The Books of 2017

So many books, so little time—part 11.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the 11th year we’ve done this.

My favorite books of 2017 were probably The Mothers, by Britt Bennett; Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Commonwealth by Ann Patchett; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Jesse Andrews
Home Again Kristin Hannah
The Bookseller Cynthia Swanson
Leave Me Gayle Forman
Suite 606 J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas
The Mothers Britt Bennett
Big Girl Panties Stephanie Evanovich
The Wangs Vs. the World Jade Chang
The Nest Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
The Housewife Assassin’s Deadly Dossier Josie Brown
I Was Here Gayle Forman
Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick
There Goes the Bride Holly McQueen
Ship of Brides Jojo Moyes
The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead
Swift as Desire Laura Esquivel
Confetti Confidential Holly McQueen
The Weekenders Mary Kay Andrews
When I’m Gone Emily Bleeker
First Comes Love Emily Giffin
Three Wishes Liane Moriarty
Truly Madly Guilty Liane Moriarty
Save the Date Jen Doll
The Year of Voting Dangerously Maureen Dowd
Everybody’s Fool Richard Russo
Where She Went Gayle Forman
Two by Two Nicolas Sparks
Talking as Fast as I Can Lauren Graham
Unrivaled Alyson Noel
Nothing That is Ours DJ Palladino
Fangirl Rainbow Rowell
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
What Light Jay Asher
If Not For You Debbie Macomber
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Who Asked You? Terry McMillan
Connect the Stars Marisa de Los santos & David Teague
The Knockoff Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
44 Cranberry Point Debbie Macomber
From Notting Hill to Love Actually Ali McNamara
The Postmistress Sarah Blake
You’ll Grow Out Of It Jesi Klein
The Awkward Age Francesca Segal
Queen Takes King Gigi Levangie Grazer
Into the Woods Tana French
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine Gail Honeyman
Bright Precious Days Jay McInerney
Being Mortal Atul Gawande
The Hynotist’s Love Story Liane Moriarty
Boys in the Trees Carly Simon
The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon
American Housewife Helen Ellis
Prejudice & Pride Rachel Anderson
The Bookshop on the Corner Rebecca Raisin
All the Bright Places Jennifer Niven
A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend Felicity Huffman & Patricia Wolff
The Girlfriend Curse Valerie Frankel
The Divorce Papers Susan Rieger
The After Party Anton DiSclafani
The Worst Day of My Life So Far M.A. Harper
It’s Always the Husband Michele Campbell
The Girl in the Spider’s Web David Lagercrantz
Commonwealth Ann Patchett
Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Jenny Han
The Jane Austen Project Kathleen A. Flynn
The Great Escape Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Grown Up Gillian Flynn
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen Syrie James
We’ll Always Have Summer Jenny Han
The Sunshine Sisters Jane Green
The Time of My Life: A Novel Cecilia Ahern
The View From the Cheap Seats Neil Gaiman
What Happened Hillary Rodham Clinton
My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante
Winter Storms Elin Hilderbrand
Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
What She Knew Gilly MacMillan
Irish Eyes Mary Kay Andrews
Carry On Rainbow Rowell

The Books of 2016

So many books, so little time—part ten.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the tenth year we’ve done this.

My favorite books of 2016 were probably You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, a mystery-thriller set in the world of women’s gymnastics; Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave, set in the world of wine-making; Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, which is about the restaurant business; Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes, a terrific collection of shot stories; and The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, who also wrote Fates and Furies, one of my favorite books I read last year.  

As usual, I tend to find an author I like and then read anything I can get my hands on. I adored Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple so much that I also read her two other novels, Today Will be Different (in development as a TV series with Julia Roberts) and This One is Mine, both of which I liked but didn’t LOVE the way I did Bernadette.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake Anna Quindlen
Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
Boys & Girls Together William Goldman
Fun Home Allison Bechdel
Precious Gifts Danielle Steel
23 Degrees South Neal Rabin
Last One Home Debbie Macomber
Feel This Ben Stiller & Janeane Garofalo
A Whole New Light Sandra Brown
All Fall Down Jennifer Weiner
The Children Act Ian McEwan
Purity Jonathan Franzen
Crooked Little Lies Barbara Taylor Sissel
The Rumor Elin Hildebrand
The Truth About Alice Jennifer Mathieu
Girl Tripping Gina Iamanna
Everything’s Relative Jenna McCarthy
The Clasp Sloane Crosley
The Guestbook Andrea Hurst
The Art of Peeling an Orange Victoria Avilan
What Alice Forgot Liane Moriarty
Bettyville George Hodgman
Between the Lines Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Miss Adventure Geralyn Corcillo
Who Do You Love? Jennifer Weiner
Girl Waits With Gun Amy Stewart
The Tender Bar J.R. Moehringer
The Monsters of Templeton Lauren Groff
Connect the Stars Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
Barbara the Slut and Other People Lauren Holmes
The Moon and More Sarah Dessen
The Apartment Danielle Steel
Dead of Night J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan and Mary Kay McComas
The Swans of Fifth Avenue Melanie Benjamin
Lizzie Bennett Diaries Bernie Su and Kate Noble
The List Siobhan Vivan
One Plus One JoJo Moyes
Nora Roberts Land Miles Ava
Windfallen JoJo Moyes
Dear Mr. You Mary Louise Parker
The Sleuth Sisters Maggie Pill
Fireside Susan Wiggs
Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler
Tiny Pretty Things Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
My Favorite Husband Pam McCutcheon
The Fixer Upper Mary Kay Andrews
The Inn at Rose Harbor Debbie Macomber
I Was Told There Would be Cake Sloane Crosley
A Girl’s Guide to Moving on Debbie Macomber
Drinking Closer to Home Jessica Anya Blau
Identical Scott Turrow
If I Stay Gayle Forman
Euphoria Lily King
Eight Hundred Grapes Laura Dave
In the Unlikely Event Judy Blume
Remembrance Meg Cabot
Innocents & Others: A Novel Dana Spiotta
Calling Invisible Women Jeanne Ray
Royal Wedding Meg Cabot
Eligible Curtis Sittenfeld
The Man of the House Stephen McCauley
Be Frank With Me Julia Claiborne Johnson
Fallen in Love Lauren Kate
Four of a Kind Valerie Frankel
The Bridge Ladies Betsy Lerner
The Goodbye Quilt Susan Wiggs
French Roast Ava Miles
Behind Closed Doors B.A. Paris
Heat & Light Jennifer Haigh
The Grand Opening Ava Miles
Paris for One & Other Stories JoJo Moyes
My Kind of Perfect Hannah Ellis
Heroes Have Always Been My Weakness Susan Elizabeth Phillips
You Will Know Me Megan Abbott
The History of Love Nicole Krauss
Today Will Be Different Maria Semple
This One is Mine Maria Semple

The Books of 2015

Fates and Furies coverSo many books, so little time—part nine.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the ninth year we’ve done this.

My favorite books of 2015 were probably The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (which incidentally, won the Pulitzer Prize), Girl on a Train, by Paula Hawkins, and Fates and Furiesby Lauren Groff—all of which are widely-praised fiction, so nothing too original in my suggestions for this year, unfortunately. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but I did really enjoy Quiet (about introverts) by Susan Cain and I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

2015 Book List
title author first author last
Amber Beach Elizabeth Lowell
Pegasus Danielle Steel
A Grown Up Kind of Pretty Joshilyn Jackson
Love Anthony Lisa Genova
Shopaholic to the Stars Sophie Kinsella
Small Victories Anne Lamott
The Quality of Life Report Megham Daum
The Best of Us Sarah Pekkanen
Delicious Ruth Reichel
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: 60 Endings, 2 Happily Ever Afters Tara Lee Reed
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion
The Heiresses Sara Shepherd
Yes Please Amy Poehler
Sweet Salt Air Barbara Delinsky
Then Came You Jennifer Weiner
The Last Anniversary Liane Moriarty
The Last Letter From Your Lover JoJo Moyes
14 Peter Cline
Night Road Kristin Hannah
Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver
Lift Kelly Corrigan
Family Ties Danielle Steel
Lock and Key Sarah Dessen
Littlebee Chris Cleave
The American Heiress Daisy Goodwin
Big Little Lies Liane Moriarty
Spring Fever Mary Kay Andrews
Julie and Romeo: A Novel Jeanne Ray
Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty Diane Keaton
The Rosie Effect Graeme Simsion
Laura Rider’s Masterpiece Jane Hamilton
Glitter and Glue Kelly Corrigan
Dirty Daddy Bob Sagat
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Funny Girl Nick Hornby
The Precious One Marisa de los Santos
Wife 22 Melanie Gideon
Summer Island Kristin Hannah
Jane and the Genius of Place Stephanie Barron
Marry Kiss Kill Anne Flett-Giordano
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris
Single, Carefree, Mellow Katherine Heiny
The Summer Hideaway Susan Wiggs
Along for the Ride Sarah Dessen
Scandal in Spring Lisa Kleypass
Me Without You JoJo Moyes
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much Allison Hoover Bartlett
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr
Mine Till Midnight Lisa Kleypass
Pretty Much Screwed Jenna McCarthy
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess Meg Cabot
You Won’t Remember This Kate Blackwell
The Nightingale Kristin Hannah
Finding Audrey Sophie Kinsella
The Beginning of Everything Robyn Schneider
The Vacationers Emma Straub
The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins
This I Believe Various
Life’s a Beach Claire Cook
Blueprints Barbara Delinsky
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Truman Capote
Then Again Diane Keaton
Friends Like Us Lauren Fox
Circle of Wives Alice La Plante
China Rich Girlfriend Kevin Kwan
Smart Blondes Sonia Koso
A Fine Romance Candice Bergen
Mermaid Out of Water Randy Gross
Quiet Susan Cain
A Wonder Story: Pluto R.J. Palacio
The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story R.J. Palacio
A Window Opens Elisabeth Egan
Luckiest Girl Alive Jessica Knoll
Red Summer Fran Davis
I Am Malala Malala Yousafzai
After You JoJo Moyes
Arcadia Lauren Groff
The Woman I Wanted to Be Diane Van Furstenberg
Crystal Walter Dean Meyers
We Were Liars E. Lockhart
Being Committed Anna Maxted
Dietland Sarai Walker
Cross My Heart Carly Phillips
My Fair Lazy Jen Lancaster
Movie Star A Novel by Lizzie Pepper Hilary Liftin
Everybody Rise Stephanie Clifford
Fates and Furies Lauren Groff
The Bee Cottage Story Frances Schultz
Killing Monica Candace Bushnell
Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
Ladies Night Mary Kay Andrews
Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? Lisa & Francesca Serratella Scottoline

 

Local Lowdown: On the Bookshelf

Here’s a peek at what some of our local scribes will have on the bookstore shelves this season.Our World of Water

Sue-Grafton-X

The reigning queen of local mystery writers, Sue Grafton is back, and she’s up to the letter “X,” in what is perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel featuring a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Operating out of the fictional town of Santa Teresa (a.k.a. Santa Barbara), hard-boiled private investigator Kinsey Millhone takes us on yet another exciting and twisty journey we won’t soon forget.

Gunpowder Press recently published the late Barry Spacks’s final book of poems, Shaping Water. A master poet and mentor, Spacks published 11 books of poetry during his lifetime, including Spacks Street, which won the Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal. He was selected as Santa Barbara’s first official poet laureate in 2005.

Inspired by Frances Schultz’s popular House Beautiful magazine series on the makeover of her house, ShapingWater_500x750The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness is a charmingly illustrated, humorous memoir that illuminates life lessons gleaned from her journey to rebuild her life after a broken engagement, cancer and a series of devastating losses.

Water is always top of our minds these days, and journalist Michael Cervin’s latest tome, Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource, discusses water from a historical context to its spiritual element and the present water crisis. It also looks toward our collective future and the inherent value of water to appreciate its awesome power while recognizing its fundamental importance.

Anne Fleet-Giordano, "Marry, Kiss, Kill"

Murders take the spotlight at Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Marry, Kiss, Kill, the debut mystery by Anne Flett-Giordano. The Emmy-winning television writer/producer (Frasier, Hot in Cleveland, Desperate Housewives) has created a fresh and funny Santa Barbara police detective/heroine—Nola MacIntire—who actually makes us yearn for more crime to come to town.

Known for her hilarious memoirs I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It and If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, Their Golden Dreamsformer KTYD personality Jenna McCarthy turns her comedic talents to fiction with Pretty Much Screwed, a story of love, loss, friendship, forgiveness, turtledoves, taxidermy and one hilariously ill-placed tick. Dumped after 20 years of marriage, this novel follows a woman’s journey of picking herself up out of the gutter when life kicks her to the curb.

Set in California during the Gold Rush years, Willard Thompson’s latest, Their Golden Dreams, follows the lives of some of the men and women who were thrown together during those rough and tumble days. Mixing fictional characters with cameos from historical figures, this third book in the Chronicles of California series traces the lives of those who came to California seeking riches.

Joye Emmens, "She's Gone"

It’s 1969 and teenage Jolie stands on the deck of her parents’ Santa Barbara home watching an uncontrolled oil spill. She’s outraged and motivated to do something about it. Jolie’s father may be an oil executive, but that doesn’t stop her from hitchhiking to the harbor and joining an anti-oil drilling protest. Bee Cottage StoryAnd so begins Joye Emmons’s She’s Gone, a heartfelt story of self-discovery that follows a young woman’s odyssey through social and political issues that continue to be relevant today.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

The Books of 2008

The Comfort of StrangersSo many books, so little time-part two

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the second year we’ve done this. Last year I set a goal to read better books but this year I actually read MORE books that weren’t necessarily of the highest quality. I’m finding that more and more I lean to read to escape, rather than be challenged, which is kind of sad.

My favorite book of 2008 was probably The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan, he also wrote Atonement, which I loved. I have a few more of his books on my night table so I’m looking forward to those. Other favorites were The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

  1. 19 Minutes – Jodi Picoult
  2. Blood Brothers – Nora Roberts
  3. Bookends-Jane Green
  4. The Breakdown Lane-Jacquelyn Mitchard
  5. A Thousand Splendid Suns-Khaled Hossseini
  6. Eat, Pray, Love-Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. The Year of Magical Thinking-Joan Didion
  8. Garlic and Sapphires-Ruth Reichel
  9. Boy-Roald Dahl
  10. Creation in Death-J.D. Robb
  11. The Last Beach Bungalow-Jennie Nash
  12. Three Cups of Tea-Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
  13. Paris to the Moon-Adam Gopnik
  14. Suburban Diva-Tracy Henry
  15. The Not-So-Perfect Man-Valerie Frankel
  16. The Hollow-Nora Roberts
  17. The End of the Affair-Graham Greene
  18. Summerland-Michael Chabon
  19. There’s No Place Like Here-Cecelia Ahern
  20. Bridge of Sighs-Richard Russo
  21. Tribute-Nora Roberts
  22. Outside Providence-Peter Farrelly
  23. The Pact-Jodi Picoult
  24. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict-Larie Viera Rigler
  25. Remember Me? – Sophie Kinsella
  26. The Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit-Jill Conner
  27. Jinx-Meg Cabot
  28. The Writing Class-Jincy Willett
  29. Kabul Beauty School-Deborah Rodriguez
  30. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  31. Married Lovers-Jackie Collins
  32. Talk Talk-T.C. Boyle
  33. Twilight-Stephenie Meyer
  34. Certain Girls-Jennifer Weiner
  35. Hometown Santa Barbara-Nancy Ransohoff, Zak Klobucher, Starshine Roshell, Cheryl Crabtree, Leslie Dinaberg (yes, I wrote some of it, but I read all of it and really liked the history chapters, Cheryl!)
  36. Are you there Vodka, it’s me Chelsea? – Chelsea Handler
  37. Size 12 is not Fat-Meg Cabot
  38. The Last Lecture-Randy Pfausch
  39. Strangers in Death-J.D. Robb
  40. Expensive People-Joyce Carol Oates
  41. Candy Girl-Diablo Cody
  42. The Comfort of Strangers-Ian McEwan
  43. New Moon-Stephanie Meyer
  44. All American Girl-Meg Cabot
  45. Ready or Not-Meg Cabot
  46. I Just Want my Children to be Happy-Aaron Cooper
  47. Queen of Babble-Meg Cabot
  48. House of Testosterone-Sharon O’Donnell
  49. Keep Your Skirt On-Starshine Roshell
  50. My Antonia-Willa Cather

Originally posted on January 2, 2009.

Click to read The Books of 2007.