Check Out the Books On My Reading List Through 2016 and See Why I Choose Them. My Reviews Will Follow!

books to readEach year I have the agony and the ecstasy of choosing nine books to read with my Indianapolis book discussion group. I don’t read the books before I select them. I choose them on the basis of reviews (New York Review of Books, the magazine Bookmarks, NPR) and recommendations from friends, librarians, writers, and bookstore staff. Below is our 2015-2016 list and the reasons I included each title:

The Zhivago Affair; The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée. The question in my mind before I read this nonfiction “book about a book” is how in the world did Pasternak have the courage to write a novel critical of the Soviet regime while living in the U.S.S.R. under Stalin?

Lila by Marilynne Robinson. Our group has read the companion pieces to this latest novel by Robinson (Gilead, which won a Pulitzer, and Home) and this was a shoo-in.

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. I read a review that summarized a few of his more recent novels.  Johnson describes himself as a Christian, which intrigues me but most of his books are very long.  I thought I’d like to try him out through this very short piece written fairly early in his writing career.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This one is being talked about everywhere and its subject – how we think about life and death here in the U.S. – is so critical as we grapple with issues such as health care and end-of-life decisions.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. The most recent Pulitzer Prize winner, highly recommended by reviewers and friends alike…can’t wait to dip into this one.

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín. When I read a review of this novel, the main character and the issues she confronts completely captured me.

Ninety Percent of Everything; Inside Shipping by Rose George. I heard the author interviewed on NPR and loved the way she made what seemed like a boring subject – the shipping industry – exciting. 

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker and The Orchardist by Amanda CoplinThese two novels were recommended by a woman who used to be in our discussion group, moved to Portland, Oregon, started a discussion group of her own, and included them on her list.

Note:  I’ll be posting reviews of the titles I most enjoy on my website.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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