I am going to go ahead and post a list of the books I read this year. I am in a bit of a reading lull right now and don't think I'll finish the one I have started. If I do, I'll add a post-script to this post. I'll add comments below.
1. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg (F).
2. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (NF).
3. The World's Largest Man by Harrison Scott Key (NF).
4. A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (F).
5. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (F).
6. Good Apple by Elizabeth Passarella (NF).
7. The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson (F).
8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Mongham (F).
9. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (F).
10. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (NF).
11. The Tender Bar by J.R. Moeringer (NF).
12. Divided We Fall by David French (NF).
13. Congratulations, Who Are You Again? by Harrison Scott Key (NF).
14. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away by Jonas Jonasson (F).
15. Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad (NF).
16. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (F).
17. Sooley by John Grisham (F).
18. West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge (F).
19. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (F).
20. Faithful Presence by Bill Haslam (NF).
21. Jack by Marilynne Robinson (F).
22. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (NF).
23. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (F).
24. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (F).
25. The President's Daughter by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (F).
26. Reasons to Live by Matt Haig (NF).
27. Forty Autumns by Nina Willner (NF).
28. The Great Blue Hills of God by Kreiss Bell (NF).
29. The Best of Me by David Sedaris (NF).
30. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (NF).
31. My Last Name by Eric Schumaker (F).
I was about even with fiction and non-fiction this year, which is unusual. In years past it has been commonly about one-third non-fiction and two-thirds fiction. But as I've said before, I don't have any real goals -- I just read them as they come, and I enjoy good non-fiction as much as good fiction.
And this year I seemed to hit on some really good non-fiction. Harrison Scott Key, author of "The World's Largest Man" and "Congratulations, Who Are You Again?" is a great find. The first one, a memoir, is his first, and the second is the story of how it came about. These are two of the funniest books I have ever read and I can't recommend them enough.
Speaking of funny, I read a couple more by David Sedaris, who never disappoints. All the other non-fictions were enjoyable, but my hands-down favorite was "Forty Autumns," recommended to me by Kelly (who also never disappoints with her recommendations), the story of a woman who escaped East Germany, told by her daughter.
On the fiction side, John Grisham's "Sooley" was a departure from his usual legal thrillers into the world of sports (basketball) and it was another Grisham page turner. All the fiction was also good (including the other Grisham book, "A Time for Mercy"). "Jack" by Marilynne Robinson probably rose above the others. It includes characters from her previous books "Gilead," "Lila" and "Home," and the writing is, quite simply, beautiful.
"The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop" and "The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek" would be in a tie for second in fiction for me this year.
Happy to comment on any of the others you might be wondering about. Send an email and we can discuss. There is not a book listed here I did not like.
It was a good reading year. As I said, here at year-end I'm in a bit of a lull, but I expect things to pick up once the holidays are behind me. The TBR stack only gets higher!
It was also a good year on the blog, with 28 posts, the most I've had since 2011. I still enjoy reading your blogs and I'm happy to have added a couple to my regulars this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year -- and happy reading, of course -- to all of you.