I bumped in to this thread because someone made a new talk-about-books post, so I thought I would bump this one as there's a lot of good books mentioned in it.
Here's what I have loaded on to my Nook this year (I have also read a few paper books! still have a soft spot for them):
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Bill McKibben (of 350.org) Non-fiction, but an absolute must read for anyone who is concerned about what we are doing to our planet, wants a better understanding, etc. His writing (like his speeches) is very clear and powerful.
Soft Apocalypse Will McIntosh end of civilization as we know it novel. It's been done a lot before, this doesn't have much new to say.
Years Best SF 1, ed David Hartwell. Science Fiction short stories.
Valley of Amazement Amy Tan. If you have read any of her other novels, she always writes about Chinese history and culture, especially in the period late 1800's to late 1900's She's a good writer, but I don't think this is her best.
Look me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's. John E. Robison. First person memoir about his experiences growing up as an abused child with undiagnosed Aspergers. At times the writing seems kind of wooden and strange, but that's because he has Asperger's syndrome! They have difficulty recognizing/ expressing any emotions.
Finding Jake, Bryan Reardon. Novel about a school shooting and its aftermath. Seems a little like capitalizing on a current hot off the presses issue.
Dolley, Rita Mae Brown. Slightly fictionalized biography of Dolley Madison - fictionalized just to fill in the gaps in the record, since the record is sparse. Rita Mae Brown is a strong feminist and a strong writer. Many of the issues Dolley and other women were dealing with back then seem still very relevant.
Frozen in Time: An Epic story of survival and a modern quest for lost heroes of WWII, Mitchell Zuckoff. non-fiction. During the war, three different planes went down in terrible Arctic conditions on Greenland. This documents exhaustively
, the rescue attempts that were made at the time and the current attempts to find the planes and bring the bodies home.
Rock with Wings, Anne Hillerman Anne Hillerman is Tony Hillerman's daughter. She is keeping his Navajo police murder mystery series going. Unlike many such attempts, I actually think her books are better written than his -- greater depth of characterization. If you live in the SW or love the SW you will love these books.
The Maytrees. Annie Dillard. I like some of her writing, but this one was very strange and did not grab me. A novel, sort of an anti- love story
Bloom: Find Beauty in the Unexpected -- A memoir. First person story about a woman with a down's syndrome baby and how she learns to love her child and appreciate her gifts. A little sappy for my taste, but to each their own
Lovey, Mary MacCracken and Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden. I grouped these because these two authors write very similar books about their experiences as special ed teachers with very disturbed children. Very well written although the love heals everything happy endings seem kind of predictable.
Song at Dawn (first in a quartet of novels). Historical fiction about life in France in the Dark Ages (e.g. 1150)
Death By a HoneyBee, Abigail Kearn. Entertaining murder mystery in which the victim, a beekeeper, was stung to death.
The Losing Role Steve Anderson. Historical fiction about WWII, based on a real event, a troupe of German actors is put together to impersonate American soldiers as a spy attempt. I didn't enjoy it very much.
Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle Series #1) Neal Stephenson has written some very good science fiction. This is just him indulging his hobby. It is a non-novel about life in London and Boston in the 1600;s OMG! I got stuck on page 243 of 1180! And this is book one! It has NO plot, no characterization, just a bunch of stuff about what life was like then. Not entertaining enough to keep me reading 1200 pages.
Other than Quicksilver, I finished them all. In case you wondered, no this did not cost me a fortune. I discovered BookBub. https://www.bookbub.com/ebook-deals/recommended
every day they send me an email with today's book deals. The books are priced from 99 cents to 2.99, with an occasional freebie thrown in. You can tell them what genres you like and give them a list of your favorite authors. Sometimes you get an extra offer of a new book by one of your favorite authors. Each daily specials email has a book in each category you asked for. You never have to buy anything, but if you don't take advantage of today's specials, tomorrow they go back to regular price (usually $12-15 - I never understood why a digital book should cost as much as a paper/ printed one. $2 seems like a much more reasonable price. ) So if you don't mind reading stuff that wasn't something you specifically picked out, you can read to your heart's content! You can see from my mini-reviews that there have been some successes and some fails.