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I was very pleased with the books I read this year. I failed to read a science fiction novel as I intended, but I read fantasy (“Bathing the Lion”) and a dystopian novel (“The “Bone Clocks”). I read a fair number of foreign authors and novels based in foreign countries. The description of the book below will tell you its locale.

MY FAVORITE BOOK FOR 2015: “Lila” by Marilynne Robinson. I was surprised that it was not Short-Listed for the Man Booker Prize. It juxtaposes spirituality and religious beliefs.

MY FAVORITE SHORT STORY COLLECTION: “Night at the Fiestas” by Kirstin Valdes Quade. A great new voice. Edith Pearlman’s “Honeydew” was also excellent, but it is expected of her. Same with Colum McCann’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking”.

MOST ORIGINAL BOOK: “The Book of Duels” by Michael Garriga. A collection of micro stories. What “Hamilton” is to theatre, this might be to short story writing. Very creative. Honorable Mention: “Orfeo” by Richard Powers.

MY FAVORITE FIRST PARAGRAPH:  I love first paragraphs. The great Margaret Atwood wrote a beautiful one in her title story “Stone Mattress”.

DISAPPOINTMENTS:

“Amnesia” by Peter Carey. This seems to have been an experiment by an otherwise gifted writer.

“Memories of Melancholy Whores” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Maybe a long night drinking or just getting old. Rather disturbing.

“The Body Where I Was Born” by Guadalupe Nettel. It was favorably received but it did not resonate with me.

JANUARY

Tinkers by Paul Harding. Locale: U.S. Published by Bellevue Literary Press.

The Search for Heinrich Schlögel by Martha Baillie. Locale: Germany and Arctic Canada. Published by Tin House in the U.S.

The King  by Khader Abdolah. Locale: Persia. Published by New Directions. Translated from Dutch by Nancy Forest-Flier.

FEBRUARY

The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey. Locale: France. Published by Bloomsbury. Historical Fiction.

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. Locale: Malaysia. Published by Weinstein Books. Long-Listed for the Man Booker Prize. Historical Fiction.

The Book of Duels  by Michael Garriga (micro-short stories). Locale: U.S. Published by Milkweed Editions. Historical Fiction. Inventive.

MARCH

In Paradise  by Peter Matthiessen. Locale:Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau). Published by Riverhead Books. Historical Fiction. His last book.

Orfeo by Richard Powers. Locale: U.S.. Published by W.W. Norton & Company. Genetics and modern music historical fiction. Inventive.

Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Indian-American author.  Locale: India. Published by Alfred A. Knopf. Historical fiction. Short-Listed for Man Booker Prize.

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibin. Irish author. Locale: Ireland. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter Pouncey. Locale: U.S.. Published by Random House. Historical fiction.

APRIL

Cré na Cille by Máirtin Ó Cadhain. Irish author. Locale: Ireland. Translated by Alan Titley. Published by Yale University Press.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. U.S. author. Locale: U.S. Published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Redeployment by Phil Klay. U.S. author. Locale: Iraq and Afghanistan. Published by Penguin Press. National Book Award.

MAY

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. British author. Locale: Dystopian fantasy based in England and Switzerland. Published by Random House. Long-Listed for the Man Booker Prize and short-listed for the World Fantasy Award.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. U.S. author. Locale: U.S. Published by Marian Wood Books/Putnam. Winner of Pen/Faulkner Award and short-listed for Man Booker Prize.

JUNE

Memories of Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez. Columbian author: Locale: Columbia. Translated by Edith Grossman. Published by Knopf.

The Shadows of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto. Pakistani author. Locale: Pakistan and Afghanistan. Published by Penguin.

The Tusk that Did the Damage by Tania James. Indian American author. Locale: India. Published by Knopf.

JULY

Amnesia by Peter Carey. Australian author. Locale: Australia. Published by Knopf. Historical Fiction, in part.

Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll. U.S. author. Locale: U.S. (fantasy). Published by St. Martin’s Press.

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (short stories’tales- novella). Canadian author. Locale: Varied. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant (short stories). Canadian-Francophile author. Locale: France. Published by NYRB Classics.

AUGUST

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. Moroccan-American author. Locale: Pre-colonial America. Historical Fiction. Long-Listed for the Man Booker Prize. Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Published by Vintage.

The Body Where I Was Born by Guadalupe Nettel. Mexican author. Locale: Mexico and France. Published by Seven Stories Press.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson. U.S. author. Locale: U.S. Published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. National Book Award Finalist. Short-Listed Man Booker Prize.

Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdee (short stories). U.S. author. Locale: U.S. Published by Norton. This collection was included in the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2015”.

SEPTEMBER

His Own Man by Edgard Telles Ribeiro. Brazilian author. Locale: Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Published by Other Press. Historical Fiction. Translated by Kim Hastings. Winner of the Brazilian Pen Prize.

Honeydew by Edith Pearlman (short stories). U.S. author. Locale: U.S. Published by Little Brown & Co. This collection was included in the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2015”.

Peace by Richard Bausch. U.S. author. Locale: Italy (WWII). Published by Knopf.

OCTOBER

Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar- Israeli author. Locale: Israel (war of independence). Published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Nicholas de Lange and Yacoob Dweck translators.

Lazarus is Dead by Richard Beard.  English author. Locale: Palestine. Published by Europa Editions

NOVEMBER

The Centurions by Jean Lartéguy- French author. Locale Indo-China, France and Algeria. Published by Penguin Classics. A military cult classic.

The Infinities by John Banville- Irish author. Locale: Ostensibly Ireland. Published by Alfred A. Knopf.

DECEMBER

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann (short stories). This collection was included in the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2015”.

City Beasts by Mark Kurlansky (short stories). Locales: U.S.; Basque Spain; Mexico; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti. Published by Riverhead Books.

The Stone Woman by Tariq Ali. British Pakistani author. Locale: Ottoman Empire. Published by Verso.

AUTHORS

Khader Abdolah- Persian-Dutch author. This is his pen-name. His legal name is Hossein Sadjadi Ghaemmaghami Farahani. His pen name is a composition of the names of two of his friends who were executed.

Tariq Ali- British Pakistani author, journalist and filmmaker.

Margaret Atwood-Canadian author. The incomparable writer of dark tales of fantasy and horror and a treasure of the Northland. Short-listed for the Man Booker, winner of Arthur C. Clarke Award. Also a poet and literary critic.

Martha Baillie-Canadian author.

John Banville- Irish author and playwright. Man Booker  and Kafka Prize recipient. Numerous Irish Book Awards. Writes under pen name Benjamin Black on occasion.

Richard Bausch- U.S. author. Recipient of PEN/Malamud Award and Rea Award for Short Story.

Richard Beard- English author.

Fatima Bhutto- Pakistani author. Member of the powerful Bhutto family in Pakistan. She grew up in Damascus but now resides in Pakistan.

Mártin Ó Cadhain- Irish author.

Peter Carey- Australian author. Twice the recipient of the Man Booker Prize.

Jonathan Carroll- U.S. author. Fantasy in the style of Neil Gaimen.

Maud Casey- U.S. author.

Tan Twan Eng- Malaysian author. His second novel “The Garden of Evening Mists” was Short-Listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Karen Joy Fowler- U.S. author. Pen/Faulkner Award recipient and short-listed for Man Booker Prize.

Mavis Gallant- Canadian-Francophile author. Reknown writer of short stories, considered by other authors to be a writer’s writer.

Michael Garriga- U.S. author.

Paul Harding- U.S. author. 2010 Pulitizer Prize winner for fiction.

Tania James- Indian American novelist.

Phil Klay- U.S. author. Recipient of National Book Award. Recipient of National Book Foundation “5 under 35” award.

Mark Kurlansky- U.S. author of non-fiction and fiction, particularly about food, culture and history.

Jhumpa Lahiri- U.S.- Indian author. Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.

Laila Lalami- Moroccan-American author.

Jean Lartéguy- French author and journalist. His legal name is Jean Pierre Lucien Osty. Writes from experience as he was a war hero.

Gabriel García Márquez- Columbian author. Recipient of Nobel Prize in Literature.

Peter Matthiessen-U.S. author. Co-founder of The Paris Review and 3 time National Book Award recipient for fiction and non-fiction.

Colum McCann- Irish author.

David Mitchell- British author.  Twice short-listed for Man Booker Prize.

Guadalupe Nettel- Mexican author.

Edith Pearlman- U.S. author of short stories. Winner of National Book Circle Critics Award, PEN/Malamud Award, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize.

Sylvia Plath- U.S. poet and novelist.

Peter Pouncey- U.S. author.

Richard Powers- U.S. author. National Book Award recipient that writes creative fiction about science and  technology.

Kirstin Valdez Quade- U.S. author. Recipient of National Book Foundation “5 under 35” award.

Edgard Telles Ribeiro-Brazilian author and diplomat.

Marilynne Robinson- U.S. author. Pulitzer Prize, Orange Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award recipient and nominee for National Book Award and Man Booker Prize. Lila is part of an awarded trilogy with Gilead and Home.

Colm Tóibin- Irish author. Short-Listed for Man Booker Prize a couple of times.

S. Yizhar- pen name for Yizhar Smilansky.

 

 

 

 

 

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