I don't know about you, but at the end of the year I always look at my TBR and say "Huh, I so wanted to read that this year!". I know that all of us readers have huge piles of books we have not read yet - but for me there are always a few that seem to have gotten away. As I was organizing my TBR - it is so out of control! - these five books popped up as ones that I really really wanted to get to last year. So, what do I do... I start with a completely different book. But I thought I would share my list of the top five books I wish I had read last year.
(I have taken the blurbs from Goodreads --> you can read even more on there or I have attached links to local independent bookstores at which you can purchase them.)
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney : this book one the Bailey's Fiction prize for women last year - beating out my favorite book of 2015 A Little Life. Simon, from Savidgereads, and one of my book recommendation gurus, raved about this book as a dark comedy that he was surprise he loved as much as he did. He, also A Little Life lover, was not sad that this book one the award. And with all of that I had to add it to my list.
"One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight."
Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin : This book was getting all sorts of mentions around the blog world and for me - I just love the title! I don't really know much about it other than Simon and Eric, of lonesomereader, both spoke very highly of it. And there it sits - waiting to be read.
"A woman battles bluebottles as she plots an ill-judged encounter with a stranger; a young husband commutes a treacherous route to his job in the city, fearful for the wife and small daughter he has left behind; a mother struggles to understand her nine-year-old son’s obsession with dead birds and the apocalypse."
His Bloody Project by Graeme MaCrae Burnet : I am not usually one for a mystery. They just are not my type of books. But this one was nominated for the Booker Prize last year - and is a Victorian Murder Mystery. Based on a true crime, it just kept telling me that it would be the one mystery I would read this year and love. That being said - it took me some time to pick up and buy. But now it just sits staring at me - saying pick me up next.
"A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? Will he hang for his crime?"
Moonglow by Michael Chabon : I have an off again on again relationship with Michael Chabon. I loved, loved loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It is in my list of top favorite books of all time. However, I just have never been able to get into anything else he has written. I have loved some of the movie adaptations though - Wonder Boys anyone. But this books speaks to me - I love the fact that it is fiction based on fact turned into faction..... if that makes any sense. I did start this one - and loved the first chapter. But was not ready to dive into such a big book. But it has a real fighting chance of being my next read.
"Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies."
The Mothers by Brit Bennett : There is just something about a debut novel that gets a lot of buzz that gets my excited. This novel checks a lot of my boxes - family drama, young people making tough choices, love triangles! I was luck enough to score a signed copy - and then I have let it sit on my shelf. I cannot explain why I have not read it - and I mean that cover! A number of my reader friends have told me I have to read it, and I will, hopefully soon.
"It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt."
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey : If you have not read Eowyn Ivey's first book The Snow Child, you need to immediately. It is amazing. It was one of those novels that made me say " I will read anything this writer writes." Add to that Simon's raving review -- and I picked it up the day it come out. However, I know exactly why I have not read this one yet - it is a tomb! But Eowyn has made me think and care about Alaska in a way that no writer or tv show ever has. I will get to it ..... soon I hope.
"Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its huge reserves of gold to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy.
For Forrester, the decision to accept this mission is even more difficult, as he is only recently married to Sophie, the wife he had perhaps never expected to find. Sophie is pregnant with their first child, and does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband embarks upon the journey of a lifetime. She has genuine cause to worry about her pregnancy, and it is with deep uncertainty about what their future holds that she and her husband part."
So these are the five books I missed out on in 2016 and wish I hadn't. Do you have any reads that you wanted to get done that you didn't fit in? Let me know. And if you have read any of the ones on my list - drop me a note and give me that kick in the butt I need.