Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorites of the Year so Far


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, halfway through 2015, we're asked to list favorite reads of the year so far.

Choosing favorites was easy, but as I looked over my list, two things seemed strange. First, many of these books are part of a series, and I usually avoid series. Second, there is a surprising absence of new releases. That isn't because this year's books aren't good, I just haven't been reading them.

This is shaping up to be an unusual reading year.

My Favorite Books of the Year so Far
... listed in the order I read them

They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
a favorite author 


Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
A readalong with Care. Not as good as An American Tragedy, but much shorter.



Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Second book of the Barsetshire Chronicles, probably my favorite of the year


Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
Third of the Barsetshire Chronicles, I loved everything about this book.


Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
If you read just one nonfiction title this year, this should be it.


Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Can't wait to read his latest, Beneath the Bonfire



... and I loved the movie, too. Review coming later this week.


The Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
I didn't love the first book, but was consumed by the second and third.

Which books have you loved this year?

51 comments:

  1. I plan to read the Ferante's soon. And thanks to all the Barchester Chronicle live around right now, I've been gradually accumulating the books.

    I also plan to read the Hardy before seeing the movie as the reviews I've heard are good, but it does seem that the movie goes for the easier options rather than portraying the complexities detailed in the book (like most movies I guess.)

    My top 10: http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/top-ten-books-ive-read-so-far-this-year.html?m=1

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    1. Brona - So glad you are building a Barsetshire collection! I am just loving those books. Far From the Madding Crowd was very good... not anywhere near as tragic as Tess.

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  2. You have listed some great books here.

    Barchester Towers has become one of my favorite novels. I like Doctor Thorn a lot, but not as much.

    Sister Carrie is indeed a great book. It found it to be terribly sad.

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    1. Brian Joseph - Barchester Towers and Doctor Thorne have both earned ascot on my list of all-time favorite novels. I have high hopes for Framley Parsonage now.

      Sister Carrie was indeed a sad book. Have you read An American Tragedy? It was one of my favorites last year.

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  3. So far, I've read 2 Top 10 lists for this week and both mentioned the lack of new releases....and I found the same thing. WHY?!! I'm hoping for a strong back half of 2015!

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    1. Sarah - Last year I read many more new releases than usual and seem to have, unintentionally, done an about face this year.

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  4. Both Barchesters would be on my list, too, and so would all the others once I read them! :) (Except, maybe, Sister Carrie... I remember slogging through that one in college...)

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    1. Audrey - I've been surprised by Dreiser! Never expected to like his books so much. Sister Carrie may not make the cut for my year end list, but An American Tragedy did last year.

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  5. I am wondering why I left Being Mortal off my list...oops! I think I need to go back and edit.

    Here are my Top Ten favorites of 2015 so far!

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    1. Deb Nance - Being Mortal was excellent!! Not exactly a pleasant read, but so important and thought-provoking.

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  6. Two Trollopes, yay :) and I bet Framley Parsonage will make the next list! You've reminded me to put Being Mortal on my reading list.

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    1. Lisa - I have a feeling Trollope may end up dominating my year-end list! Like I just said to Deb above, Being Mortal is not exactly a pleasant read, but very important and thought-provoking.

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  7. I heard good things about Shotgun Lovesongs, and may have to read that one at some point. some of the reviews I read really piqued my interest.

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    1. Greg - Shotgun Lovesongs will probably make the cut for my year-end list, too. I loved that book!

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  8. I haven't read any of those but I did pick up Being Mortal at BEA.

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    1. Kathy - Choose your time carefully for Being Mortal... it's an excellent book, but not a lot of fun to read.

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  9. You've got me wanting to read Ferrante and Trollop. So glad you liked the From the Madding Crowd movie. I love the actress in that one so I was hoping for good things but haven't been able to see it yet. Now I must go find out more about Shotgun Lovesongs.

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    1. Katherine - Shotgun Lovesongs was a read/listen combination for me. Once you're back to audiobooks again, I recommend it very highly!

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  10. Other than the Ferrante/Neopolitan trilogy (so far), The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and Falling in Love by Donna Leon--the 26th in Ms. Leon's detective series set in Venice featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. The absolute tops in this genre, and I've read all 26. Non-Fiction favorite would be Ordinary Light: A Memoir by Tracy K. Smith. Moving up on non-fic favs list is A Wanderer in Paris by E. V. Lucas and another oldie called Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco. Just call me an armchair traveler. :-)

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    1. JudyMac - I haven't read any of Leon's Brunetti series, but downloaded the first one to my kindle when it was a daily deal... months ago. Time to get going on that! Need to look into Ordinary Light, and I just added A Wanderer in Paris to my wish list.

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    2. An afterthought .... Re Donna Leon's Brunetti series, I hope "the first one" you downloaded was the actual first of the series, which is Death at La Fenice. As one progresses through this series and becomes acquainted with the Commissario, you cannot help becoming very fond of him as a person and what he stands for (at least I did), as well as his wife and family. His wife Paola is a professor of English at the university in Venice, who has long been in love with the writing of Henry James. I'm smitten with both the Commissario and his wife.

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    3. JudyMac - Yes, it is Death at La Fenice! If Brunetti's wife loves Henry James, that's even more reason I need to read it soon :)

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    4. Each book can be read in a flash, but once I started the series, each one I read left me wanting more. They seem to get better and better as they go along. As of now, Ms Leon only writes one per year, which means I have to be very patient between publication dates (usually around April). :-)

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  11. I'm planning Far From the Madding Crowd as my next classic read because I really want to read it before I buy the DVD. Really considering picking up the Ferrante trilogy on my next book buying spree!

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    1. B Marie Books - Fram From the Madding Crowd was a read/listen combination for me. Not sure if you are a fan of audiobooks, but I really loved getting totally immersed in the story. The movie was beautiful!

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  12. Is it bad that I completely forgot I read Sister Carrie this year? Oops! I love how many classics are on your list...I really need to make an effort to read more and Far From the Madding Crowd is definitely high on my list! I look forward to your post.

    I seriously need to check into Ferrante's trilogy.

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    1. Trish - I seem to be heavy on classics and light on new releases so far this year. No such thing as a happy medium for me, I guess.

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  13. Sad to admit but I can't even name ten books from what I've read that I absolutely loved. I hope to read some better ones soon or my year of faves is going to be a short list.

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    1. Ti - Oh, that's too bad... I hope you read some books you absolutely love this summer.

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  14. I love your list! I'm so impressed that you are reading the Barsetshire Chronicles! They Were Sisters is on my TBR list, and I'm looking forward to reading more Trollope this year.

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    1. Monica - I never expected to love the Barsetshire books this much! Trollope will definitely be making multiple appearances on my year-end favorite list.

      I've enjoyed a few of Dorothy Whipple's novels. Someone at a Distance is my favorite now, but The Priory is still on my shelf.

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  15. I've read a few of those. Sister Carrie has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in college. I read a Dorothy Whipple this year. (Can't remember which.)
    My favorites this year so far? All the Light We Cannot See and Euphoria. The Orchardist.

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    1. Midlife Roadtripper - I've borrowed All the Light We Cannot See from the library twice and never got around to reading it either time! May just get a copy of my own so I don't have to worry about hold lists and due dates! I've read some glowing review of The Orchardist and would love to read it. I listened to Euphoria, but somehow never really connected with it... disappointing because I was expecting to love it.

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  16. I definitely want to read Being Mortal! I have about 100 pages left in My Brilliant Friend and I'm still not sure I'm sold, but something tells me I'll give the second book a shot at some point.

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    1. Shannon - I read My Brilliant Friend in March and was unsure about continuing with the series, but found myself still thinking about Elena and Lila three months later. Read the second book in June and continued immediately with the third. Both were better than the first one.

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  17. Great list. I've not heard of any of these but I hope you enjoy them.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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  18. Series can be tricky. You get hooked and then all you're reading is books in a series, but I like the idea of series. Basically uber long stories that are discrete chunks in and of themselves.

    Nice mix of classics and modern lit.

    I really must check out Dorothy Whipple!

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    1. JaneGS - I like Trollope's Barsetshire novels because each of them seems to be able to stand alone. Not so for the Ferrante series. My favorite Whipple so far is Someone at a Distance, will be reading The Priory next.

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  19. Nice list of books!! Thanks for sharing your favorite reads of the year so far with us!! I have some new to me titles to check out and potentially add to my ever growing reading wishlist!!

    Here's a link to my TTT post for the week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/06/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-books-ive-read.html

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    1. Captivated Reader - LOL! I just noticed the same thing with your list. I found several titles there to investigate.

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  20. I have never read Thomas Hardy, and I'm almost ashamed to admit it because I love classics so much. I've seen good things about They Were Sisters but never really looked at it that much. I'm glad to know it's a favorite of yours.

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    1. Kathy - I've loved classics for ages, but only read my first Hardy novel two years ago. That was Tess - I loved it and still plan to read more.

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  21. Far From the Madding Crowd made my Top 10 list also, and Trollope's included as well -- The Eustace Diamonds. Barchester Towers is another of my favorites by Trollope! I started reading My Brilliant Friend but got distracted, so I'll have to give it another go.

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    1. Karen K. - I'm so happy to have discovered Trollope this year! He has become a favorite author very quickly.

      My Brilliant Friend is actually my least favorite of the series... probably shouldn't have listed it here, but all three books were in the photo. The second and third books were SO much better!

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  22. I loved Shotgun Lovesongs! I tried his new one but I could not get into it for some reason. :( I am going to try again though. :)

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    1. Erin - Do you think you couldn't get into it because it is connected stories? Not sure I'll get to it this summer, but I'm hopeful for fall.

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  23. I need to read Trollope (never have!) and the Hardy novel too. How was Carey Mulligan in the movie?

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    1. Thecuecard - I hope you give Trollope a try one day, he is such fun to read! Carey Mulligan was excellent... just loved the movie!

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  24. I have GOT to pick up the Ferrante books!

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    1. Lisa - I'm reading Ferrante's short stand-alone The Lost Daughter and am loving it. Think it may be the perfect way to sample her writing style!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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