Last year I ran a series of blog posts on Christmas book giving ideas, naming my favorites from the year. It was received well – so this is the second annual series! (I so cannot believe it’s Christmas-time already!)
A Watershed Year by Susan Schoenberger
Themes: Adoption, Death of a Friend
If you are looking for a book that will knock your socks off and grab you by the shoulders and shake you until you cry, this is it. By far, one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The Doll: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Short Stories
Themes: Realism (Life stories), Gothic
I know, however, that this is one of the best collections of short stories I’ve read. I can say this because this tiny little book inspires me to try my own hand at short stories, even though they’ll be no where near as perfect as du Maurier’s. Still.. these stories have shown me the endless possibilities that can be reached with just a few pages of story – and how much wealth there is in a backstory and future that are left untold.
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Themes: Steampunk, Space Western
The Alloy of Law is a fantastic mix of steampunk and western (think Firefly). It mixes magic with gun-slinging and adds a bit of romance in just to flavor the adventure. Even if you haven’t been introduced to the world of Mistborn (the trilogy preceding this story), it’s easy to get involved with the storyline and will spark interest in the other books. Fantastic story, magic system and world-building, all three a must for a good fantasy book.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
Themes: Old West, History
Hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Throw all those points above aside, Mary Doria Russell has awoken a passionate interest in those old cowboys that I never, ever thought was even there. I fell in love with Doc Holliday through the pages of this story and… even more so in love with Wyatt Earp.
When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt
Themes: Immigration, The Great Chicago Fire
Pamela Schoenewaldt writes so beautifully about Italy, about the culture, the food, the scenery. She describes with a brush of truth what life would have been like for a plain girl such as Irma. Without emotion to cloud the story (other than Irma’s own emotion), I followed the ups and downs of every event with my heart in my throat. Honestly, this would make for a fantastic book club discussion book and I intend to write it down on my list.