I know, I know. You're wondering what to get me for Christmas. I thought that world peace was a pretty tough order and, while I'd like the gift of confidence in the face of uncertainty, I know it's in short supply. How about something that would be valuable to me but wouldn't cost you a cent? I have the perfect thing: a book recommendation.
In the comments or on the Facebook page, please share a few of the best books you've read. Publication date or reading date don't matter. If it's great, I want to know about it. I want the best of the best.
In return, I will gift to you the best books I've read. As of this moment, I have 206 books on my Goodreads "read" list. I gave 47 of them a 5-star rating.
A 22% 5-star rating sounds high, but my "read" list doesn't include books I started and didn't finish, bringing down the percentage a bit. I rarely read a bad book, because I am selective and choose books recommended by critics or friends. I often give a 4-star rating, but I try to reserve 5 stars for the truly superlative. Here is my list:
1. Tell the Wolves I'm Home - Carol Rifka Brunt
2. Love is a Mix Tape - Rob Sheffield
3. The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate (a children's book, won the Newberry Award)
4. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green (a YA novel, beautiful and brutal)
5. The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach (I lived with these characters for days afterward.)
6. Lit: A Memoir - Mary Karr
7. Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness (witches and vampires, but well-written)
8. Arcadia - Lauren Groff (I didn't care for the end but still gave it 5 stars.)
9. A Discovery of Witches - (First of a trilogy. Book 2 is number 7.)
10. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen
11. Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
12. Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson (My stomach hurt from laughing.)
13. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
14. 11/22/63 - Stephen King (If you aren't a Stephen King fan, try this anyway.)
15. Most of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which begins with The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan (a middle-grade series but great fun)
16. The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home - George Howe Colt
17. The Emperor of All Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee (a thick nonfiction book about cancer that I couldn't put down, which says a lot)
18. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
19. Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay (bring tissues)
20. Manhood for Amateurs - Michael Chabon (essays)
21. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
22. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell (This was the first of his I read. By the third, I was growing tired of his formula, but his books are interesting and good cocktail party fodder.)
23. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
24. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs (hilarious)
25. A Lesson Before Dying - Ernest J. Gaines
26. Wonder - R.J. Palacio (a YA book not to be missed)
27. The Tender Bar - J.R. Moehringer
28. The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
29. The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon (admittedly weird, but damn can he write)
30. Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson
31. On Writing - Stephen King (part memoir, part writing advice)
32. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell (YA with more characters I didn't want to leave)
33. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
34. Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner (possibly my favorite book of all time)
35. Woman: An Intimate Geography - Natalie Angier (nonfiction by a science writer)
36. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott (exactly as the title says)
37. Room - Emma Donoghue
38. Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum
39. How Reading Changed My Life - Anna Quindlen (I've gifted this many times.)
40. Johnny Cash: The Life - Robert Hilburn
41. Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
42. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
43. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character - Paul Tough
44. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court - Jeffrey Toobin (I'm still a law school nerd, if not a lawyer.)
45. Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
46. Thank You For Your Service - David Finkel
47. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
As I look at this list, I see a handful of 4.5-star books, but that wasn't an option. I felt 5 stars when I finished the book, so I'm sticking with it and including them all. Happy holidays. I hope you find something you love.
Now it's your turn. What should I read next?
Today's writing prompt was "The Best Gift You Could Give Me This Christmas." Please follow this link to A Long Run to see what Deanna had to say on the topic and the links at the bottom of her post to see how other bloggers responded.
If you'd like to see any of my Goodreads reviews of these or other books, click here for my Goodreads account.