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9 Books You Have to Read Before the Oscars

Behind most great movies lies an even better book. In fact, more than two thirds of the Academy’s Best Picture winners were based on books (see the whole list here). Odds are that list will grow come February 28th – six of this year’s Best Picture nominees are based on books, and a few more appear in the Best Actor and Actress categories. So here it is, our list of the exceptional books you need to read before Oscar season is over.

Best Picture

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punte

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punte

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant is nominated for a whopping 11 Oscars, including Best Actor in a Leading Role. The book by author Michael Punte is based on the story of real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass. Set in 1823, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Based on the novel by Irish writer Colm Toibin, Brooklyn is nominated for three Oscars. Saoirse Ronan is nominated for her role as Toibin’s main character Eilis who immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950s, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, meets Tony – but just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

 

The Martian by Andy Weir The Martian by Andy Weir

Nominated for seven Oscars, The Martian stars Matt Damon as author Andy Weir’s leading man, astronaut Mark Watney. Watney’s dialogue makes for a very entertaining read: “I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m screwed.”

 

Room by Emma Donoghue Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. . .. It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. It’s the kind of book movie producers dream of! The film adaptation of Canadian author Emma Donoghue‘s bestseller is nominated for four Oscars, including Actress in a Leading Role for Brie Larson who plays Ma.

 

Bridge of Spies by Giles WhittellBridge of Spies by Giles Whittell

Who were the three men the American and Soviet superpowers exchanged at Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie in the first and most legendary prisoner exchange between East and West? Bridge of Spies vividly traces their paths to that exchange on February 10, 1962, when their fate helped to define the conflicts and lethal undercurrents of the most dangerous years of the Cold War. These events are adapted for film in Best Picture nominee starring Tom Hanks.

 

The Big Short by Michael Lewis The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Yet another film adaptation for non-fiction writer Michael Lewis, who also penned Moneyball (the movie starred Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill) and The Blindside (this one starred Sandra Bullock).  The Big Short has its own star-studded cast including Christian Bale who plays Michael Burry, the eccentric money manager who anticipated the 2008 financial crisis and bet against the housing industry.

 

Best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role

The Danish Girl by David EbershoffThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history. Eddie Redmayne is nominated for his portrayal of Lili, while actress Alicia Vikander is nominted for her  role as Lili’s wife, Gerda.

 

 

Trumbo by Bruce CookTrumbo by Bruce Cook

Dalton Trumbo was the central figure in the “Hollywood Ten,” the blacklisted and jailed screenwriters. One of several hundred writers, directors, producers, and actors who were deprived of the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960, he was the first to see his name on the screen again. This intriguing biography shows that all his life Trumbo was a radical of the homegrown, independent variety. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is nominated for his role as Trumbo.

 

Carol by Patricia Highsmith Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt in 1952, and until now it’s remained a little-known cult classic. Now titled Carol, the book is based on a true story plucked from Highsmith’s own life –  the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy.  Cate Blanchett is nominated for her portrayal of Carol.

 

Which film has your vote?


Rare Books Uncovered by Rebecca Rego Barry: A Review

Rare Books Uncovered by Rebecca Rego Barry

If you have ever dreamed of finding a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird in a flea market or discovering a bundle of comics worth millions in a basement, then Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places by Rebecca Rego Barry is worth a place on your bookshelf.

Rebecca is well known in the North American rare book community as the editor of Fine Books and Collections magazine. Her book, which contains an introduction from Nicholas Basbanes, offers a collection of 52 stories about rare book discoveries in the most unlikely places.

Her sources are booksellers, many of which sell on the AbeBooks marketplace, collectors and librarians. Each story leaves the reader thinking: ‘That could have been me.’ But being in the right place at the right time is only half the battle. Her stories cover how our heroes researched their finds, verified value and what they subsequently did with them.

Rebecca’s love of books started early. She interned at Random House, and worked for Simon and Schuster after college. Her interest in collecting/treasure-hunting was sparked by the discovery of a first edition of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman in a church book sale. A pretty good find for $1 as these listings show.

Anyone who loves used and rare books has stories to tell about discovering gems in unlikely places. These tales become badges of honor for bibliophiles and no-one has more stories of literary discoveries than booksellers.

Ken Sanders, the legendary bookseller and ‘bibliodick’ from Salt Lake City, is featured in a delightful story about how he volunteered to appraise books at a charity fundraiser and a man walked in off the street with a 500-year-old copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle.

Brian Cassidy, a seller located in Maryland, details how he picked up a bibliography hand-annotated by Jack Kerouac (although it took a year-long quest to verify this fact) at the San Francisco ABAA Book Fair for just $20.

Sammy Jay, a twentysomething Oxford graduate, recounts how he discovered a first edition volume one of Frankenstein inscribed by Mary Shelley to Lord Bryon on top of a dusty bookshelf while sorting through his grandfather’s library. He describes it as a “light, slightly tatty volume.” Peter Harrington later sold the book on behalf of Jay’s family for an undisclosed sum – that’s ‘undisclosed’ as in a great deal of money.

Stuart Manley of Barter Books in Northumberland in the UK explains how he found one of the original red ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters from 1939 at the bottom of a box of old books purchased at an auction in 2000. The box was left unsorted for several weeks until Stuart and his wife Mary began to go through the items and found the poster at the bottom. The Manleys framed the poster and displayed it in their shop where it was a huge hit with customers. In 2005, a writer on The Guardian newspaper featured the poster in an article and sparked an industry totally devoted to the phrase – posters, t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, parodies. The poster was one of a series of three propaganda messages designed to ensure Brits kept stiff upper lips in the face of German aggression but they were never issued for display. What didn’t work in 1939, resonated with many people in 2005. With an expired copyright, the Manleys never profited from their find but probably have the greatest dinner party story of all time.

Oregon-based bookseller Phillip Pirages details how a discovery at a garage sale inspired him to become a book dealer. It was an English translation of the French book, A Treatise on Architecture, originally written by a Roman author, Vitruvius. The book is a manual for Roman construction site managers (hard hats and togas?). Philip haggled the price down from $45 to $35. After researching the book, he approached a dealer who specialized in architectural books and sold it for $1,000. Part of the deal was that Philip would be informed of the price when the dealer subsequently sold the book to a collector. It was resold for $3,000 and Pirages realized that his future lay in bookselling.

Rebecca’s collection of stories is fun and informative. It shows the thrill of the hunt is by far the most exciting aspect of collecting and selling books, and the next great discovery can turn up almost anywhere.

Buy Rare Books Uncovered


2016 Caldecott Medal Awarded to Finding Winnie

The prestigious Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to an American artist of a children’s book, has been given to illustrator Sophie Blackall for her contributions to Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick.

The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1937 and is named in honor of the nineteenth century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott. Each year, the Caldecott Medal is given in conjunction with the Newbery Medal for outstanding contribution to American literature for children. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña is this year’s recipient of the Newbery Medal.

finding-winnie

2016 Caldecott Medal winner for best illustrator – Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mallick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

 

last-stop

2016 Newbery Medal awarded to author Matt de la Peña for his book Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

 

The synopsis for the book states that “Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. And she was a girl! In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.”

Anyone with small children will undoubtedly be familiar with Sophie Blackall, the illustrator of Ivy and Bean. Any parent with young girls in the house will be quite familiar with Blackall’s work. For Finding Winnie, Blackall uses Chinese ink and watercolor art and beautifully captures the story of friendship between a boy and a bear named Winnie.

Previous Caldecott Medal winners include:

beekle

2015: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, written and illustrated by Dan Santat

 

locomotive

2014: Locomotive, written and illustrated by Brain Floca

 

not-my-hat

2013: This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

 

2012: A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka

2012: A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka


CBC’s Canada Reads announces 2016 longlist

Canada Reads Longlist 2016
It’s the event that makes winter in the great white north all worth while for us Canadian book nerds. Created in 2002 by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), the beloved annual battle of the books, Canada Reads, celebrates the best in Canadian Literature. Each year, the battle and the books in it must relate to a theme. This year’s theme is all about “Starting Over”. CBC reports, “The show will feature books about transformation and second chances, stories of migrants, immigrants and others who are choosing – or forced – to make major changes in their lives.” The critically acclaimed Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) and All the Broken Things (Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer) fit right in.

On January 20th, the longlist of 15 will be whittled down to just five and the panelists defending them will be announced. While most awards keep their debates behind closed doors, Canada Reads lays it all out in the open. Beginning March 21st, each panelist will defend their chosen book on live air, and each night a book will be taken out of the running until, on March 24th, there is only one book left standing.

The Canada Reads 2016 Longlist:

All the Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Buying on Time by Antanas Sileika

Landing Gear by Kate Pullinger

Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter

Niko by Dimitri Nasrallah

Sitting Practice by Caroline Adderson

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson

Sweetland by Michael Crummey

The Amazing Absorbing Boy by Rabindranath Maharaj

The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

The Outside Circle by Patti LaBoucane-Benson, with art by Kelly Mellings

Come back January 20th to see the shortlist and meet the panelists!


Discover the books bought on Christmas Day: from ‘How to Stay Sane’ to Lemony Snicket and dieting

Lemony Snicket novels were popular on Christmas Day

Get up early, open your presents, telephone the relations, stick the turkey in the oven and then….. go online and buy some books! This appears to be the Christmas Day ritual for thousands of booklovers in North America and Europe.

Far from being a quiet day for online bookselling, December 25 is actually similar to a typical Sunday in terms of books sold via the AbeBooks marketplace. Our Christmas Day buyers were located in 73 different countries – including the likes of Chad, Mongolia, the Réunion Island and the Northern Mariana Islands – and purchasing trends varied from ‘how to’ books, to dieting, Star Wars, car manuals and Lemony Snicket novels.

The majority of books went to countries celebrating the Christian Christmas, but buyers were also located in Oman, Qatar, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia.

Perhaps Christmas Day is an ideal day for online shopping? The majority of the population in North America and Europe are at home. Travel is minimal for most people, and, during the day, there are long periods of free time (while that turkey cooks) to go online and shop for books that were not found in a stocking or under the Christmas tree.

The bestselling author of Christmas Day was Lemony Snicket followed by Terry PratchettJ.R.R. Tolkien and M.C. Beaton. “How to” books were in demand with buyers clearly planning activities for 2016. Examples of ‘how to’ books bought on Christmas Day include:

How to Tune Your Car by Spencer Murray

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry

How to Tune Your Car by Spencer Murray

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish

How to Run Your First Marathon by Ardy Friedberg

How to Play Bebop by David Baker

How to Listen To Jazz by Jerry Coker

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart

How to Survive Modern Art by Susie Hodge

How To build Small Barns & Outbuildings

How to Draw Pond Life by Vere Temple

How to Build the Grandma Connection: The Complete Pocket Guide by Susan V. Bosak

How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings by Monte Burch

How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

Oddly numerous car maintenance manuals were also purchased, including the Datsun 1200 Workshop Manual from 1973, BMW 5 Series Service Manual 1997-2003, VW Polo Service and Repair Manual 1994-1999, and VW Vanagon Official Factory Repair Manual.

Another popular genre of the day was diet books but we cannot be sure whether these purchases were being made before or after Christmas dinner. Clearly, customers do not wait until New Year when considering whether to a shed a few pounds after a heavy festive period of merrymaking. Diet books purchased on Christmas Day included The Heal Your Gut Cookbook, The 80/10/10 Diet Journal, The 20/20 DietThe Bulletproof Diet and The Beautiful People’s Diet Book.

British Tits – in demand on Christmas Day

My personal favorites from the list of Christmas Day sales are A Hamper of Recipes from Jamaica by Jill Roberts, A History of Norwegian Music by the wonderfully named Nils Grinde, A Jazz-Inspired Easter by Craig Curry, B-24 Liberator Pilot’s Flight Operating Instructions, Goats of the World by Valerie Porter, and Happy Cat, Happy You: Quick Tips for Building a Bond with Your Feline Friend by Arden Moore and the unforgettable British Tits by Christopher Perrins.

The most expensive book sold on Christmas Day was a German book published in Heidelberg in 1664 about the brutal aspect of the Spanish colonization of South America.  It sold for $4,285.

AbeBooks’ five bestselling items on Christmas Day 2015 were:

1. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

2. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket

3. Audubon Nature Wall Calendar 2016

4. The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality by Phil McGraw

5. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel


Emma Watson launched a feminist book club and everybody’s joining

My Life on the Road by Gloria SteinemWe first fell in love with Emma Watson as the clever and independent Hermione Granger. Last night, as United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma launched a feminist book club and we’ve fallen in love all over again. She announced the club, Our Shared Shelf, on Goodreads:

Dear Readers,

As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.

The plan is to select and read a book every month, then discuss the work during the month’s last week (to give everyone time to read it!). I will post some questions/quotes to get things started, but I would love for this to grow into an open discussion with and between you all. Whenever possible I hope to have the author, or another prominent voice on the subject, join the conversation.

If you fancy it, please join up and participate. Everyone is welcome. I would be honoured!

Emma x

In less than 24 hours the group has accumulated 48,000 members and generated 100 discussions between members, ranging from introductions to reading suggestions. January’s book is My Life on the Road by writer and activist Gloria Steinem, a title that’s been on the bestseller lists since it was published in October.  My Life on the Road is Steinem’s candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. It’s her first book in 20 years.

What books do you hope to see on Emma’s list?

 


Raptis Rare Books, selling the finest books in rural Vermont

Matthew and Adrienne Raptis

Deep in the southern Vermont countryside, you will find an ornate Italianate villa simply packed with sumptuous books worthy of any collector’s bookshelf. Welcome to Raptis Rare Books and the world of husband-and-wife bookselling team Matthew and Adrienne Raptis.

Matthew and Adrienne specialize in fine first editions, signed and inscribed books, and books that are quite simply important.

You will see them at the major books fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, and you can visit their Vermont villa, if you have an appointment.

They have sold via AbeBooks since 2003 and their inventory covers the biggest names in literature.

The home of Raptis Rare Books in Vermont

Raptis Rare Books stands out for the high quality photography that accompanies their listings on AbeBooks. Just browsing their books is fascinating – a first edition of Ulysses, a first edition of The Great Gatsby complete with its dust jacket, a Fourth Folio of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. These are books that are simply important.

Prices range from $20 for signed copy of The Flaming Corsage by William Kennedy to $160,000 for a first edition of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

Adrienne kindly took a few minutes away from the business to answer our questions.

AbeBooks: How did you get into the bookselling trade?

Adrienne: “Matthew started collecting books when he was a young child. He was very interested in history, particularly the American Civil War, and started with a small collection of antiquarian books. His collection grew over the years to encompass many other fields, such as literature, economics, architecture, and photography. The business in rare books was a natural development from his passions.

“I came into the business by virtue of being married to Matthew, so it was less of a direct journey. My degrees are in the sciences, but I have always loved books and read voraciously. A funny thing is that I used to pretend when I was a child that I was a bookseller. We actually came across a photo a number of years ago after we returned from the San Francisco book fair that shows me with my books fanned out in a very similar way to how our books our displayed when we are at a fair. It must have been destiny because I love this business and being surrounded by such amazing pieces of history.”

An example of Raptis’ photography – The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

AbeBooks: What’s the most expensive book you have ever sold?

Adrienne: “We’ve sold a number of books in the six figures, but we’d rather not say specific titles or amounts. (Editor’s note – Adrienne is being discreet. In September 2015, Raptis sold a signed 1964 first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl for $25,000 on the AbeBooks marketplace, so you can see their inventory can command top dollar prices.)

AbeBooks: What’s the first edition you have always wanted to offer for sale but never yet found?

Adrienne: “Our holy grail of books would be a first edition Don Quixote. There was one that was known in the 1980s and went for around $1.5 million.​ If you find one in your attic, give us a call.”

Books galore in the Raptis gallery

AbeBooks: How do you acquire your inventory?

​Adrienne: “This is a question we get asked quite often. We do a lot of travelling and have both been to over 65 countries. W​e travel to purchase items from private collections, bookstores, rare books, and auctions.”

AbeBooks: What’s the most thrilling aspect of bookselling – discovery, closing a sale, making customers happy?

Adrienne: “We love making our customers happy and finding specific titles that they are looking for.​”

AbeBooks: “You are located in the heart of New England – would you describe it as a bookish part of the world?

​Adrienne: “This is definitely a bookish part of world. New England is known for its schools of higher education​ and literary events. You can still find many small and used bookstores in the ​area. Brattleboro in particular has a literary history, with famous authors such as Rudyard Kipling, Saul Bellow, and many others living and writing in the area. We also have a wonderful yearly literary festival.”

Search Raptis Rare Books


December’s bestselling signed books

December's bestselling signed books

Here it is, the last signed books list of 2015. M Train by Patti Smith has crept up the list to the number one spot. Despite being released late in the year, the popular memoir was one of AbeBooks’ bestselling signed books of 2015. December’s list includes some brand new reads alongside a few books that have stood the test of time.

1. M Train by Patti Smith

2. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

4. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello

5. Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

8. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

9. Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates

10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


What We Read in 2015

At AbeBooks we have software engineers, accountants, marketers, customer support reps, account managers and we all share one thing in common: a passion for books. We asked people around the office to share some of the books they read this year – it’s a fascinating list and perhaps you’ll be inspired to read some of these recommended titles.

Share your favorite books of the year in the comments section below.

Emily

Emily B

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak This was a wonderfully emotional and thoughtfully written book about a young German girl during the 2nd World War. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn’t mind letting a tear or two warp the pages of their novels.

2. The Kingkiller Chronicle (books one and two) by Patrick Rothfuss (waiting on the third one!) Would strongly encourage anyone who’s missing the Harry Potter school days and anxiously waiting for the next Game of Thrones book to give these a read. Lyrically written with action, romance, and music aplenty.

3. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins Funny, odd, and charming, this book has helped stave off winter doldrums with enchanting characters and quirky humor. It has also inexplicably increased my beet consumption by 100%.

emily-books

 

Thomas N

Thomas N

1. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognizes his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognize him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. A strangely entertaining look at today’s media landscape, using one of the biggest taboo subject in Germany.

2. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick Having been to Korea this year I enjoyed this fascinating look into North Korea’s daily lives. A sometimes “scary” trip into my personal past behind the iron curtain.

3. Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho Simply one of the most beautiful written books I ever read. Well, kind of read for the third time…

thomas-books

 

dawn

Dawn P

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter I really enjoyed this book, it was a little dark and graphic at times and if you have a teenager daughter it may be a book to avoid reading.  Great story!

2. The Stolen Ones by Owen Laukkanen Human trafficking is not something I ever thought about.  This book is a great story and truly puts it into perspective.  A little dark but a great read!

3. Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs I’ve read a lot of Kathy Reichs and usually enjoy them, I guess reading so many make them a little predicable.  I knew the ending a long way from the end.  I’m probably going to avoid future Kathy Reichs unless her style changes.

dawn-books

 

Yuriy Z

Yuriy Z

1. Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante I was hooked: will the family stand as catholic mother shuts down seemingly unfaithful and constantly unemployed father? What kind of man will a young Arturo become as he wrestles with his Italian heritage and his attraction to carnal affairs?

2. The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante I was annoyed: a teenager is a teenager, even if it’s Arturo Bandini.

3. Ask the Dust by John Fante I was mesmerized: Arturo meets Camilla Lopez and the drama develops so fast and so strong, yet so gentle and profound by balancing explosive personalities and vulnerable hearts. This is now one of my all time favorite books.

4. Dreams from Bunker Hill by John Fante I was sad: it’s simply impossible to measure up to “Ask the Dust”. Bandini is now an up-and-coming Hollywood writer, and he’s more miserable than ever. Arturo is trying to find his place between hollow and pretentious studios, and gritty and rich Bunker Hill.

 

shi

Shi H

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez One does not simply write an epic story across seven generations, he shall also name all the characters after their fathers. All those love, hate, pain and struggling that are so vivid at the time, all eventually faded in history and became a part of the eternal time.

 2. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard”. A book that makes you rethink about your life.

3. Takemitsu Zamurai An epic seinen manga series I would totally recommend. It was drawn with ink brushes and very oriental artistic.

shi-books

 

Cliff M

Cliff M

1. Future Crimes by Marc Goodman If you want to be scared into taking better care of your data online, this is the book. At times it felt a bit sensationalistic, but after double-checking his stories, it all just plain scary.

 2. I Must Say by Martin Short This is a fantastic auto-biography of a fascinating person. But I have one caveat: don’t read this. You absolutely MUST listen to the audiobook – which is performed by Martin himself.

3. Dear Leader by Jang Jin-Sung An amazing, true-life story of one person’s escape from North Korea. If this doesn’t get turned into a movie, I’ll be seriously disappointed. Reading this sends you through sadness, fear, excitement, jubilation, and then back to the beginning all over again.

4. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe The best science book of the year. Not only is it highly educational, but it’s absolutely, gut-splittingly, hilarious. Ever wondered if you could cook a steak from the re-entry heat of dropping it from space? Yeah, me neither – but the answer is here anyway.

5. The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth The funniest thing ever written about the English language. The best part is how the author uses each technique to introduce the next chapter. Well worth reading a second time.

6. Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia A brand new fantasy novel from one of my favorite authors. Novels always live or die on the strength of their characters, and Larry creates some of the best.

cliff-books

 

Christi K

Christi K

1. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik This is a non-fiction book about journalist Adam Gopnik who moves to Paris with his wife and child. It follows the trials and tribulations of living abroad.

 2. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius A non-fiction book about the author who fell ill in grade-school and became completely unresponsive and mostly paralyzed. What no one realized is that mentally he was still very aware, with no way to communicate, until finally someone gave him a chance.

3. The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless Written by the sister of Chris McCandless (of Into the Wild fame) this non-fiction book is about their childhood and gives insight into perhaps why he ultimately made the decisions he did that cost him his life.

4. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald A memoir about the author losing her father. Grieving her loss she closes off the rest of the world and dedicates herself to her passion of falconry and trains a notoriously sour bird, a Goshawk.

christi-books

 

udo

Udo G

1. The Fall and The First Man by Albert Camus I was pretty much disappointed by “The Fall” (maybe the translation was bad) but after that began reading Camus’ posthumously published “The First Man” which I enjoyed immensely.

 2. Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow “Mr. Sammler’s Planet” was great too but I got stuck towards the end and still need to finish the last 10% some time.

3. Down and Out in London by George Orwell George Orwell’s first book, published in 1933, is a much thinner book and I finished it in a couple of weeks – highly recommended.

udo-books

 

ryan

Ryan P

1. The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson Sanderson introduces another refreshing magic system to us in the world of Roshar in an epic fantasy destined to be his magnum opus. Highly Recommended!

 2.Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson Sanderson made 1000+ pages fly by in the follow up to Words of Radiance. If you liked The Way of Kings you’ll love Words of Radiance. My best read of 2015!

3. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1-1) by Brandon Sanderson An innovative and complex magic system based around properties of certain metals keeps the pages turning. Recommended!

4. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge A classic Sci-Fi novel involving many intelligent races from different zones of the galaxy fighting for the fate of millions of lives. Highly recommended!

5. Shift Work by Tie Domi As a big fan of Tie Domi and hockey enforcers in general, it’s a nice insight into how players end up in those roles. Recommended for hockey fans!

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Julie O

Julie O

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah This is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page. As a mother of two young girls, there were parts that were difficult to read as a parent, but it’s just so good (and sad and hopeful and heartbreaking and full of love) that I recommend this book to everyone!

 2. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill Considered a love story, this short novel takes a profound look at a marriage that was once full of love but starts to fall apart as the years go by. Written in a journal-like account, this story is both funny and sad.

3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng An intimate look at a family grieving over the death of a family member. I read this book in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down.

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This shouldn’t come as a surprise that this book has shown up on this list – pretty much everyone has read this Pulitzer prize winner (if you haven’t read it, you must!). This epic story takes place during World War II and focuses on a blind French girl and a German boy whose lives cross paths. What’s so incredible about this novel is how knowledgeable the author is about so many subjects. This book is definitely at the top of my “favorite books of all time” list.

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Richard D

Richard D

1. Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby This was my favorite book of year. It’s an amazing piece of non-fiction about how Newby escapes from a German POW camp in Italy and is then hidden in the mountains by various families and lonely souls in remote villages.  It’s a story of kindness and also very, very funny, particularly when Newby is living on a farm with a family that was two very forward teenage daughters.

 2. When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss This is a massive biography of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi – the man who was misquoted to have said: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” It took me 10 months to pick up the book after getting it in Christmas 2014. I loved hearing about how he started out before even ending up with the Packers.

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What were the best books you read this year?


Just a smidge of a trailer for JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts

And it never ends (but secretly we are all very happy about that). Here’s the trailer, “just a smidge” of a video, for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off. We have to wait until November 2016. You’ll remember that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was on Harry’s first-year reading list at Hogwarts.