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FICTION

Diaz, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao

(A funny, ingenious, heartbreaking book about a Dominican SF nerd in New Jersey. Wonderfully written.)

Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
(Finally got around to reading this one. Understatement used like a hammer on the soul.)

Korelitz, You Should Have Known

(A woman’s husband is accused of murder. She deals with the fallout. This one’s a different kind of detective story / thriller, because the focus is less on the psychopath than on the psychology of the people manipulated by them)

Malllerman, Birdbox

If you’re looking for a suspenseful, creepy-as-hell horror novel, pick up this one.  A survivor of the apocalypse tries to protect two children from monsters (?) that drive you mad if you see them. Easy. right? Just wear a blindfold every time you go outside… into a world of monsters and murderous lunatics. Bloody. Hell.

Marshall, Gifts for the Ones Who Come After

A great, eclectic collection of creepy and odd stories from this year’s winner of the Shirley Jackson award.

NON-FICTION

Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time

Egan’s unflinching look at the American Dustbowl. The analogy to climate change is there, but never heavy-handed.

Price, The Pixar Touch

Not your usual success story. First, this book eviscerates the Steve Jobs myth. Instead, it looks at the would-be artists who parlayed their tech jobs into movie-making. It provides an entertaining narrative about the failures, obstacles, hardships, and sheer perseverance that accompany any dream of artistic success in the States.

Fischer, A Kim-Jong Il Production

Did you know Kim-Jong-Il was an enormous film buff who kidnapped his favorite director and actress to force them to make movies for him? Did you know that the director and actress were bitter exes who fell back in love while trying to escape their North Korean movie-making prison?  This true story reads like a black political comedy / Hollywood satire with a surprisingly romantic heart.

Leovy, Ghettoside

A Serial-like analysis of a single murder case that becomes a compelling analysis of the relationship between poor black communities, the police, and the justice system. It’s a page-turner and an important read.

Macdonald, H is for Hawk

A woman starts training a goshawk following death of her father. The history of hawking, the repressed homosexuality of “Sword and the Stone” author T.H. White, and astute nature watching somehow combine to make a brilliant, beautiful book.

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