris
    “Interview With the Vampire” – Anne Rice
    “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins
    “A Quick Bite” – Lynsay Sands
    “Duma Key” – Stephen King
    “Odd Hours” – Dean Koontz
    “The Darkest Evening of the Year” – Dean Koontz

    I’m hoping I get a library this Christmas, because I’ve just got so hooked on reading!

    Merry Christmas!

  8. Great choices, and such a variety.

    Stacy, you know how to make an author jump up and down with glee. (And are you missing those California Christmases like I am right now?)

  9. Just getting back on line on a lazy Boxing Day to catch up.

    Couple of books I’ve really enjoyed this year:
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
    The Guernsey Literary and Pototo Peel Pie Society byMary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.

    (Norman Maclean published his first book at 74?? I’m not sure if that’s good news or bad.)

  10. This year has not been the best reading year for me just for the fact I didn’t have a lot of time to do so. But, I agree that Duma Key is one of Stephen King’s best books. Although, I tend to like his nonfiction voice better than his fictional one 9 times out of 10.

    This is a little of what I read that was good.

    Duma Key
    Me Talk Pretty One Day — David Sedaris
    The Last Lecture — Randy Pausch
    Death-a life — George Pendle
    The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death — Charlie Huston
    Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs — Chuck Klosterman

  11. a little behind the times with this comment, but wanted to share nonetheless … oh, and i am picking up “duma key” tonight – after all those endorsements, how could i not?!

    1. anything new that came out from: janet evanovich, meg gardiner, elizabeth george, tess gerritson, sue grafton, faye kellerman, jonathan kellerman, stephenie meyer, robert b parker, anne perry, lisa unger, or minette walters

    2. “lullabies for little criminals” – heather o’neill
    3. “curse of the spellmans” – lisa lutz (extremely humorous sequel to the intensely entertaining “the spellman files”)
    4. “late nights on air” – elizabeth hay
    5. “panic” & “fear” – jeff abbott … who i found here in the comments of your blog (smiles)

    overall, a very good year! assuming i finish the one i am reading now by wednesday night, i will get 100 books in for 2008 (not by plan, that’s just how it went this year) …

  12. Happy New Year, fellow fans of Meg!

    As a high school English teacher, I get to enjoy re-re-re-re-reading Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, Of Mice and Men, The Kite Runner, Things Fall Apart, Bless Me Ultima, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew and Night.

    Since my classes do independent reading, my students introduce me to the latest. My “Twi-hard” female students (and their boyfriends under duress) adore the Twilight series (I quit after the first book — not really entertained by repressed teen sexuality and vampires, although I’ve recently started watching Buffy the Vampire-Slayer on DVD).

    Many nerdy teen boys love Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr. Phillip Pullman’s Victorian Sally Lockhart series (Ruby in the Smoke) is popular also.

    My own reading is more non-fiction than fiction these days — sort of dry, but maybe reflects the times and my love of biographies and history. Besides being a new subscriber to The Economist to try and understand the current mess, I like reading anything by Fareed Zakaria, Thomas Friedman and Anna Quindlen.

    Here are a few of my best reads this year:

    – Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
    – A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (re-read, still hilarious)
    – A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
    – The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
    – East of Eden, John Steinbeck
    – Atonement, Ian McEwan
    – Robert Kennedy biography (can’t remember the author)
    – The Spiral Staircase, A History of God, Karen Armstrong (former nun iconoclast)
    – Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin
    – The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
    – In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
    – Ethics for the New Millenium, the Dalai Lama
    – The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones
    – The Mighty and the Almighty, Madeleine Albright

    P.S. Meg, just before Christmas I saw The Dirty Secrets Club in audiobook form at All Ears, my favorite listening books store in San Jose. The owner looked askance when I squealed! Our family was wondering who decides if an author gets to read his or her own work . . .

    • The first great comment of 2009! Thanks, Chick. And thanks for the squeal.

      I presume that if one is Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep (or Paris Hilton), one is invited to read her own works on audio. If one is the normal author who reads in a mumbling monotone, an actor will be invited to read — win/win all around.

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