Good poem. Nice elocution.
Good poem. Nice elocution.
1. “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich: Likely to be dubbed the Native American “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Erdrich’s moving, complex and surprisingly uplifting new novel tells of a boy’s coming of age in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother.
2. “The Yellow Birds: A Novel” by Kevin Powers: With this compact and emotional debut novel, Iraq War veteran Powers eyes the casual violence of war with a poet’s precision, moving confidently between scenes of blunt atrocity and almost hallucinatory detachment.
3. “Gone Girl: A Novel” by Gillian Flynn: Masterfully plotted from start to finish, the suspense doesn’t waver for one page. It’s one of those books you will feel the need to discuss immediately after finishing. The ending punches you in the gut.
4. “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe: As much an homage to literature as to the mother who shared it with him, Schwalbe’s chronicling of his mother’s death to cancer—they wait, they talk, they read together—is nothing less than captivating.
5. “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel” by Ben Fountain: Debut novelist Fountain follows a squad of marines as they engage in a “victory tour” in the States. Set mostly during halftime at a Dallas Cowboy’s football game, Fountain skillfully illustrates what it’s like to go to war, and how bizarre and disconcerting it can be for these grunts to return from combat to the country they love.
6. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo: This searing portrait of life in a Mumbai slum reads like a novel, but it’s all-too-true. Pulitzer Prize-winner Boo’s writing is superb, and the depth and courage of her reporting from this hidden world is astonishing.
7. “A Hologram for the King” by Dave Eggers: Both disturbing and funny, this novel from onetime wunderkind Eggers shows surprising depth. A man’s wayward attempt to find himself and retake his life delivers him to Saudi Arabia but the journey abroad is also internal, and it ends up saying as much about life in America as in the Middle East.
8. “The Middlesteins: A Novel” by Jami Attenberg: A quick read that’s more complex than it seems at first, this story about a Midwestern Jewish family is both recognizable (sometimes uncomfortably so) and entertainingly idiosyncratic.
9. “Mortality” by Christopher Hitchens: Like the late author himself, this book is funny, smart, entertaining and unflinching to the end. “Mortality” has the power to change ideas that you might have held immutable—which is one of the best things you can say about a book.
10. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green: This soulful novel originally written for teenagers tackles big subjects—life, death, love—with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion.
Have you read any of these books? What did they miss?
Buy any of these books on Amazon here.
The Kansas City Public Library has an exterior that replicates your bookshelf at home on a much larger scale. Very cool. Go visit your library!