Results from the 2016-2017 Survey:
The best book I have read this year is...
- Many Alarm Clocks by Sy Safransky
“Beautiful writing that examines the world and one’s place in it.”
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
“This is actually a re-read for me, as it is my favorite book. I have probably read it 12 times! I love Marquez's ability to describe the mundane and ordinary and make it sound special and extraordinary. I think he paints such an exquisitely painful portrait of unrequited love, while also appeasing the reader with a happy ending.”
- Glory Over Everything (Sequel to The Kitchen House) by Kathleen Grissom
“I was so excited upon finishing The Kitchen House to learn there was going to be a sequel. This book did not disappoint. Through the final third of the book, I could not read the sentences or turn the pages fast enough. I love Grissom's style of alternating narrators - I enjoy the differing perspectives. This book gains steam very quickly and does not let up. Great choice for those who love historical fiction, especially about the antebellum South.”
- The Female of the Species by Mindy McGuinness
“I liked that this book was so unpredictable and I also liked that the main character didn't conform to societal gender roles and expectations.”
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
“Lahiri has perfected the ability to capture human emotions through her characters. Also, this is a book of short stories, so it is easy to pick up and read if you have minimal time.”
- The Orientalist by Tom Reiss
“I've read so many delightful books this past year that it's hard to narrow it to one. But the most satisfying book for me was The Orientalist by Tom Reiss because of the many personal connections I made to it. Plus the author's style is engaging. The footnotes were informative and I learned a great deal about turn of the century Baku in Azerbaijan. It is the second book I've read by Reiss. Both are nonfiction histories that I bet many history buffs would love. I started the summer with a goal to read all of the important Russian authors...especially Tolstoy. Though I didn't reach my goal, I made progress and found books related to Russia and the Bolshevik Revolution. The Orientalist was one of those books. It traced the life of an incredible man from Baku across Europe (Paris, Berlin, Positano). Many of the places (hotels, etc.) that were mentioned were places that I have visited. It was really cool.”
My Anonia by Willa Cather
"Beautiful prose; complex characters. Poignant story of the enduring and endearing friendship between two young people - an immigrant girl from Bohemia and an orphan boy from Virginia - whose lives intersect on the Prairie. It is a reminder of the hardships faced by the immigrants who helped make this country a great one."
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
"It was funny, relatable, and thought-provking."