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favorite books

blue John's favorite books, 2008 - 2016
When a year ends, it time for me to look through my reading journal and pick out my favorites. It's a tough job, but I found that I am up to it. It's always great looking back over all those great books, but not as pleasing to rank them against each others ... this "apple" is better than that "orange". Oh well, here are some shining examples of fine writing, in my opinion. They are listed under FICTION for 2008 through 2015, then NONFICTION, and some SPECIAL STYLING. Enjoy.  

open book  Vicky's favorite books, 2010 - 2011
book John's favorite book of 2017 ... so far

2016 - fiction ... this was easily a great year for short stories for me

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett (short stories)

Half Wild: Stories by Robin MacArthur (short stories)

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate

My Struggle: V5 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

England and Other Stories by Graham Swift (short stories)

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Zero K by Don DeLillo

For a Little While by Rick Bass (short stories)

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

The Blue Guitar by John Banville

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams (short stories)



One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane

Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes by Per Petterson



2015 - fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
The Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Mr. Mac and Me by Esther Freud
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Saints at the River by Ron Rash
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

2014 - fiction

My Struggle (books 1, 2 & 3) by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
Bark by Lorrie Moore
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Search for Heinrich Schlögel by Martha Baillie
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Can't and Won't by Lydia Davis
California by Edan Lepucki
The Son by Philipp Meyer


2013 - fiction

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Goat Mountain by David Vann
Wish You Were Here by Graham Swift
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III

2012 - fiction
Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor
Dirt by David Vann
May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
The Passages of H.M. - A Novel of Herman Melville by Jay Parini
We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen
Big Ray by Michael Kimball
Up Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore
Canada by Richard Ford
Ladies and Gentlemen: Stories by Adam Ross
Stay Awake by Dan Chaon


2011 - fiction

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Beginners by Raymond Carver
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
American Boy by Larry Watson
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt
This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes
The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Light Action in the Caribbean by Barry Lopez


2010 - fiction

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
The Four Fingers of Death by Rick Moody
Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer


Driving on the Rim by Thomas McGuane
Sourland by Joyce Carol Oates
The Creative Collection of American Short Stories by various writers


2009 - fiction

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
My Abandonment by Peter Rock
Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Netherland by Joseph O’Neill
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger



2008 - fiction

Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories by Tobias Wolff
Breath by Tim Winton
Father and Son by Larry Brown
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Larhiri
Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III
The English Major by Jim Harrison
The Other by David Guterson



2016  nonfiction

Guantánamo Diaries by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Give War and Peace a Chance by Andrew Kaufman

Reading for My Life by John Leonard

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

Am I Alone Here: Notes on Living to Read, Reading to Live by Peter Orner

Gilliamesque: A Pre-posthumous Memoir by Terry Gilliam


2015 - nonfiction

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
Bob Dylan: All the Songs by Philippe Margotin & Jean-Michel Guesdon
Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall
How To Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh
Changing the Subject by Sven Birkerts
Mark Twain's Notebooks: Jounals, Letters, Observations, Wit, Wisdom, and Doodles edited by Carlo Devito
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer
One Man Against the World by Tim Weiner



2014 - nonfiction

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Command and Control by Eric Schlosser
Kurt Vonnegut Letters edited by Dan Wakefield
The Unwinding by George Packer
Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz
Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement


2013 - nonfiction

Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House Farrar Straus & Giroux by Boris Kachka
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges & Bernie Glassman
How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields
Remarkable Reads edited by J. Peder Zane
Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace
Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John Thompson


2012 - nonfiction

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan
Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo & Robert Llewellyn
We Wanted To Be Writers: Life, Love and Literature at the Iowa Writers' Workshop by Eric Olsen & Glenn Schaeffer
My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop edited by Ronald Rice
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
The Way the World Works by Nicholson Baker


2011 - nonfiction

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Small Memories: A Memoir by Jose Saramago
And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields
Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited by Jonathan Yardley
Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution by Richard Beeman
Nixonland by Rick Perlstein
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton
Revolutionaries by Jack Rakove


2010 - nonfiction

Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III  
Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010 by Greil Marcus
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tora Bailey  
The Typewriter is Holy by Bill Morgan  
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett  
Mark Twain: Man in White by Michael Shelden  
Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich  
At Home by Bill Bryson   
Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About... by Peter Heller


2009 - nonfiction

The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Socialism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Newman
A Terrible Splendor by Marshall Jon Fisher
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley
Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson
Somewhere Near the End by Diana Athill


2008 - nonfiction

Moyers on Democracy by Bill Moyers
The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman

The Post-American Worls by Fareed Zakaria
The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich
Books by Larry McMurty
Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution by Mark Puls
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard


  special SPECIAL STYLING - there was just a little something extra in the design of these books

2016 - special stylng
Aquarium by David Vann
by Ted Rall

Gilliamesque: A Pre-posthumous Memoir by Terry Gilliam
by Leo Tolstoy (older slip-cased edition)
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
by George Saunders & illustrated by Lane Smith 

2015 special styling

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer
The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro
Daydreams for Night - John Southworth
How to Sit - Thich Nhat Hanh
Mark Twain's Notebooks edited by Carlo De Veto


2014  special styling

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami
Heart of Darkness
by Robert Conrad
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami