Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

I can’t afford to buy books and almost never buy fiction because I never re-read it. BUT, I am a life-long, semi-weekly borrower from public libraries and frequently request purchases, which they often honor, so I do my part.

I used to read upwards of 8 books a week, plus magazines, newspapers and other materials; more when I was getting my Master’s and doctorate degrees. But, after not reading at all during my first 6-week meditation retreat, other than assigned excerpts from the Buddhist text our teacher was using, I lost the habit. For a while, I didn’t read much fiction at all and mostly read short articles or Buddhist non-fiction.

In the early 2000s, I gradually began to read fiction, but I no longer read a lot of it and often do not finish books. I have no interest in or patience with stories whose plot or characters I do not care about, or those that display bad writing or poor editing (FAR too many, even from trad publishing houses).

Also, I mostly don’t care about the topics that many authors and publishers are obsessed with: too much violence, too many billionaires seducing women, etc. Life is already too dystopian for me to want to read “for pleasure” most stories of disasters, diseases, dysfunction and/or defeat. Furthermore, I am refusing to read any more addiction pseudo-bios, cancer or other “survival” or “elegant death” scenarios (lost too many friends and relatives to those already), chronic illness depictions (same), “can’t have a baby” stories, adultery fantasies, or glamorizations/gritty details of endless wars (look around!). I also won’t pick up a series anywhere but the beginning, so mid-series installments of series I haven’t read are out.

I won’t even pick up, much less read, many of the books listed on the original pages of Bookish.com‘s site. Therefore, the abbreviated list I am sharing, here, has books I do plan to read. But, recognizing many readers do not share my limited tastes, I’m including the links to each category’s page so you can make your own choices. There are many other lists, too, so look around.

What’s on YOUR “To-Read” list? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post!
LINK to Bookish.com main page of lists: https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-2017/

The following suggestions and review snippets are mostly gleaned (I add others, too) from the lists compiled by Bookish.com and are in categories of their design with which I do not always agree and from which some are missing (e.g., historical fiction, graphic novels and short stories are combined with Fiction; some novels whose main character is a teen are NOT listed in either category of YA; there are no art books; there are no Indie authors), but here they are.

FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-fiction-2017/

I mostly do not read “modern” fiction, any more. So, only one of these made my list:
1) Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (already the recipient of one Pulitzer Prize)
The main character is “Anna Kerrigan, a child living in New York City in the 1930s” whose “father disappears…. [Y]ears later when she encounters an old business acquaintance of her father’s…she more fully comprehends what his life must have been like.” (quotes are from the review on Bookish.com)
Available October 3, 2017

NON-FICTION
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-nonfiction-books-2017/

I like books about many science topics, Buddhism and a few other non-fiction subjects, so I was hoping some new books would capture my attention. Alas, none did, from THIS list.

I am looking forward to the next books from Mishio Kaku, though, or Brian Green, Lisa Randall and other quantum physicists/futurists, so I’ll keep you posted on those!

Meanwhile, check out this list of new #physics books, from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA USA): http://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175935&p=1158686, where I found this gem:

2) Quantum Weirdness, by William J. Mullin
Apparently, this book “focuses on some of the more bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics.” He begins with a discussion of “classical waves,” then goes right into the “latest ideas and experiments , e.g., quantum Bayesianism, weak measurements.” He tries to make it accessible to those of us without doctorates in physics, since he “uses basic high-school mathematics (algebra and trigonometry) to explain quantum mechanics”and employs a “gradual build-up of concepts” (quotes are from the book’s blurb).
Available now (September, 2017).

MYSTERIES/THRILLERS
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-mysteries-thrillers-2017/

I don’t read most “thrillers” (too violent or stressful for me), but I do like bloodless mysteries, especially with female protagonists who are smart, courageous, witty and quirky. Some romance is also all right in these books, for me.

I also used to be a John le Carré fan and heard an interview recently on NPR with him about this new book, so it’s now on my list. I may skip some parts, but will probably read it.

3) A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré
His often-used main character, George Smiley, appears in this novel, for the first time in 25 years. “Smiley works with the British Secret Service (or Circus, as some call it). Smiley calls a retired member of the Circus, Peter Guillam, when the specter of Guillam’s past involvement in the Cold War resurfaces” (quotes from Bookish.com’s review). Apparently, le Carré brings in many familiar characters from previous works, so it could be fun for long-time fans.
Available now (September, 2017)

YA/SCI-FI/FANTASY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-fantasy-science-fiction-2017/

4) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman
How fun! A prequel to His Dark Materials, set in the same world!
“Set ten years before The Golden Compass, this new trilogy will explore how Lyra Belacqua came to live at Jordan College. The tale begins with an 11-year-old boy named Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta. Malcolm is living with his parents near Oxford when he hears that the nuns in Godstow Priory are housing a baby, and he decides to take his boat, La Belle Sauvage, across the Thames to investigate” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available October 19, 2017

YA CONTEMPORARY
https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-young-adult-2017/

5) Moxie, by Jennifer Matthieu
This sounds fun. Love the title, too. This could have been my biography, if I had been born 50 years later than I was!
“Vivian Carter never thought she’d be the leader of a movement. She’s always preferred to sit back and go unnoticed, but one day something within her snaps and she decides to take action. Drawing from her mom’s Riot Grrrl zines of the 90s, Viv creates Moxie, an anonymous zine that she begins to distribute around her school, calling out her school’s sexist dress code and preferential treatment of football players. Soon Moxie becomes a movement and begins connecting girls from diverse cliques and backgrounds” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available September 19, 2017


Read any of these or want to recommend others, especially those from Indie/Self-Published authors? PLEASE read my standards before making suggestions; then, please send them along to the comments section of this post: http://www.sallyember.com/blog, post from September 12, 2017. Thanks!


Also, check out the three ebooks and POD paperbacks in my sci-fi/romance series for YA/NA and adults, The Spanners Series: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners First ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.

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“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

I present only the lists, here, with titles and authors for fiction and a brief categorization for nonfiction. Go to the links to read each reviewer’s summary and opinions of each entry, below. I also present a few alternative lists and authors, just so you know some of what else is out there.

Read! Enjoy! Buy/borrow books! Write reviews!

(NOTE: PASTE also provides the 30 best cookbooks, 18 documentaries about writers, and more at http://www.pastemagazine.com/books )


30 Best Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[20 of 30 are male. Sigh.]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-fiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 16, 2015
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
2. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
3. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
4. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
6. The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
7. The First Bad Man by Miranda July (short story collection)
8. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano
9. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
10. Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine
11. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
12. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (short story collection)
13. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
14. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
15. The Incarnations by Susan Barker
16. The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
17. Sweetland by Michael Crummey
18. Suitcase City by Sterling Watson
19. Submission by Michel Houellebecq
20. Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
21. The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
22. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
23. The Rocks by Peter Nichols
24. Girl at War by Sara Nović
25. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
26. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (short story collection)
27. Golden State by Stephanie Kegan
28. Morte by Robert Repino
29. A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
30. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Here are some other fiction lists “best of 2015” from different perspectives, which I appreciate enormously. Please go peruse these annotated lists at the links provided, below, to pick from each a few to read yourself! Ask your local library and bookstores to carry your favorites! Write reviews!

—-

“Top 10 Feminist Books of 2015” 12/23/15 by Kitty Lindsay from Ms. Magazine
Has a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction with titles almost no one else lists (big surprise), with several written by some of feminism’s iconic leaders and award-winning authors (even has two male authors!), including:
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Autobiography; poetry) (a re-issue from 1969, commemorating her passing in 2015)
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Fiction; short story collection)
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Memoir)
Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey (Non-Fiction)
How To Grow Up by Michelle Tea (Memoir)
Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy (Non-Fiction)
Octavia’s Brood: Science-Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements Edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (Science-Fiction Anthology; including authors Tananarive Due, LeVar Burton, Terry Bisson and essayists, activists, artists, filmmakers, journalists) ALSO, editor adrienne maree brown, “an independent science-fiction scholar and a social justice activist, has been chosen as the 2015-16 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellow. Brown lives in Detroit, Michigan…. The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship, now in its third year, is sponsored equally by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. The award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library”; AND editor, Walidah Imarisha wins the Tiptree Award (named for feminist female author who wrote under the name “James Tiptree, Jr.,” in order to get published in the sci-fi world as a woman) and cash prize for 2015!
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)
Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism by David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon (Non-Fiction)
http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/12/23/your-holiday-reading-list-top-10-feminist-books-of-2015/

AND another “best of” list from Ms. Magazine: “15 Women Writers Every Badass Woman Should Read” by E. CE Miller on 12/14/15
Ths list includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and cross-genre feminist authors, some of whom appear on other lists, here, but several who do not. Enjoy!
http://www.bustle.com/articles/128770-15-women-writers-every-badass-woman-should-read

—-“55 Best Indie [Self-Published] Books of 2015,” 12/2/15, from Indie Reader‘s year of reviews. Their lists are divided into subgenres of fiction, including: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Inspirational, Kids, Literary, Mystery/Thriller, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult (YA). They also have nonfiction (which includes poetry) in a separate list.
http://indiereader.com/2015/12/56-best-reviewed-self-pubbed-books-2015/

What’s fun about this self-pubbed list is that I am “friends” with one of the authors on social media sites! Mazel Tov to D. Hart St. Martin (Blooded, in YA).

AND, I now have an entirely new list of authors to invite to my online video talk show for 2016, CHANGES conversations between authors (see https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ for past and upcoming shows and details about how to watch an Episode or how to be on one.

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

I resume my almost-weekly Wednesdays at 10 AM Eastern USA time one-hour live format on January 20 with returning guest, author John Howell.

Three other fiction lists:

—-“My Favorite African Science-Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015″ by Wole Talabi, 11/28/15 https://wtalabi.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/my-favorite-african-science-fiction-and-fantasy-sff-short-fiction-of-2015/

AND

—-“Best Books 2015: Genre Fiction” on the Library Journal Reviews page, has several genres (African-American, Christian, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers, Women’s Fiction and Science-Fiction/Fantasy).
http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2015/11/best-of/best-books-2015-genre-fiction/

The African-American Fiction list by Rollie Welch includes:
Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Caught Up by Shannon Holmes
Playing for Keeps by Deborah Fletcher Mello
Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray
Stone Cold Liar: The Misadventures of Mink LaRue by Noire

The Science-Fiction/Fantasy Fiction list by Megan M. McArdle & Jessica E. Moyer includes Water Knife (see Paste‘s list), and:
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
Uprooted by Naomi Novi
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

AND

—-Entropy mag‘s “Best of 2015 Fiction Books” from 12/8/15 includes only one or two that overlap Paste’s list and is a much more multicultural/global (includes several translated-into-English novels) and fascinating group of 50 titles, plus one “Honorable Mention.”
http://entropymag.org/best-of-2015-best-fiction-books/

AND

—-Let’s get political, please! Here are lists created by The Guardian and The Observer‘s reviewers, which they endearingly call “2015’s master list” of books, from 12/11/15, subdivided into: Fiction [Thrillers, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Children’s, Graphic Novels (no one else remembered these, apparently!)]; non-Fiction [Sports, Food, Drink, two lists for Biographies, History, Nature, Politics, Music, Poetry, Architecture, Art, Photography, Science, Celebrity Memoirs]; and a few groups by odd categories [Paperbacks, Stocking-fillers (size-related? cost-related?), Novels].
http://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2015/dec/11/all-of-the-best-books-of-2015

You can also go cruise on Google for other “best of 2015” fiction lists, such as those from or by Small Presses, Independent Publishers, more Indie/ Self-Pubbed authors, Debuts, Flash Fiction, and on and on. Have fun! https://goo.gl/itQw0i

AND

—-Brain Pickings has several “best of 2015” lists. Here are links to two of them (Children’s, list of lists and All Books):
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/15/best-childrens-books-2015/
http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=13eb080d8a315477042e0d5b1&id=60eab78aa3&mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/21/best-books-2015/?mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925


Also from PASTE:

30 Best Young Adult (YA) Fiction of 2015
[only 4 male out of 30 writers here…hmmmm…]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-best-ya-books-of-2015-1.html
By Eric Smith | December 10, 2015
1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
3. Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett
4. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
5. Joyride by Anna Banks
6. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
9. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
10. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
11. Winter by Marissa Meyer
12. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
13. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
14. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
15. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
16. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
17. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
18. Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
19. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
20. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
21. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
22. Those Girls by Lauren Saft
23. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
24. Tracked by Jenny Martin
25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
26. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
27. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
28. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
29. For the Record by Charlotte Huang
30. Half Wild by Sally Green

—-How about a YA list of the best of 2015 from the United Kingdom? 12/15/15 from Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of The Telegraph, Rebecca Hawkes and other reviewers/ contributors, offers 45 titles in this genre, with a few overlapping from the above list.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/young-adult-books/best-of-2015/

AND

—-Bustle‘s YA best fiction list from 12/10/15, Caitlin White
http://www.bustle.com/articles/116096-the-25-best-ya-books-of-2015

AND

—-Pop Crush‘s 10 best YA from 2015 posted on 12/7/15 by Emily Maas, here:
http://popcrush.com/10-best-young-adult-books-2015/

AND

My favorite, from an fantastic site that promotes excellence in girls and young women with daily info posts (subscribe!), MIGHTY GIRL, offers: “Top Read-Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls,” which gives you and your favorite child a lot of choices for spending time together. Become and share being inspired by the amazing achievements, courage, insight, smarts and talent of these MIGHTY girls and women! This site also reviews TV/films (by category), toys (by category, type and ages), music ((by category) and clothing. MIGHTY GIRL also provides an incredible list that they call their “Character Collection,” which you have to peruse, their “Best of…” lists of almost everything, and offers resources to educators and parents.

If you’re (your girls are) really into reading, join the MIGHTY GIRL Book Club!

There are 172 books on this list. Some are for younger, some are for older, many are for all ages. These books are selected from several decades and countries, but all are available in English (although many have been translated into several other languages and you can find those versions easily).

The left menu bar lets you sort the list by target age (88 are for younger and 73 are for teens), award-winners (National Book—12, literature [Newbery—39], civil rights [Coretta Scott King—2], Parents’ Choice—15, and others), and price (free to under $20, and over $20 [only 2], but don’t forget: most are in local libraries as well).

Many of the older books have been turned into films, TV specials and series, so you can share the stories together aloud, then go watch some on screen together.
http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/top-read-alouds


30 Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[18 male authors for 17 of the books; a bit more balanced, gender-wise, here]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-nonfiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 23, 2015
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates—memoir/current events
2. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein—music history/memoir
3. M Train by Patti Smith–memoir
4. Red Notice by Bill Browder—biography/social commentary/current events
5. Missoula by Jon Krakauer—social commentary/current events
6. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper—music criticism collection
7. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell—history
8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari—social commentary
9. The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander—memoir
10. Dead Wake by Erik Larson—history
11. One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad—biography/social commentary/current events
12. The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret—radio journalist’s collection
13. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck—memoir/history
14. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson—memoir
15. Country Soul by Charles L. Hughes—history
16. Dime Stories by Tony Fitzpatrick—print journalist’s collection
17. We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War by Doug Bradley and Craig Werner—history
18. On the Move by Oliver Sacks—memoir
19. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello—autobiography
20. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough—biographies
21. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery—about octupi
22. Once in a Great City by David Maraniss—history
23. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson—poetry, philosophy, criticism, memoir
24. Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt—memoir
25. Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull—history
26. Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso—essays/opinions
27. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon—autobiography, of Sonic Youth founder/member
28. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits—memoir
29. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald—about hawks
30. Gumption by Nick Offerman—profiles of 21 individuals

—-In case you want another set of opinions about Non-Fiction (but they duplicate many of Paste‘s), here you go:
EarlyWord‘s Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from 12/8/15
http://www.earlyword.com/2015/12/08/best-books-nonfiction-2015/

—-Also, several more lists from EarlyWord: http://www.earlyword.com/category/best-books-2015/


—-For those of you who haven’t caught up with your reading and don’t much care about being trendy or up-to-date but keep looking for good books to read, try this list from 5/22/15, by Nina Bashaur, posted on HuffPost Women:
“21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read” (but I would say every PERSON…).
[Oh, oh: I’ve only picked up 5 of these and actually read only 3. Sigh.]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/19/recent-books-women-should-read_n_7314166.html

buy-books-and-feel-good