December 23, 2015
What's the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo was not a typical piece of fiction that I usually choose. It was rather short, but extremely philosophical and complex. I had never heard of the author before, but at the time was looking for a book to inspire me. I literally picked it off of a shelf at a bookstore and after reading the back was intrigued because I could tell it would be a philosophical challenge. It's the story of a young shepard on his personal quest for his "personal legend" with which the entire universe conspires to help a person achieve, IF one listens to it. I have since sought out other books by Coehlo for when I am in a mood to have deep thought.
It was hard to pick a "best" book of the year... I highly recommend How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark. I read this book slowly, because I was applying many of his tips in my own short writing. It is a necessary resource for those that blog, tweet, post, teach writing, or communicate in general. I continue to come back to this book to reread and reference Clark's suggestions about writing in today's world.
- Matt Renwick
I enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It's an historical fiction novel set during World War II; two interwoven stories follow a young boy who becomes a Nazi and a young blind girl as they deal with repercussions of the war. Even though the well-told story sucked me in, it was the imagery and the symbolism that stayed with me. It was beautifully written and hard to forget.
- Barb Bondioli
The Priority List by David Menasche is probably the best book I have read this year. The way he chose to live his life after a terrible diagnosis is so uplifting and inspiring. Also, his motivating teaching methods obviously left a huge imprint on his students. This is something we all strive to do.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai touched me. This is an autobiography about the young girl who was shot by the Taliban due to her pursuit of education. The courage and drive of her family for the right to learn is inspiring. This young woman continues to strive to change the world.
- Sue Morzewski
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the winner of this year’s Pulitzer prize for fiction, about a girl and her father in Paris, and what befalls them when the Nazi occupation of Paris drives them out. The girl, Marie-Laure, had become blind by the age of six. Her father is a locksmith who works at the Museum of Natural History. As his daughter’s sight finally fails, her father builds her a model of Paris, and in this way she is able to navigate around the city. In a parallel story, a young boy in Germany, Werner, an orphan, comes to the notice of the Nazis for his astonishing skill at fixing radios, and this leads to his relocation to an elite school aimed at providing skills for the Reich. Little Werner proves his worth and survives, even though the school is brutal and unrelenting.
- Liz Ottery