Books I read this year, not necessarily books published this year.
  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi
    Static
    No book stayed with me the way this one did. Kalinithi's writing is nothing short of gorgeous as he details his journey from healer to patient. It's the rare book that truly makes you re-examine your own life.
  2. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
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    Sometimes you pick up a book knowing almost nothing about it and it feels like finding lost treasure. This slight meditation on a marriage was that for me, surprising me with its beauty, wisdom and sense of humor.
  3. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
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    I finally got around to reading this 2011 novel and liked it far more than I expected. Sometimes you read a book at exactly the right time in your life and this tale of a brother and sister finding their way back to each other hit me where I live.
  4. The Nix by Nathan Hill
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    Maybe the longest novel I read this year and a highly entertaining and engaging place to settle in and spend some time.
  5. Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson
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    Another theme the universe kept putting in my path this year was social injustice in our prison system. Stevenson's tale of fighting for clients unfairly sitting on death row in the south should be required reading for all Americans.
  6. The Girls by Emma Cline
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    I hesitated to include this because there were times when Cline's over-writing had me rolling my eyes. But the story kept me rapt, then slid under my skin and stayed there for months. If that isn't good storytelling, I don't know what is.
  7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
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    Occasionally I get around to reading some of those classics that have inexplicably fallen through the cracks. This was one, which I devoured in two days and was reminded why Jackson was such a master at being subtly chilling.