From the Fellowship of the Farmy. The readers of the kitchensgarden.com. This is a long list. A wonderful list. Good books we have read so far this year. Because some of you may want to print it out I have included no photographs. This will certainly take me and maybe you right into the reading winter of 2016.
All the Light we cannot See, by Anthony Doerr and The Martian, by Andy Weir. First one is a historical novel set in WWII. The second one is set on Mars. Both wonderful.
The Art of Letting Go, by Chloe Banks or any of Robin Hobbs trilogies for me.
A Tale For The Time Being.
The Vegetarian: A Novel.
The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (highly recommend!).
The Southern Reach Trilogy.
The Snow Child.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The Samurai’s Garden.
The Art of Crash Landing, by Melissa Carlo (fast, fun with real life dialogue – loved this).
I’m late discovering Mary Wesley and have read two of her books this year – Jumping the Queue, and An Imaginative Experience.
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts.
Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan.
When You are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris.
One of the best books I read this year was Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins. It’s a memoir, about her walk of the Natchez Trace, partly about her relationship with her father, and so much more! Her novel, To Live Forever, is brilliant, too!
The Cherry Orchard, by Lucy Sanna and The Nightingale, by Kristen Hannah. Both set in WWII, the first in the US, the second in German occupied France.
The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown.
The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, by Janisse Ray, (if you haven’t already read it, you’ll appreciate this one.)
The Third Plate, by Dan Barber (a must read, about food, farming, sustainability and the role of chefs, and much more.)
City of Women by David R. Gillham.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walte.
Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup.
I keep coming back and re-reading these time and again: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling.
Deborah Harkness’ trilogy A Discovery of Witches.
Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Coming Home and September by Rosamund Pilcher.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.
Trails, Trials and Tears – The Life and Legacy of Texas Lil. I personally know Lil. She is the mother of one of high school friends and what a character she is!!!!! Please try to get this one and read it. It is a great story about a women who has brass you know whats!
The best book I have read this year though is The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks.
The Master Butcher’s Singing Club.
The Glassblower Trilogy.
The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins .
King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. I’m sure you all know these knight’s stories, that I read this for the first time and enjoyed it very much. I even fell in love with that extraordinary, lovely knight Sir Tristan.
One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern, a young Irish novelist. It’s told in such a lovely way, I enjoyed it very much. It’s about a young journalist who has got a very special and sensible project to solve. Heart wrenching and heart-warming.
A very old one, but lovely: Charles Terrot, The Angel, Who Pawned Her Harp.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.
The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally (All on $40 a Week)
by Robin Mather.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
Circling the Sun by Paula McClain about Beryl Markham.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery about an octogenerian hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline.
Fiona MacIntosh: The Lavender Keeper and The French Promise are absorbing reading. Convincing characters cover the troubled times before, during and after the second world war mainly set in rural France and eventually progressing to Tasmania. Adventure, suspense, history, and romance all figure in these beautifully written books.
Firefly Lane is Kristin Hannah – the same author as The Nightingale. They are very different types of work, but both are excellent.
The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis is fun to read.
The God of Small Things by Roi.
A Fine Balance by Mistry.
Animals’ People by Sinha,.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery.
A Little Life by Yanagihara.
I just finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, a native Minnesotan. This is a novel, with a few recipes tossed in, that is rooted in Minnesota. This book is unlike any I’ve ever read. It’s about family and food and life journeys and relationships. A great read, which I devoured in less than a week. When the book ended, I wished that it hadn’t. That’s the best endorsement I can give a book of fiction.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler.
The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley.
Serena, by Ron Rash.
The Far Pavilions, by MM Kaye).
Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, (books 1-3, later books not so much).
The Crimson Petal and the White by M. Faber.
The English Patient, by Ondaatje.
Cold Mountain, (C. Frazer).
A couple of newer (well, newer to me) selections for mystery lovers are Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Ferguson mystery series (set in New England, with a deliciously irreverent female pastor as the MC), and for Jane Austen fans, Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mystery series (Barron captures the voice of Austen perfectly, so I have to remind myself often that Austen did not actually write them).
I read two of Alice Hoffman’s this year, A Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers. Really enjoyed them both, and am looking forward to reading more. The first is set on the Island of St. Thomas in the 1800’s and tells the life story of the woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism. The second tells the story of four women during the siege of Masada.
Recipes from the Bartolini Kitchens…great read and has my favorites of John’s recipes. I’m a total space, sci-fi and fantasy geek so here are a few I’ve read this year or prior and would recommend.
Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (the third of the trilogy is coming), George R.R. Martin’s entire Game of Thrones series…the show is good but the books are a whole different animal, and I’ve just started another 5 book series beginning with Dan Simmon’s Hyperion. If you want further escapist and wish to step back in time to the American 60’s, John D. Macdonald’s Travis McGee series are fun.
Anything Phillipa Gregory particularly The Cousins War Series & The Tudor Court Novels.
Anne Rice’s Blackwood Farm.
Michael Pollan’s Second Nature & Cooked.
Anything John Steinbeck, most recently for me Travels with Charley in Search of America.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.
David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Just finished reading (for maybe the hundredth time) the entire series by Tony Hillerman. The Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee characters are as interesting as the country they drive you into. The Southwest Four Corners. Get to know about my part of the world.
Back to the Damn Soil by Mary Gubser. There is not even a good description on Amazon. Mary Gubser wrote about her experiences as a city girl in WWII moving to a farm in rural Oklahoma. It is the most delightful read.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister as well as the sequel, The Lost Art of Mixing. And the unrelated Joy for Beginners.
The Shepherd Life by James Rebanks.
I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and found Olive Ketteridge by Elizabeth Strout an interesting look at a woman’s ‘life over 25 years.
Taller When Prone by Les Murray, especially the poem about the mute cat. You’ll feel as though you could have written it.
Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese . Pretty sure you will not want this one to end.
War Brides – Lois Battle (excellent and fairly quick read).
Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walker.
Currently I am reading “The Boys in the Boat” – Daniel James Brown. My all time favorite book was “Breakfast with Buddha” by Roland Merullo. I couldn’t put it down.
Series by Louise Penny featuring Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, in the village of Three Pines, in southern Quebec, Canada: beginning with Still Life, then A Fatal Grace and 9 others.
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams; Bone Horses and Ladies of the Canyon by Lesley Poling-Kempes have been books I’ve enjoyed lately.
Just finished A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.
Enthusiastically recommend: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann.
Meet Me in Malmö by Torquil McLeod.
My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse.
To the Field of Stars: A pilgrim’s journey to Santiago de Compostela.
I would highly recommend Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (anything by him is great) (non-fiction) about the voyages of Captain Cook.
The Leopard by Guiseppe di Lampedusa (I’d only seen the movie years ago.)
I also read A Fine Romance by Cynthia Propper Seton.
The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard .
Hi, I love any books by Fannie Flagg. At the mo I’m reading Ann Cleeves books about detective inspector Vera Stanhope.
Circling the Sun, Paula McLain.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
The Nightingale, Kristin Hanna.
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins.
Last Night in Montreal, Emily St John Mandel.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr.
Splinters of Light, Rachael Herron.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple.
Fave out of all of them ..The Luminaries.
The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. by Jonas Jonasson. Also his book The Girl Who Saved the Kind of Sweden. Both of us loved these!
For anyone who enjoys Fantasy/Sci-Fi, I highly recommend “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson. Getting into this book will ensure that you have plenty to read for a long time since it is 1,000 excellent pages.
For general bookworms, I also highly recommend “Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians” by Brandon Sanderson as an easy read. It’s the first in a hilarious set of youth novels that can keep kids entertained while having plenty of funny moments .
Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb, a magical realist sort of book set in Italy before the war about a man who leaves his wife on their honeymoon.
Sky Time in Gray’s River by Robert Michael Pyle my favorite American nature writer.
News From Tartary by Peter Fleming about an early 30’s overland journey from Peking to Kashmir. Beautiful description of a vanished world (Brother of Ian Fleming).
At the moment, reading Crash and Burn, by Lisa Gardener. She writes psychological thrillers, but this one is different, no bodies, just a woman with a traumatic brain injury who has memories of being afraid but she doesn’t know of what.
Two biographies, both set in Tassie with a similar theme. A Table in the Orchard by Michelle Crawford, she says……whiIe living a high flying life, I dreamed of growing my own food, making cakes and jam, and wearing gumboots every day. Beautifully illustrated and some yummy recipes. The other is A Story of Seven Summers by Hilary Burden, with a similar background, who turns a a ramshackle old house – The Nun’s House – into a home and productive garden, has chooks with attitude and a couple of alpacas……….both charming reads.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. Guernsey was occupied during WWII & the people had interesting coping mechanisms. A VERY good book.
The Book of Eve – Constance Beresford-Howe Eva gets her first pension check & walks away from her comfortable life with one suitcase, clock radio & new wool coat.
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown.
A Very Small Farm, William Paul Wincester (I read this every winter).
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman.
I recently read a wonderful book called The Other Side of the World — the characters seemed so real and it’s got a kind of haunting, magical quality in the writing.
Also, The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows is very good. Small-town America during the Great Depression, secrets, family and memorable characters.
Stones from the River and Floating in My Mother’s Palm by Ursula Hegi, a brilliant book written by an American German author describing life in a small town in post- and prewar Germany. She is a brilliant author.
The Shoppenhauer Cure by Irvin d. Yalom, being confronted with mortality a psychotherapist is forced to re-examine his life.
A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson (anything by B. Bryson is good).
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving.
My Life in France – Julia Child.
The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaug.
The Aviator’s Wife – Melanie Benjamin.
The Paris Wife – Paula McLaid.
WILD – Cheryl Strayed.
Flight of Passage – Rinker Buck.
Amy Snow by Tracy Rees.
Circling the Sun was wonderful as is Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is phenomenal.
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester is a fabulous true story about the Oxford English Dictionary. While the idea of reading about a dictionary may sound dull, the book is captivating and based on a true story.
I love Funny Girl by Nick Hornby about a woman comedian in the fifties.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon- very funny family dysfunction around a wedding.
The Children Act by Ian McEwen about a judge’s involvement with a teenager who wants to choose not to have chemotherapy. It asks what our responsibilities are to one another once we have acted.
Anne Rivers Siddons’ The Girls of August, a funny and touching exploration of growth and grief among friends when some move on (sounds heavy, but isn’t).
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin about a crotchety bookstore owner brought into the world by a baby left in his shop.
Penelope Lively’s perfect gem of a book, Moon Tiger about an accomplished woman and the love she lost in the Egyptian Desert in the Second World War.
Memory Man by Balducci…haven’t read it yet but was highly recommended by a friend.
Teardown ~ Memoir of a Vanishing City…..the city I grew up in Flint, Michigan but could describe many, once great, American cities. Author, Gordon Young.
Organic Wesley By William C. Guerrant Jr.
Vera: My Story by Vera Wasowski & Robert Hillman.
A Wake of Vultures by Mary Earnshaw.
My favorite was For Whom the Bell Tolls. I also loved A Moveable Feast, The Garden of Eden and Ernest Hemingway On Writing (although two of these are non-fiction).
Isaac’s Storm and Dead Wake by Erik Larson.
I loved A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre.
Lambsquarters, by Barbara McLean (a farm story).
An Irish Country Doctor (first of a series).
Patrick Taylor; Mistress of the Art of Death (first of a series).
Ariana Franklin, sadly deceased, about a medieval female medical examiner; Lights Out Liverpool (part of a series)byMaureen Lee.
Three Bags Full, Leonie Swann, sheep detectives – amazing book, by Dana Stabenow.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, can`t remember the author, first of a series about a young girl in England who is a scientist and detective, young adult, but great.
There you are! The List. Have fun!
PS: Upon returning to the actual comments from the other day, (I cut off at bedtime) I discovered about a hundred more book recommendations – I tried to enter them all but I am swamped. You guys are amazing. We have too many! Please pop back and have a look – there are even more recommendations in the comments- we could write a book of book recommendations! I am going to hand write the ones I have not read onto my own printed list. Maybe you could too. Magnificent. c