Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bookseller Top Tens Part III : Return of... (something clever and book related)

This is it. I'm pretty proud of how I managed to finish these before February. Part 1, here; Part 2, here. Enjoy our favorite books.

Sinead at Ravenna
Sinead is one of our newest booksellers (and my new favorite person). She's got crazy good, wildly interesting taste.

Kalani at Lake Forest Park
Kalani wins for my favorite list. I love all the favorites..."favorite beginning," "favorite ending;" makes me want to redo my list. I'm also super impressed by the variety.
  • The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mashima
    • (Favorite Ending) One of the most hauntingly beautiful endings I've ever read. The reader understands what going to happen very early on in this short novel yet somehow the last page takes you by complete surprise.
  • The Collective by Don Lee
    • (Favorite Beginning) Asian-American characters have never been more multi-faceted than they are in this novel that defies racial stereotypes while giving us a glimpse of the struggles of being a starving artist. Our central character gets hit by a car and dies on the second page. It’s impossible to stop reading from there as we rewind several years back. 
  • Open City by Teju Cole - 
    • (Favorite Fiction) I find myself thinking about this introspective novel quite frequently. Like The Collective, this novel crushes cultural stereotypes and brings the reader deep into the psyche of a young Nigerian resident psychiatrist in New York City. 
  • We Live in Water by Jess Walter - 
    • (Favorite Short Story) Walter’s collection of stories brings the small-town Northwest region to life with an array of down on their luck characters (hobos, gamblers, thieves, etc.). The opening story, my favorite, “Anything Helps,” is about a homeless panhandler who wants to buy the new Harry Potter book. It’s funny but sad yet frighteningly realistic. 
  • Gruesome Playground Injuries/Animals Out of Paper/Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo  3 Plays by Rajiv Joseph 
    • (Favorite Play) All three of these plays are wildly different but absolutely fantastic. Do not make me pick a favorite. I would pay top dollar to see any one of these performed live (Yes, this is a local challenge). “Rajiv Joseph” will be a name to watch for a long time. 
  • Big Little Man by Alex Tizon 
    • (Favorite Bio) This is more a biography of an entire group of people rather than an individual. Alex Tizon writes about his life growing up as a Filipino-American, yet, it is a highly recognizable tale many Asian-Americans of today (like myself) can fully relate to. This bio becomes more of an investigative study on the concept of masculinity and a criticism about American culture. 
  • Pieces for the Left Hand  by J. Robert Lennon 
    • (Favorite collection) I recommend slow reading this book because each short short (100 in total) is packed with entertaining and bizarre fictional anecdotes from a small college town in upstate New York. 
  • A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood 
    • (Favorite Audiobook) This gets my personal “audiobook” of the year award. The Audie-Award winning narrator Simon Prebble actually makes Colin Firth’s film performance of the same role sound second-rate. 
  • Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich 
    • (Favorite Humor Book) This former SNL-writer is proving you can get big laughs without a TV screen. While the stories are frequently over-the-top silly, there is a nice blend of social commentary that make this collection uniquely funny and smart. 
  • War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite 
    • (Favorite Not Yet Released Book) I would not be surprised to see this book on similar top-10 lists by the end of next year. A fantastic coming-of-age/war story written by a pair of first-time writers. Captures the Generation-Y apathy in the early days on the Iraq War when “MySpace.com” ruled the internet.

Michael at Ravenna
Here's another vote for Blood Will Out. Surprising dark horse of the TPB bookseller top tens. Also, The Farmer and the Clown is probably the greatest picture book of all time.

Emily A. at Lake Forest Park
More fabulous exposition. I really need to up my Top Ten game next year.
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 
    • I'm totally cheating because I read this book as an advance in July 2013. But it wasn't published until May 2014, so I had to bottle up my enthusiasm for way too long. It was shortlisted for the National Book Award, and it should have won by a mile. (full disclosure: I didn't read any of the other shortlist books, but how could anything be better than this?) Beautifully written 
  • Descent by Tim Johnston (due January 2015) 
    • A perfect blend of literary fiction and heart-pounding suspense. 
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    • In Ove's ideal world, everyone would follow the rules, act with integrity at all times, and drive a Saab. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has other ideas. Hilarious, heart-wrenching, and a little absurd, this novel won me over on the first page. The short chapters make this an ideal book to keep in your bag for spare moments here and there in waiting rooms or on your transit commute. I didn't want it to end. 
  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
    • Beautiful, frank, honest, and funny - this is Toews at her best. 
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    • According to my notebook I finished this book on December 28, 2013, but I'm including it here anyway because it has stuck with me all year and was too late to include on last year's best-of list. I have gone back and started re-reading it twice while between books, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how compelled I was to continue. The 
  • Remedy for Love by Bill Roorbach
    • Even in the modern world, nature can still exert its will. In this thoughtful story, two people are brought together, surprising each other and themselves as they become acquainted. Gnashing, clashing, and surviving together, the protagonists fight memory and fantasy in an attempt to overcome the past and move into the future (preferably one with heat and plumbing). 
  • Boy on Ice by John Branch
    • While telling Derek Boogaard's story, Branch also ties in the history of the NHL enforcer, the league's expansion into the American South, and a look inside the unsteady life of a minor league athlete. He exposes the systemic failure of team doctors and coaches to acknowledge a fatal combination of concussion symptoms and substance abuse, even as Boogaard was ostensibly being monitored by the league. I hope this book will get the attention of parents and coaches in all contact sports so that they will be better equipped to recognize symptoms in athletes and prevent further tragic losses. 
  • Glow by Ned Beauman (due 1/20/15)
    • Compelling characters, a shifting plot, and a gritty, vivid London setting kept me engrossed, but brilliant sentences are also lurking in this literary page-turner. 
  • The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell
    • Barely holding on to his job as a deli sandwich slinger, drinking too much, and worrying about making the rent, Billy Ridgeway is a loveable loser. One morning, he peers through the haze of a hangover to find a well-dressed stranger in his apartment, launching him into some serious Weirdness. In spite of himself, Billy even grows a little on his wild ride. 
  • The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman 
    • If I were someone who highlighted books, I would have marked several wonderful passages about books and libraries in the early chapters. This mosaic tale of an unorthodox childhood follows a cast of eccentric characters in a delightful coming-of-age quest for identity.

Adam at Lake Forest Park
Here's another one of my favorites Adam is never short of something unusual and interesting to recommend. Though it is a little bit of a tease when he recommends something to me, and I can't get my hands on it because it's out of print.
  1. God Transcendent by J. Gresham Machen
  2. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
  3. Spiritual Warfare in a Believer's Life by Charles H. Spurgeon
  4. The Wicked Enchanment by Margot Benary-Isbert (out of print)
  5. Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith
  6. Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Treuer
  7. The Silent Gondoliers by William Goldman
  8. Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston
  9. Shane by Jack Schaefer
  10. The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy

Henry at Lake Forest Park
One of our Used Book Buyers. My theory is that they have the best taste because they see ALL the books coming into the store.

Annie at Lake Forest Park
I will always remember Annie's 2014 list for including The Animorphs Series. And now I will always remember her 2015 year because she's already read one of her favorites three times...this year!
  • Clariel by Garth Nix
    • I have actually read this book three times since receiving an early copy over the summer. I'm a giant fan of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, and this prequel is an amazing addition to the series. Plus, Nix says he is writing more books in the Old Kingdom series! Huzzah! 
  • Silverblind by Tina Connelly
    • The final book in Connelly's Ironskin trilogy is, I think, the best of them all! The first two, Ironskin and Copperhead, are worth the read just to get to Silverblind. 
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
    • Another final book in a Young Adult romantic trilogy that I really, really enjoyed. Perkins' writing is wonderful! 
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
    • Told through a series of emails, this book is seriously funny. But also very human in it's telling. Definitely worth picking up! 
  • Dove Arising by Karen Bao
    • This book doesn't come out until February 2015, but when it does come out, be sure to grab a copy! Set in a futuristic colony on the moon, Bao's debut is incredibly wonderful! 
  • Cuckoo's Calling/Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
    • I don't usually read mysteries, but I'll read anything by JK Rowling... I mean Robert Galbraith. The attention to detail in these books is awesome, and I am thoroughly looking forward to the third book in the series. 
  • My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
    • A wonderful, seasonal, romantic compilation of short stories by some of the YA genre's greats. Readers should find a warm fire and a mug of hot chocolate to devour while enjoying this anthology. 
  • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
    • Afterworlds is the story of both an author and her first book, and the book itself, told in alternating chapters. I loved this book because we got both the author's and protagonist's stories! 
  • Because of Mr. Terupt/Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Bo Buyea
    • This charming duo will take each and every reader back to their elementary school days. Mr. Terupt is that teacher we all wish we had for every grade: inspiring, authentic, and fun. 
  • War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
    • One of my absolutely favorite books, I decided 2014 would be a good year to revisit it. I'm so glad I did, my reread completely reaffirmed my love for this book!

Greg at Lake Forest Park
Such a cool list! And TWO authors named Michel!

Lish at Lake Forest Park
Drum roll! Here it is, our last list of Top Tens for 2014. And it's a doozy. Her commentary on The Story of Owen is probably the greatest thing from any of these Top Tens.
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo - A solid end to an excellent series. 
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer - While Scarlet continues to be my fave, this is another solid entry into the series. 
  • Saga Volume 3 by Brian Vaughn and illustrated by Fiona Staples - Clearly I'm into series this year. I think Saga made it onto my list last year, too. 
  • Greenglass House by Kate Milford - I'm still reading this one, but it's a cool book (Smuggler's inn, role playing games, stories in stories and MYSTERY!) and I can tell I'm going to love it all the way through. 
  • Iron Night and Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan (books 2 and 3 of the Generation V novels.) - Funny paranormal fantasy. The main character, Fortitude Scott, is a nerdy, awkward film major who recently became vegetarian to stave off becoming a vampire. 
  • Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop - Third book in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. 
  • The Story of Owen : Dragonslayer of Trondheim by EK Johnston - This book is excellent. You should read it. Dragons! Corporate dragon slayers! Set in Canada! 
  • The Shrike : Pretty Deadly Volume 1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick and illustrated by Emma Rios- Lush, creepy and savage. 
  • Visions by Kelley Armstrong - Apparently I only read series books and graphic novels. 
  • Mortal Heart by Robin Lafevers. Who doesn't love assassin nuns?

That's all she wrote. Thanks for humoring our need to classify and order what we read last year!

No comments:

Post a Comment