These are the books that I’ve been giving people this year, and that I suspect I’ll return to myself. I’d love any recommendations from readers in return.
Elena Ferrante, The Story of the Lost Child. This is the concluding volume of an extraordinary quartet about two friends from Naples. I’ve been pressing these on people since the first of the series, which was My Brilliant Friend. A reader does have to start with that first one. But I expect that I’ll never stop thinking about this series of novels.
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant. I saw only lukewarm to terrible reviews for this, and indeed the reading experience is slow at first. Still, it turned into a profound piece of work, for me at least. I think this is Ishiguro’s best since Remains of the Day.
Elizabeth Alexander, The Light of the World. A beautiful book, a memoir, a reflection on art and love, and a tribute to Alexander’s husband, who died suddenly and unexpectedly. If you’ve lost anyone, you’ll probably relate. But it’s also an inspiration.
Patrick Leigh Fermor, The Broken Road. This is another “end of a series” book, in this case the last of a trilogy that began with A Time of Gifts. If you are a fan of A Time of Gifts, then The Broken Road is itself a wonderful, unexpected gift. If you’ve never read A Time of Gifts, then start there; that’s a remarkable book.
Just Good Reads
The first four books are on the heavy side. So here are some that were more fun.
Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Charming and uplifting. It’s a light and fun book, but also a good one. One of my librarian friends recommended this to me when I needed a mood lifter. She was so right.
Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve been dipping into these on my Kindle throughout the past year. Conan Doyle is such a good, old-fashioned writer: I love his vigorous prose, his sense of irony and his knack for telling a story.