Squarespace is gonna fight me on my numbered list, because this starts with #6 AND WHO AM I TO ARGUE WITH THE SQUARESPACE AI -- so here is the rest of my list with correct numbers and substandard formatting:
6. The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter
It’s kooky, quirky, and hysterically funny. At least a little bit brilliant. And happens to be written by an author who lives in Austin.
7. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Just because of the topic, this book will not be for everyone. But maybe it ought to be. I’m so impressed by how easy it is to know this narrator, Yoli — to really feel immersed in her skin, in her thoughts. But it was emotionally draining for me to read.
8. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My sole feel-good read of the year, which was actually published in 2011 and has been sitting on my shelf since then, unread until a few months ago. This was so much fun for me, and has been elevated to top-10 status because it’s the only book that my husband, 11-year-old son, and I all read (separately) and enjoyed. We were able to talk about it, muse over it, debate plot points in it, and basically create family time discussing it. Hope there’s a movie coming out of this one.
9. We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride
Although the prose is a touch melodramatic, and the plot can feel contrived as can any story with a large, multi-character ensemble, there is so much truth embedded in this book. Plus, the story is set in Las Vegas and much of that is painfully and wonderfully familiar. I feel like this is similar in some ways to We Are Not Ourselves (and I’m not talking about similarity in the titles), but way better. Would have liked to have seen We Are Called to Rise on more of the well-known top 10 lists for the year.
10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I had a hard time picking my favorite 10 titles, which means I’ll work on an “Honorable Mentions” list soon. Yes Please is a book that came at the right time, with the right messages, for me. Having hit a milestone birthday in 2014, so much about my world, and my place in it, felt clearer, and in some way that’s due to Amy Poehler sharing her experiences, challenging the way I see things, and giving voice to some of my own latent thoughts and ideas. Although I can’t say this was even close to the best-written book I read last year, it has influenced me to action more than any other. Maybe Ms. Poehler can start a Smart Women offshoot of her successful Smart Girls initiative…
Honorable mentions to come.