I do my best to jot down a few notes about each book, but don't always have the time and attention span. Want to know what I thought about any of these? Shoot me a note.
BLACK WATER RISING, by Attica Locke - This is a DEBUT? Socks solidly knocked off. I actually went back through certain scenes for lessons on how to keep action moving in my own work-in-progress.
THE CASUAL VACANCY, by J.K. Rowling - I don't understand why this book didn't get more press. Maybe it did in the UK, and I'm just being US-centric. It's a jaw-dropping book, huge and complex, with a menagerie of intertwined characters and stories, all of them smooth and consistent and hella entertaining. Oh, and by the way it also manages to tackle one of the trickiest and most polarizing questions hovering over all Western societies today. An incredible, if sometimes hard to read, book.
LETHAL WHITE, by Robert Galbraith - I put this book on hold at the library, then couldn't wait and barged over there to pick up the nonrenewable HOT PICKS copy. The nice lady at the front desk told me to keep my hold, in case I couldn't finish the 600+ pages in my allotted 3 weeks. Ha! Amateur. She clearly has no idea what a superhuman will to ignore all domestic responsibilities can accomplish. I finished the book in two days. Fans of the series will find this one particularly satisfying because it fixes some of the "Empire Strikes Back" angst leftover from the previous book (CAREER OF EVIL).
THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: HOW TOTALITARIANISM RECLAIMED RUSSIA, by Masha Gessen - Anyone who, like me, has sort of "lost track" of Russia and its satellites after the breakup of the Soviet Union should read this fascinating journalistic exploration of why Russia is such an irredeemable trash fire.
SWAG, by Elmore Leonard - Love my man Elmore Leonard, and get how ambiguous his protagonists always are, but I dunno man, the two assholes in this one were tough to root for. I couldn't wait for them to get dragged back to jail so I could read something by Leonard that is more pleasant, such as …
FREAKY DEAKY, by Elmore Leonard - This was the first Elmore Leonard book I ever read (just rereading it now), and it made me a lifelong fan. I understood within the first few pages where Tarantino gets all his best material.
LOST GIRLS, by Robert Kolker
AFTER HENRY, by Joan Didion
THE WHITE ALBUM, by Joan Didion
SLOUCHING TOWARD BETHLEHEM, by Joan Didion
SOUTH AND WEST, by Joan Didion - WHERE HAVE PEOPLE BEEN HIDING JOAN DIDION FROM ME ALL THESE YEARS?
ANIMALS EAT EACH OTHER, by Elle Nash - A solid debut. One of those books where I didn't so much enjoy what I was reading as recognize the potential of the author. I look forward to reading her next book.
EMERALD CITY, by Jennifer Egan - Breathtaking short stories from the author of A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, another book I highly recommend.
STRANGE WEATHER, by Joe Hill
SPOONBENDERS, by Daryl Gregory
THE LONELY HEARTS HOTEL, by Heather O'Neill - One of my favorite books this year, a strange, beautiful book with a vicious streak under its magic. The word "magical" is used too often and too glibly to describe books, but this one earns it by accessing the fragile, wordless beauty at the heart of our childhood experiences with art.
AUTONOMOUS, by Annalee Newitz
YOU WILL KNOW ME, by Megan Abbott
BLOOD ON SNOW, by Jo Nesbo
THE OBELISK GATE, by J.K. Jemisin
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, by Walter M. Mosley
THE FIFTH SEASON, by J.K. Jemisin
SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE, by Ijeoma Oluo
FISH WEILDER, by J.R.R. (Jim) Hardison
HUNGER, by Roxane Gay
GUARDIAN OF DECEIT, by William H. Coles
THREE MOMENTS OF AN EXPLOSION, by China Mieville