Lynn’s Choice — All the Light We Cannot See
The end of the year brings all sorts of lists of the top this or that. It’s been a practice of Book Biz to list picks and pans of books read and reviewed during the year. But this year I’m only listing favorite books — works of fiction. The other Book Biz reviewer will chime in with non-fiction books that are her year’s favorites.
As soon as I’d read the first few pages of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I knew it would be at the top of my list for 2014. It seems I’m not alone. Doerr is collecting accolades everywhere and is the number one choice for the year by the editors of The New York Times. That isn’t surprising as it’s a beautifully written book and tells a heart gripping story. Doerr is a talented wordsmith and I hope he writes more books. This latest gem was 10 years in the making so we may not have anything soon. The time spent shows in his attention to detail, historical accuracy and supremely told story.
My two runner-up favorites are The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani and Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks. Both are excellent reading and I highly recommend them.
— Lynn Lofton, firstname.lastname@example.org
LouAnn’s Choice — Factory Man
Beth Macy’s Factory Man, a masterful portrait of a feisty Virginia furniture company owner fighting the effects of Chinese imports on his business, tops my list of best non-fiction books from last year. The book reads nearly like a novel, with so much family infighting, international intrigue, and truly outrageous characters that it’s easy to forget at times that what you’re reading about really happened.
It’s book that both educates and entertains. I learned a lot about the history of American furniture builders and also about the loss of American factory jobs to the ever-increasing trend of offshoring production (and all the attendant politics that go along with that). The book’s protagonist, John D. Bassett III, while undoubtedly a difficult person, is someone you’d want on your side if you were fighting to preserve jobs here.
My other two choices for excellent non-fiction books I read and reviewed this year would be Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, and The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Scarity, in particular, is a book that has really stayed with me. I often find myself thinking about the concepts and ideas explored in that book. They’re invaluable when trying to understand the actions and decisions of people operating with either a poverty of resources or time.
Here’s to a 2015 filled with even more great books!
— LouAnn Lofton, email@example.com
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