This was not a great reading year for me. I won’t go as far as saying these are the best of a bad lot, because that’s not true, but my reading slump was so pervasive that, at times, it felt that way. That being said, I quite enjoyed the following books.
08. American Meteor // Norman Lock. “Sheds brilliant light along the meteoric path of American westward expansion. . . . [A] pithy, compact beautifully conducted version of the American Dream, from its portrait of the young wounded soldier in the beginning to its powerful rendering of Crazy Horse’s prophecy for life on earth at the end.”
07. Girl Waits with Gun // Amy Stewart (review). Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and women’s history is often more relevant than we’d like to admit. In this particular story, those two things combine to make one delightful mystery. Based on one of the first female sheriffs in the country, this novel follows the adventures of the Kopp family. Constance Kopp, soon to be thirty-five, is having a more adventurous year than she anticipated. The destruction of her buggy by an automobile sets off a series of increasingly alarming events. Constance and her sisters make quite the trio standing against the bullying, harassment, and threatening behavior of Henry Kaufman, the driver of the car (all true, no less).
06.Get in Trouble // Kelly Link (review). A wonderful collection of short stories released by Kelly Link. The stories cover the weird (as in the formal use of the word) side of life, but a very human side as well – teenage angst, ex-lovers, jealousy, longing.
05. The Tsar of Love and Techno // Anthony Marra. “From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.”
04. The Shore // Sara Taylor (review). The Shore is Sara Taylor’s debut novel. Set just off the coast of Virginia, there are a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay known as “the Shore.” Inhabited by rich and poor alike, the Shore is the place that binds everyone together.
03. Bull Mountain // Brian Panowich (review). The novel tells the saga of the Burroughs family and its transition from selling moonshine to marijuana and eventually meth. It centers on brothers Halford and Clayton. Halford is the head of the Burroughs empire, while Clayton is the outcast and the sheriff of the county. The two form an uneasy truce that lasts until Special Agent Simon Holly arrives. After that, nothing is the same.
01. Paradise Sky // Joe R.Lansdale (review). Despite his life being glamorized throughout dime novels, Deadwood Dick needs to set the record straight—including how he got his name, how he saved Wild Bill Hickok, and how his life changed by looking up at exactly the wrong time.
01. The Marauders // Tom Cooper (review). What do you do when a book can make you sympathetic to a drug addicted man who neglects his estranged wife and daughter and hunts for treasure when he should be working? You love it. To quote Esquire Tom Cooper’s The Marauders is “more fun that a book about the aftermath of an ecological disaster has any right to be”.
What did you read this year that stands out? For more top ten lists, visit here.