Annual Book List request 2016

geraldine

Firstly – Thank You  for yesterday- I have many great questions to answer while I am travelling. This will be fun. Most excellent.rooster

Now the next thing on our Christmas List is our Christmas Book List! I had not forgotton.

This year, because last years list got SO BIG and SO LONG (like many of you I read – and listen to audio books a lot so I too have heaps of favourites), I think that this year we will limit ourselves to TWO personal favourites – it can be a novel, or cookbook, or nonfiction, or fluffy historical romance, audio book or book of art – any book at all but one we met for the first time THIS YEAR in 2016. Not your favourite book of all time just two of your favourite books from your 2016 reading list.

And let us know the genre and a why you recommend we read it.

Have a scroll through the comments and if your favourite book is already there SECOND it, or third it or fourth it. This way we will get a really good idea of what everyone is reading (or listening to) and you get to name two MORE books in your own comment if your first favourite is already in the list. piglets

I am never without a book. Often I am listening to a book (while I do housework or cook) and then read another book (usually on my kindle in winter when it is hard to get to the shops) before I go to bed. So I get through a fair number of books.  And I often listen to podcasts when I am cleaning in the barn but that is a completely new discussion! cold

I love our annual Fellowship Book List. Sound like fun? Good – because  – I need some good reading material for my travels. I particularly need a good airplane book. (Why airplane book is not a genre I do not know!).

I will collate the list tonight and publish it for you tomorrow so you can print it and use it as a book mark or give it away during the holiday season.

If you run your own book list with your own readers at your blog be sure to link it back to The Kitchens Garden (I will note it at the bottom of my post the day I receive the link) so that we can all come and look at your list as well.  Your own readers might have some new ones too!piglets

 

The roads were frozen sheets of ice out here in the country yesterday and for two days we have not even received our mail. The country roads are too dangerous. I hope they are better today because Lori the Pig Lady is coming to collect the little barrow. I am glad he is going to a good home but I have to admit I wish he were not going at all. He has been a perfect little house pig. Boo and I will miss him awfully.

Much love, have a lovely day.

celi

 

112 thoughts

  1. I am sure that Barrow will be very happy in his new home just like Lurchy is..you do your utmost for the comfort of your animals and for that I am eternally grateful. I am a real softie where animals are concerned and many a farmer would have just killed Barrow off , but not you….

    have a wonderful holiday..travel in safety…enjoy yourself…but come home soon…love P

     

    Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 2:12 PM

  2. Is that rooster Sir Peghorn or Son-of-Son-of -of Neanderthol Man? I can’t decide but either way he is still pretty but looking aged. Books are so expensive here now I haven’t bought one in ages, and most of my reading is on screen, sigh. I also have heaps of books stored in boxes that I can’t give away for one reason or another , double sigh. Laura

  3. Love, love. love the piglets pics!!!! Absolutely adorable!!! xoxoxo
    Just finished “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo, a fascinating nonfiction book that reads a story of life in the undercity of Mumbai, India.
    Also “My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth” by Wendy E. Simmons was an almost unbelievable, but true story, of her ‘vacation’ to North Korea. It’s so difficult to believe, but absolutely true, as I was fortunate to hear her speak of her experiences there! I’ve been reading every other book on North Korean I can get my hands on! It’s so hard to wrap my head around the fact that a country can be so isolated and controlled in the 21st century!

  4. Good morning!

    My two favorite books of 2016 are “Nella Last’s War” editted by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming, and “Jambusters” by Julie Summers, which inspired the television series “Home Fires.” I am in a women of WW2 mindset this year, which was kicked off kast year by the audiobook, “The Queen Mother,” by Wm. Shawcross. All of them are just brilliant. Nella Last was a housewife in England during WW2 and kept a journal for the Mass Observation Project, recording her experiences during the war. “Jambusters” is a proud and inspiring record of the Women’s Institute’s (WI) achievements during WW2. I think it wonderful that women then accepted the wonderful differences that separate us from men, embraced them, and went on to do any job that needed to be done. It seems to me today that we women willingly throw away our femininity and female strengths to prove something to ourselves about our equality, something that is unnecessary to prove. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers set wonderful examples for us; I sometimes think a skewed historical perspective outweighs common sense.

    I highly recommend these books, and eagerly anticipate all of your fine recommendations.

    Happy travels, Merry Christmas, and Hapoy New Year!
    Shani
    central IL

  5. ‘Outliers’ and ‘David and Goliath,’ by Malcolm Gladwell. His ‘Revisionist History’ is what got me into his audio books and I have since listened to them all. These two are my favorite! He tells the a deeper backstory or other sides of the coin to traditional narratives that we are familiar with. It is an easy listen that keeps you intrigued the whole time. If you like lesser-known or alternative history, this is your ticket.
    Enjoy!

  6. Try two historical fictions–A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and The Dark Lady’s Mask by Mary Sharratt. The former is about an aristocrat imprisoned in a Moscow hotel for life after the Russian revolution, and the latter is about the first woman poet in England who is suspected of being Shakespeare’s lover and muse. Great cultural reads. Happy travels!

  7. Fortunately or unfortunately, I became completely engrossed in the Outlander books. I had not allowed myself the pleasure of reading for the last 20+ years–guilt at “wasting time”. I was urged by many that I would love Outlander and simply could not do without them now. Historical fiction at its best!

      • Gosh, that’s like asking which of my children is my favorite! 😉 They must be read serially if you are to understand where the story has taken you.
        I really like book 3-Voyager, but only because Claire and Jamie are reunited. I got a bit stressed in the first two books because it seemed like the main characters were always, always in peril. I would remind myself that the author had written 8 books and is currently working on the 9th—-so the main characters must survive or there wouldn’t be so many books. I love them all and badly miss the characters while the author works on book 9.

  8. At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracey Chevallier
    The book starts with James and Sadie Goodenough stuck; figuratively and literally stuck int the Black Water Swamp of Ohio in the 1830’s. Settlers from Connecticutt, where their families live, they head west in a wagon. The wagon gets stuck in the mud of the swamp, near Perrysburg, Ohio. At the start of the story, they have already lost 5 children from swamp fever, have suffered from it themselves, and are involved in a dysfunctional family if ever there was one. James adores the “eaters”, while Sadie craves the “spitters” – or, rather, she craves the apple jack made from them. (eaters and spitters being apples)
    Story takes a turn when something horrendous happens and son leaves, eventually giving the reader an interesting peak into the great Sequoias of the Pacific Northwest, how the seeds and trees were harvested – and how they were destroyed.

    The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (audio)
    Bryson’s memoir growing up in small town Iowa in the 1950’s. As I finished each CD, I passed it on to my husband. We spent a good week at the dinner table trying to explain chapters, but couldn’t, as we couldn’t stop laughing long enough to get the words out!

  9. “The Glass Castle” A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls–fascinating true story of an incredibly dysfunctional, impoverished family with many unique ways of survival.
    “The Mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe–A gothic novel full of darkness, intrigue, and some of the hardest prose I have ever read, but underlying it all, a classic work. It is a huge novel so give yourself time…lots of time.

  10. I really liked At The Edge of the Orchard too, but I can’t count that as part of my two, because really I’d like to recommend twenty and only two is hard enough!!!
    To The Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey: A fabulous adventure story in Alaska; the story of a marriage, the husband an arctic guide and explorer, the wife staying ‘home’ in Anchorage, pregnant. Each has their own great story line. Takes place in 1885. There’s two feelings to this book – it’s like a dream, reminds me of a Terrence Malik film, like The New World – there’s a sort of filmy lens – but at the exact same time there is a gritty urgency to the explorer’s mission, the hard weather is coming in and they’re in hostile territory and they’ve got to get some things accomplished. I was completely sucked in and enjoyed it all the way to the end. Has won lots of ‘best book of the year’ awards.
    The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead: What if the Underground Railroad was really a railroad? A reimagining of this time and the way slaves escaped, and how each state dealt with slavery. A hard book at the beginning with a very stark (and realistic) picture of what it is to be a slave on a plantation, once the main character gets moving things start looking up. I so enjoyed the adventures of this main character and was really rooting for her, and each place she stops has its own interesting story (each state handles the ‘slave issue’ differently and that’s a fun device), but I do have one complaint – the book ends very abruptly and I wish it had gone on just one more chapter. This book has also had a lot of recognition this year.
    I could go on and on and on – if you’d like some interesting environmental and/or gardening books, I have a ton of nonfiction to recommend too. But not sure that’s airplane reading.
    Save travels!

  11. The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka – precursor to Permaculture Design – it establishes the most amazing mind set about how to approach growing food and revising the earth. Not a long read but powerful. Permaculture in a Nutshell
    by Patrick Whitefield, Terry Greenwell (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator), Glennie Kindred (Illustrator) A great hand book with the Permaculture precepts well demonstrated and illustrated. It does a great job of organizing how to approach nature when designing land, working with natural laws, and getting the highest yield from it.

  12. I loved ‘Close to Hugh’ by Marina Endicott. The book’s characters are so real and easy to identify with. The plot covers one week in the life of two generations in a small town – wrapped up in a school drama program and a local art gallery. The kids are facing the pull of the world as they are about to graduate high school and the adults are facing their own dilemmas with kids leaving, marriages shifting, bodies aging. It is poignant and funny at the same time. A good read.
    My second recommendation would be “After Dachau” by Daniel Quinn. It is more of a sci-fi dystopian novel. I suggest it for the slowly evolving twist in the plot line that leaves you with lots to think about. I would categorize it as an ‘alternate history’ tale.

  13. The Martian by Andy Weir. You have to love a story line that includes Duct Tape and 11.22.63 by Stephen King. What might happen if someone tried to change what happened that day. (A disappointing end to a great story) Both are sci fi/fantasy and great traveling audio books.

  14. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy is a slightly scary but funny and sad memoir of his first internship year at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Some of this I probably did not really want to know, but it was a fascinating look at how a doctor really becomes a doctor.

    When looking for this list I realize I have been catching up on two fiction series which both need to be read in order. Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon spy series is quite unusual as it looks more closely at Israel’s place in the world of international spying. I really like the characters, although as each one is introduced in each successive novel, Silva falls back on using cut-and-paste descriptions which got a little annoying as I was reading them one right after the other!

    Piggie photos are the best. I hope the little Barrow boy does well in his new home and that he gets there safely. Safe travels to you as well, Celie!

  15. I have been reading The Hour of Land, by Terry Tempest Williams. It’s a view of our National Parks here in the US. I just started reading. I love the way she writes just like I love reading and viewing the photos of your blog!!

  16. I hope the little pig settles into his new home. I’m reading The inspector Lynley books by Elizabeth George at the moment. I do love a who dunnit. 😊

  17. What kind of books would you put in “Airport genre”? I’m rarely interested in reading the books they sell at airports.
    I love fiction too, but it seems I’m always toting nonfiction when I fly.

    I’m reading a book right now called “The Vegetarian Myth” which I will probably be reading on my short flight tonight. It’s been a fascinating treatise on the importance of eating meat (for our bodies and the land) from a former vegan.

    I also discovered a fantastic “kids” drawing book this year called “Draw-a-Saurus.” Even if you’re not interested in drawing dinosaurs, it’s a cute and fun book to look through. Ironic juxtaposition… is that what you’d call a t-rex skipping through the meadow with a basket of flowers?

    I was thinking I didn’t have any new favorite books this year… Ha! What a lie!

  18. Just finished Jonathan Franzen’s book “Purity.” An amazing story, well written, dark, funny…did I say dark? Also read my usual quote of Georges Simenon and Fred Vargas mysteries. Both French, both published in English. They are fun and quick and, if you read them in French, help you to keep brushed up in that department. I also read — and this might sound weird but it was TOTALLY entertaining — Nick Hornby’s “In the Tub” which is actually a huge collection of HIS book reviews and serves as an AMAZING booklist in its own right. “Ten Years in the Tub”…great to read before you go to bed. Witty, smart and FULL of ideas of what to read next.

  19. Okay you guys are quite the literate bunch! I’m going to chime in with a favorite author. Nothing high-brow about her books, but they are sweet and fun. Rachael Herron writes romance and women’s fiction, and she’s got a ton of titles out. I especially like her romances set around knitting, and her novel called Pack Up the Moon. Other women’s fiction authors I like are Emelie Richards and Barbara O’Neal. I’ve probably gone over my allotment, haven’t I? So sorry!

  20. I stumbled upon Martha Grimes detective writer and have enjoyed The Blue Last and a book about the Australian Aborigines called Song Lines. I enjoy many different types of genres. Depends on whether it grabs my interest in the first chapter. We used to use audio books when travelling to entertain our whole family. I prefer it to DVD watching in the car.

    • I second Martha Grimes – for the Richard Jury novels. They are awesome – with the almost-bumbling sidekick who makes me think of Bertie Wooster. Any of them are good, I find the later ones are darker and have more character development.
      Chris S in Canada

  21. I loved all of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn, a chronicle of the dark side of British privileged families, but my favorite was “Mother’s Milk.” His writing is acerbic and lyrical. Another favorite was Louise Penny’s “The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel,” wherein a body is discovered in the walled cloister of a remote and nearly forgotten monastery where the monks have preserved some of the most ancient Gregorian chant.

  22. This year I was impressed with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. This is a satirical yet very touching tribute to American soldiers, and how hard it is for anyone who has not endured what they endured to understand. Unfortunately they made a not-so-great movie out of it this year. The other book I’m recommending is The Sellout, by Paul Beatty, a scathing novel that looks at race relations in America. Hard for some to read due to its unstinting use of racial epithets, but the book, written by an African-American, is just as brutal about the pretensions of Black intellectuals as it is about the stupidity of white racists. The novel won the Man Booker Prize, the 1st book by an American author to do so.

  23. People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper……a lightish read but absorbing, I like books whose characters grow and develop throughout. There’s something about the way she tells this story that really engaged me.
    I’ve also found Jeffrey Deaver lately, and particularly like his Lincoln Rhyme character who is a quadraplegic criminalist. They’re crime thrillers, there’s lots of them, and also other books of his with Special Agent Kathryn Dance. They’re sometimes woven into each other’s stories. I particularly like the relationships between his characters, and Rhyme’s ascerbic, often rude, comments to people and or even worse in his thoughts. It’s not all blood and gore. My favourite?…..hard, I’ve loved them all but perhaps the first one I read…….The Kill Room.

  24. You are making this hard, so many to choose from. 1. “The Aftermath” by Ridian Brook this is post WWII set in Germany when allied forces took over. You see war from the “other side” and what happened after the war. It was a different perspective and I really enjoyed it. 2. “They left us everything” by Plum Johnson. This one was a bit different from what I usually read and I am am so glad that I read it! After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents—first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year old mother—author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers have finally fallen to their middle-aged knees with conflicted feelings of grief and relief. Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, twenty-three rooms bulging with history. I felt like I was there with her.

  25. To Down Under readers only unless you do get interested: I love biographies and autobiographies. Three this year brought wealth and excitement sans pareil!L

    1. The lesbian actress Magda Szubanski’s ‘Reckoning’ which addressed not only my refugee childhood but my understanding of alternate lifestyles.
    2. The incredible Jimmy Barnes’ ‘Working Class Boy’ which so excitingly took me totally out of my own comfort zone with its violence and drug use, but which I could not put down until the last page was turned. Who has not heard of ‘Cold Chisel’ wherever their domicile . . . yes, I love opera and symphony, but
    3 The somewhat unexpected second biography [this time mostly auto] – of my most beloved Cadel Evans, OUR road biker who did and does us proud!] What a lesson in how many ways!.

      • Cadel is a bit ‘up himself’ here but has SO taught me about how competitive road cycling ‘works’! I DO miss him but wish him well! Yes, Jimmie Barnes ‘ one was a bit of a surprise one for me as his is definitely not my kind of tune 🙂 !! I have 40 pages to go and can’t wait! . . . . Enjoy, one and all!

  26. C. I have been away for 3 weeks with very spotty internet so have not been able to comment very often but have read the blog every day…sooo, I’m very behind with my 2 cents! Wonderful book suggestions and off the top of my head, I will have to think a little further for my own two favorites this year. After I finish a book, I usually give it away and then forget the titles! And there were alot this year! Some not so good, so I’ll have to recall the better ones.
    On another note, here’s my favorite December poem to help us get through these dark, cold, dreary days of winter. I thought of it after reading your post about the birds in the barn!

    I heard a bird sing in the dark of December, so magical and sweet to remember! We are closer to spring than we were in September! 🙂

  27. Safe travels, Celi and a great and happy family reunion. – And farewell to our piggy… I feel with you and with Boo. And – I’m sure – our little barrow will miss both of you very much too!
    Loved the photographs so much and I’ve stolen them all to print them out and send them to both of my old aunts who have no PC, so no e-mail… – as kind of a ‘Christmas Story from the Farmy’ full of love.
    Happy Holidays to all.

  28. I’ve actually thought about this. For 2016 my pick has to be The Portable Veblen. I adored every character and every paragraph. It’s contemporary fiction, but can’t be categorized beyond that. Happy trails on your travels!

  29. I discovered the collected poems of Madeleine L’Engle just this year , “The Ordering of Love.” And some of her prose in another book, “Walking on Water.” I didn’t know she wrote in either form, but I should have guessed. The poems are delightfully unpoetic (they make sense, perfectly and honestly, no irony or indirection, uncomplicated language with a natural rhythm). The poems were not written for children, though children might be curious upon reading the one section that retells very Old T. bible stories– just as she was as a child when she read about persons like Leah, or Lot.

    The best parts are at the beginning and the end. These take time. They are very moving–about her lifelong love. In between, the poems tell stories about her children and grandchildren, about birth and loss, about sorrow and joy, and about the old farmhouse in New England where all of this happened.

    What a pleasant surprise this book was. It is too thick for an airplane book, though I like reading one poem at a time and looking out the window for a while to let the words settle. It isn’t available on kindle, but that’s OK because sometimes poems get rearranged electronically. You probably won’t find it in your local library either. For some reason no one thought to promote her poems. (I think you will see the reason if you happen upon the book.) It is a bigger than a gem, but not gaudy. Her picture on the front sets just the right tone.

  30. For fiction The Fortunes of War by Olivia Manning which is actually made up of two trilogy’s and starts in Romania and ends in Egypt on the eve of WW2. Non fiction Beyond the Blue Horizon by Alexander Frater in which he follows the route of the old Imperial Airways in the early days of air travel from London to Brisbane

  31. Sad to hear the little piglet is moving on…lovely little creature…I’d be a hopeless farmer. I know you’ve read “Any Human Heart” but I reread it all the time. I’m currently reading a wonderful novel by Rohinton Mistry ” A Fine Balance” about India in the 70’s…..beautiful writing.

  32. I’ve got a great airplane book for you! Fits easily into a pocket or purse and weighs virtually nothing. Interesting phrases and commentary on… speaking in Italian. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you my Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions). It’s such a small book but with an entertaining approach to learning that I had to give it a long title!

  33. on PBS they have a series called Shetland. From books written by Ann Cleeves. I am hooked. Crime stories with an excellent plot. Really enjoy seeing into the daily life of the Shetland Isles. The history of the islands pulls you into the story. She also has a series of books called Vera Stanhope. This series is also on PBS. Called Vera. Also crime and Vera is an inspector. Books are so much better. Read both series. Thank you all for such a great list. So wonderful. Safe travels and the joy of being with your family.

  34. I enjoyed The Anatomist’s Apprentice by Tessa Harris – it’s the first book in a series of historical mysteries. Curiously, you were in my dreams last night, miss c! it was lovely to visit with you.

  35. My year has been rather strange. I’ve read a lot of books, but for many different reasons I’ve been reading a lot of “fluffy” books and wouldn’t necessarily recommend them.

    What I would recommend is Louise Penny’s “The Brutal Telling”, a little older, but new to me this year. I enjoy her books, Inspector Gamache and the whole Three Pines element just pulls me right in.

    The other one I would recommend was by Alan Bradley – probably classed as YA crime, but definitely appealing to adults also. Who wouldn’t want to be 11 years old and friends with Flavia DeLuce – detective, chemist, etc. The last one I read was A Red Herring Without Mustard – I enjoy all the characters, but I think Dogger (the faithful retainer) is one of my favourites. There is just something about him . . . Any of the series is wonderful, but starting at the beginning with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie gives you the best grounding in the characters.

    Since I tend to buy my books at the Sally Anne Thrift Store, I’m generally a year or two (or more) behind what is current. But I’ve read some wonderful things that I wouldn’t have found at Coles, etc. And my book budget goes a LOT further! I’ve got some books lined up for reading over the holidays as I really need to get back to the “good stuff”.

    Great suggestions here!
    Chris S in Canada

  36. I’ve joined Goodreads’ 2016 reading challenge. I’m done with 122 books to date. My list would be the Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi, The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate, Irena’s Children by Tilar Mazzeo and Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

  37. My preference is for non-fiction and my two favourites for this year were ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, a book about the creative process, delightfully written; and ‘Love Warrior’ by Glennon Doyle Melton, a memoir of her life from drug and sex abuse to a dysfunctional marriage and how she came out of it. Very moving and reads like a letter from your best friend, intense and personal. Happy travels Celi.

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