It’s time to look back at the books read this past year, be they awesome, horrible, disappointing, or just plain blah.
Usually, I have a difficult time deciding which books to put on this list, and what to leave off. Most of the time I don’t, read can’t, pick a book that was better than the others, but, as I sit down at my desk to write this post, The Bees by Laline Paull is the first book to come to mind. I loved this book. Definitely my selection for the best book I’ve read this year. It received the singular honor of going onto my keeper drive.
Other books that ranked high on my awesome-meter are, in no particular order:
– The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Kevin Donohue – A chilling yarn about an autistic boy’s obsession with drawing monsters comes back to haunt him in a big way. The imagination is a powerful tool, but, rarely is it so much a weapon as it is here. The ending is just jaw dropping. I had to go back and re-read that last chapter about Nick a second time. I so did not see that coming.
– A Concubine for the Family by Amy S. Kwei – The traditional Confucian beliefs of Purple Jade and her husband clash with the growing influence of Western philosophy and commercialism on China. This is a beautifully written story of change and tragedy as the Japanese invade and the Second World War begins. I can’t wait for the sequel, Under the Red Moon.
– The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Laurel Corona – A family of conversos try to stay true to their heritage while struggling to maintain the facade of fervent Christianity demanded of them in fifteenth century Spain. Especially when that facade is dropped. This is made especially difficult by the ascension to the thrones of Aragon and Castile of Ferdinand, himself a converso, and Isabella, and the arrival of the Inquisition brought about by their greed and hypocrisy.
– Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles – I enjoyed this rare look at the history of Carthage. Picking through the vastly partisan writings of the Greeks and Romans to find the true story of Carthage and its empire is no easy task, but Miles does an admirable, and cohesive, job of it while still managing to be readable by the recreational reader and amateur historian.