Memberjhowell

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Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Real Name
Jen
About My Library

I love fiction -- literary, historical, mystery especially. I like the literary fiction, including most classics, but I do descend into low brow guilty pleasures like the 'Outlander,' mystery series, and true crime. I have some problems with contemporary authors who write heavy-handed politically correct treatises and as I age I am less tolerant of pretension. I started reading intentionally in 2006 to become 'well-read,' but I am gradually trending more to what I like and taking less risks -- because I rarely if ever do not finish what I start, and I am beginning to feel that time slips away. I take a lot of inspiration from other Library Thing catalogers whose libraries and reviews I peruse when I can.

My library is basically all the books that I can think of that I know I have read or that physically stand in my bookshelf. I know that I have read many, many more books than this but they have slipped away from my memory or are books from childhood which I have chosen not to include. I have tried to write at least a cursory review (more of an impression, really) of every book (spoiler-free). Since 1/2006 I have been keeping a book journal, so my more recently cataloged books contain my immediate thoughts upon finishing each selection.

My favorites list is the 10-year compilation of all the "5-star" books I have read and reviewed since I began my Library Thing catalogue in 2006.


For the last several years; I have listed my top 5 reads of the year in order here:
For the year 2013 I have read 44 novels (all but one fiction) and the top five in order are:
1. Siege of Krishnapur - J.G. Farrell
2. Ahab's Wife - Sara Jean Naslund
3. Birdsong - Sebastian Falk
4. Trapeze - Simon Mawer
5. Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman

In 2014 I have read 35 books (all but 2 fiction) and the to 5 in order are:
1. Life after Life - Kate Atkinson
2. The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson
3. Descent - Tim Johnson (LT Early Reviewer selection)
4. The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
5. The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy

In the year 2015, I have read 43 books, and the top 5 in order are:
1. Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates
2. The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (LT early reviewer selection)
4. The Goldfinch by Donna Trattt
5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

For 2016, I have read 53 books; vast majority fiction as usual. My top 5 in order are:
1. A Little Life - Hanya Yanghira
2. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
3. Fates and Furies - Lauren Goff
4. A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson
5. Station Eleven - Emily St John Mandel

For 2017, I have read 55 books; mostly fiction but have begun to seek out highly rated non-fiction as well. The top 5 in order are:
1. The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne (LT Early Reviewer)
2. A Judgement in Stone - Ruth Rendell
3. A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James
4. Notes on a Scandal - Zoe Heller
5. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For 2018, I have read 60 books and for the first time a significant portion were non-fiction: roughly 1/3rd. Top 5 in order:

1. Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively
2. A Prayer for Own Meaney - John Irving [re-read]
3. Imagine Me Gone - Adam Haslett
4. My Sister, My Love - Joyce Carol Oates
5. Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz

For 2019 I have read 59 books. Fiction/non-fiction split - ~ 1/3rd non-fiction again this year (an almost identical reading profile to last year; unplanned) The top 5 in order are:

1. The Raj Quartet - Paul Scott (Jewel in the Crown, Day of the Scorpion, Tower of Silence, Division of Spoils) - I don't think I can single one out as being better or worse, but as a whole they were the finest reading experience of the year.
2. Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
3. Olive, Again - Elizabeth Strout
4. Wolves of Eden - Kevin McCarthy
5. The Warmth of Other Sons - Isabel Wilkinson (non-fiction)

2020 - 65 ~ 1/3rd non-fiction
1. Watership Down - Richard Adams (re-read) 5 stars
2. Night, Sleep, Death, The Stars - Joyce Carol Oates - 4 1/2 stars
3. Guest House for Young Widows - (non-fiction) 4 1/2 stars
4. The Dutch House - Ann Patchett - 4 1/2 stars
5. The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead - 4 1/2 stars

2021 I have read 69 books; just a little less non-fiction than the last few years - a little less than 1/3rd. The Top 5 in order are:

1. Troubles - JG Farrell 5 stars
2. Prep - Curtis Sittenfeld - 4 1/2 stars
3. Notes on a Silencing - Lucy Crawford - (non-fiction) - 4 1/2 stars
4. Shugie Bain - Douglas Stuart - 4 1/2 stars
5. Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala - (non-fiction) - 4 1/2 stars

2022 I have read 59 books; fiction 38/non-fiction 21. The Top 5 in order:

  1. To Serve Them All of My Days - R.F. Delderfield - 5 stars
  2. Young Mungo - Douglas Stuart - 5 stars
  3. Brazzaville Beach - William Boyd - 5 stars
  4. Klara and the Sun - Kazuo Ishiguro - 4 1/2 stars
  5. Hollywood Park - Mikel Jollet (non-fiction) - 4/1/2 stars

About Me

52 yo lifetime reader. Reading is my solace and joy and keeps me grounded in this crazy world.

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North Carolina
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