Since it’s the middle of the year, and three months since the last Call for Favorite Reads, I thought it might be valuable to continue mid-year posting of books MillersTime readers are particularly enjoying.
For this mid-year call, I’m asking that you send in just one title and your accompanying remarks about why you enjoyed that book.
As usual, give the title, author, identify the book as F or NF, and, most importantly, write a few sentences or a paragraph of what it was/is about this book that makes it into your category of particularly enjoyable or exceptional.
If you do not have anything to add at this point, you might want to check out the 3/30/22 post, Winter-Spring 2022: Best Reads. There were a number of enticing reads in that post.
I already know what book I’ll select out of the several very good ones I’ve read in the last three months.
How about you?
Deadline for Submission – July 15th
Send to Samesty84@gmail.com
(But don’t wait – I don’t plan to send a reminder)
[Updating: I am constantly updating this list as a few readers have sent in their favorites after its initial posting. I’m putting an asterisk * adjacent to the names of those whom I’ve added. I hope readers will return to this list throughout the year for possible titles of interest, and some that may not have been here Dec. 31.]
Easily this post is my Favorite (‘Book’) of the year.
Amidst some controversy, I limited contributors to just four titles with the intent of focusing more on what readers were saying about their favorites and less emphasis on how many books were cited multiple times. Whether I achieved that or not, you will no doubt tell me. Some of you have already done so, and I look forward to hearing from others about this year’s format.
To the results:
There are 228 books listed from 68 contributors, 34 female, 34 male. Nonfiction (NF) submissions slightly outweighed Fiction (F), 52%-48%, only the second time that has occurred in the 12 years we’ve been doing this.
Seven titles received three or more citing:
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (NF) (7)
The Splendid & the Vile by Erik Larson (NF) (5)
A Promised Land by Barack Obama (NF) (3)
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar (F) (3)
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (F) by Kim Michele Richardson (NF) (3).
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (F) (3)
Deacon King Kong by James McBride (F) (3)
Seventeen others were cited twice. Had contributors been able to submit more than four favorites, I suspect there would have been a significant increase of these and other titles cited.
I hope you will take the time not only to check out your own submissions and those of people you know but of other contributors too, readers you don’t know. For me, everyone participating is a friend (some of whom I’ve known more than 50 years), and I have interest in what they’re reading and enjoying and think you may also. Some of their choices I can assure you will be unfamiliar to you but certainly are ones worth considering.
If you’re frustrated by not being able to list more than four, you’ll see at the end of the post how you might add more of your own favorites to this year’s post. You’ll also see what others are adding.
Additionally, you’ll find links to the three 2020 mid-year posts, and for those who really have little to do, you can link to any or all of the annual lists starting in 2009.
The list below is alphabetical by first name, and any errors are solely my responsibility. Let me know if I need to make corrections.
The 2020 Favorite Reads from MillersTime Contributors
As for what I’ve been reading, it’s yin and yang. On the one hand I have delved deeply and continuously into Casteby Isabel Wilkerson (NF) and been a part of several discussion groups about it. That woman is a genius writer — how she did all that research and then crafted the information without sounding like a rant is astounding.
On the other hand, I’ve done some lighter reading, prompted by my book group that wanted an escape. I’ve now read a couple of British writer Jojo Moyes books. That woman can write in a page-turner way. I was ready for a “happy ending/bad guys lose/good guys win” book. The two titles I consumed are The Giver of Stars (F) and One Plus One (F).
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal (NF). Memoir of ceramicist Edmund de Waal, his family, the Ephrussis Family – which was a Jewish banking family in Paris/Vienna in the 19th Century. The story is told by tracing the history of Japanese netsuke (small carved figures) which were passed down through 5 generations of the family. Can be a little slow at times but the family’s story is very interesting.
Billion Dollar Brand Club by Lawrence Ingrassia (NF). Interesting story about all of the billion dollar internet brands including Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker.
The Warburgs by Ron Chernow (NF). Long but amazing story about an amazing Jewish banking family
TheLast Kings of Shanghai by Jonthan Kaufman (NF). Maybe my favorite of the year. Gives the reader a great understand about how China developed its relationship with the west today told through the story of two Jewish families that emigrated to China from Iraq.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar (F). I usually read books instead of listening. This book changed my thinking about audio books. Akhtar is a story teller whose compelling voice explores family, identity, relationships, and allegiances. Though fiction, it richly borrows from Akhtar’s experiences growing up in an immigrant family in a frayed America. This is fiction that feels like nonfiction.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (NF). If Homeland Elegies is fiction that reads like nonfiction, this is the opposite: nonfiction that reads like fiction. A portrait of leadership during a most troubled time May 1940 – May 1941, I valued reading about how a great, though flawed, statesman rescued civilization. Stark contrast to the dangerous leadership of this country’s last four years.
The Deepest South of All by Richard Grant (NF). (Thank you Ellen Miller for recommending this book.) It is about Natchez, MS: the eclectic, colorful locals; the city’s culture, social, class and caste systems; the legacies of its slave owner families; its struggles with its past and present racism; its future viability. If you know New Orleans and its idiosyncrasies, Natchez makes NOLA seem rather dull. The book is alternately amusing, poignant, nauseating, and cringe worthy.
“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln
Each year, this post is always my favorite. It combines my love of reading with the opportunity to stay in touch with friends all around the country. My hope is that each of you will find a book or books that will bring pleasure in the months ahead. And I look forward to hearing from you about what you find here that is a good read.
This 2019 list is comprised of the favorite reads of 82 adults and six children (ages 2+ to almost 11). Slightly more contributors (51%-49%) were female, about the same as last year. There were an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction books cited. (Last year, nonfiction led fiction 53%-47%, and all the previous nine years fiction led nonfiction.)
I’ve organized the post in three ways:
I. The Books that have been cited by multiple readers are listed first.
II. Next, the Contributors are listed alphabetically by first name — to make it easy if you are looking for the favorites of someone you know — with the titles and authors next, followed by any comments they made about those books.
III.Finally, a Spread Sheetis arranged in alphabetical order by the first name of the Contributor for quick reference. You can print out this alphabetical list of the MillersTime Contributors whose names are followed by Book Title, Author, and whether it is Fiction (F) or nonfiction (NF).
Also, at the end of this post, I’ve linked to the yearly lists beginning in 2009, just in case you need more suggestions or want to know what you or others favored in the past.
I. Titles that appear on more than one reader’s list.
A Woman Is No Man, Etaf Fum
Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate
Bruno, Chief of Police Mysteries, Martin Walker
Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan
No-No Boy, John Okada
Normal People, Sally Rooney
Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout
Someone Knows My Name, Lawrence Hill
Stoner, John Williams
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
The Dutch House, Ann Patchett
The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne
The Nickel Boys, Colin Whitehead
The Other Americans, Laila Lalami
The Overstory, Richard Powers
The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Washington Black, Esi Edugyan
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
American Prison, Shane Bauer
Bad Blood, John Carreyrou
Becoming, Michelle Obama
Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow
Educated, Tara Westover
Furious Hours, Casey Cep
Grant, Ron Chernow
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
Leadership in Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin
“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln
Once again, you’re gonna need some time for this post.
And probably pen and paper (or whatever device you use these days to make your own lists) — to jot down some titles that you’ll likely want to add to your ‘to read’ list for 2016.
Despite a recurring theme in contributors’ emails about not reading as much this year, not finding as many memorable books, and/or not remembering the titles read, I think you’ll find an remarkably rich and diverse list of titles and comments.
Eighty-three of you contributed this year, listing 455 books, with fiction leading nonfiction 59% to 41%. More than 350 of the titles were only listed once or twice. The female-male division of contributors was 57%-43% (F/M), about what it has been in the past. Contributors ranged in age from 18 to 80, with most in the 30+ to 70+ year age range. (There was one ‘family’ contribution — grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter, tho I’m not sure they realized the others had contributed.)
While I don’t expect most of you will read all the way through this list (anyone who does can claim it as a book for next year), there is a tremendous amount of information here. I’ve organized it in several ways to make it all more user friendly:
The most frequently cited titles are listed first.
2. Then, the contributors are listed alphabetically — to make it easy to find a specific individual’s favorites — followed by the titles and authors of the books they most enjoyed this year and any comments they made about those books.
3. Also, two spread sheet links have been added this year to see the titles, authors, and MillersTime contributors in summary form:
To get to (and perhaps print out) either or both of these lists, click on the links in a) or b) above. Alternatively, you can get to these lists at the very end of this post.
4. You can also click on the title of any book mentioned on this post to go to Amazon to see more about the book and its availability. (I’m not pushing Amazon and as you know am a fan of independent bookstores, but I did want to give readers a quick way to see more about a particular title.)
5. And new this year, you can click on Public Library after any title in this post to see what is available in your local library. (Note you will have to type in your zip code when you connect to the site.)
Titles that appear on the Favorites List three times or more:
For me, however, the strength and value of this (and previous) years’ lists have more to do with what contributors say about a book than the number of times a book may be listed. Sometimes, books listed only once or twice are the ones I most want to read in the coming year.
Just a reminder — this list is not meant to be the best books published in 2015, but rather what the title of this posting states — The Books Most Enjoyed by MillersTime Readers in 2015.
This list would not have been possible if those who contributed had not taken the time to send their favorite reads and their thoughtful comments. So, much thanks to all who did, those who have done so in the past — and continued to do so — and those who are new contributors.
Please forgive my endless reminders, though the results, I hope, may have been worth the nagging. (Late additions — please feel free to send them — will be posted as they arrive, without any snarky comments from the editor.)
And, of course, I take responsibility for any inaccuracies or mistakes in the posting of the titles, authors, comments, etc. as MillersTime readers rarely make grammatical or other mistakes in their submissions. Please feel free to let me know about any of my errors as I can correct them quickly and easily.
Feel free to share this post with others — family, friends, book clubs, etc.