The "Besties" -- 2015 Fly-Over Best Authors

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The "Besties" -- 2015 Fly-Over Best Authors

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des. 17, 2015, 1:40pm

Everyone knows that December hails the wrap-up of another heliocircumnavigation (is that eligible for longest new word of 2015?) when humans look warily or nostalgically over their shoulders back at books they've read and authors they've met or got reacquainted with in the last 12 months.

Add a pinch of evaluation to your review and you've arrived at the awards station called the "Besties." Here are our unofficial categories -- feel free to massage them.

Who Is/Are the Best Fiction Author(s) you read in 2015?
Ditto Nonfiction

Who Is/Are the Best New-to-Me Author(s) in fiction and in nonfiction?

Who Is/Are the Best Debut Author(s)? (first book published by this person)

Who Is/Are the Best International Author(s) you read in 2015? (writers not from your native country who may or may not write in your native/first language)

Who Is/Are the Best Translated Writer(s) you read in 2015? (authors published in their native language, translated into your own)

Who Is/Are the Best "Worsties" whose book(s) you want to warn the rest of us off?

des. 17, 2015, 2:16pm

Could we add one? I'd love to see Best Horse-and-Buggy Author you read this year, meaning basically anyone who wrote before 1900. (Let's not argue about the road to invention. It's just a rough demarcation.)

Not everyone reads in this category, but I think it's exciting to hear about older authors whose works may be in the dread class of "unread classics" and yet stand up well to a modern reading.

Editat: gen. 22, 2016, 11:13am

Who Is/Are the Best New-to-Me Author (s) in fiction and non-fiction? Four that I especially liked and reviewed. Re-reading my own reviews, I can see what a realist I am.

1. Adrift by Paul Griffin
2. Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson (non-fiction)
3. If You're Reading This by Trent Reedy
4. Prince of Venus Beach by Blake Nelson

Editat: des. 17, 2015, 2:48pm

>2 Meredy:
Yes! Massage away. Everybody please add "Horse & Buggy Author(s)." Wish I'd thought of that category when I was trying to think of something catchy for "Classics Author(s)!

>3 PaperDollLady:
Would you please edit your comment and add single square brackets around Title and double square ones around Author so they hyperlink to LT source? That way we interested readers looking for new goodies can go take a peek. Thanks!

des. 17, 2015, 3:57pm

I'm glad this topic asks the question generally about identifying what each of us personally encountered and enjoyed, because when it's a poll or a vote, you can count on it basically reflecting the year's bestsellers. It's like any aspect of history: more distance = more perspective.

Here's a topic where I fall on my face, because I generally only read old stuff. The only published-in-2015 title I went after was Go Set a Watchman, but (although I did like it) I was disappointed to see vote it as #1 for the year. It's a very interesting artifact that can generate some powerful discussion, but I don't think it's near the level of that other Harper Lee novel, I forget what it's called ...

Editat: des. 17, 2015, 5:24pm

>5 Cecrow: You're mocking.. .. .. ..

But I agree!

des. 21, 2015, 8:34am

Looking back, there were some good months and some bad months and a lot of lack-luster nothing spectacular type books. Can't say they really fall into the categories above but here goes:

The Best Fiction: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
The Best Non-Fiction: When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning
The Best Translation: Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason
The Best Horse & Buggy: Norbert Davis, Don Winslow, Donald Westlake, Chester Himes
The Best 'Worstie': The Last Policeman

des. 21, 2015, 10:25am

>7 mysterymax: Oh no! Pseudonyms! Which Donald Westlake titles have you read?

I just ordered When Books Went to War on the strength of your recommendation. And I agree with your catagorization of The Last Policeman. I found it very weak reading.

des. 21, 2015, 6:10pm

>7 mysterymax: and >8 2wonderY:

I've got When Books Went to War, too, and haven't read it yet. But the enthusiasm here makes me want to. I didn't have a lot of confidence that it would be really good. Glad to hear it's a "Bestie"!

des. 21, 2015, 6:51pm

I'll come back here with my responses when the year is really over. Until then, who knows what treasure may remain to be discovered? I have ten more days.

Editat: des. 23, 2015, 5:23pm

Best fiction: I thoroughly enjoyed High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. The main character is so very much like me.

Best Nonfiction: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout. Be warned, it is a very emotionally draining book, as the subject matter (journalist kidnapped, raped, and tortured by Somali rebels), but it is excellent. I cried twice.

Best new to me fiction authors: Can I make this a four-way tie? I wouldn't know how to rank these books: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Best new to me non-fiction authors: Amanda Lindhout; Cheryl Strayed

Best new to me debut authors: Hannah Kent; Claire North

Best international authors: I live in Canada, and so everything from the U.S. and the U.K. counts! However, I will give the prize to Jo Nesbo as I do every year.

Best translated authors: Jo, of course. And, as ever, the late Henning Mankell.

Best worsties: The Men who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson was appalling, as was Horns by Joe Hill

Best pre-1900 authors: I'm reading one novel by Elizabeth Gaskell every year, and this year's choice of Cranford was a delight. I thoroughly enjoyed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, what a great book!

Editat: des. 23, 2015, 10:28am


Did Rothfuss conclude the name of the wind is Mariah?

des. 24, 2015, 9:40am

>8 2wonderY: I've only read three Westlake books so far, all Dortmunder, and enjoyed all of them. The Hot Rock, Watch your Back and The Road to Ruin.

>8 2wonderY: & >9 Limelite: When Books Went to War was just full of information that I hadn't known, or even thought about. (It's funny because I am now reading a short story in which the soldier talks about reading a hardcover book and I am thinking - this is late enough in the war that he was really reading one of the Armed Service Editions, not a hardcover.) I thought the book touched on a subject that anyone who collected books should have at least one of the editions, so I hunted on Amazon and found High Time by Mary Lasswell, which was one of the books talked about. It was a very reasonable price so I got it and I love having it. My father was an avid reader all his life and he was in the Pacific in WWII, so I imagine that he went through a lot of them. I hope you enjoy the book.

des. 25, 2015, 2:37pm

>13 mysterymax:

Love your comment. Not just a strong rec but an enjoyable anecdote added. Thanks!