All the Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr

Set during the end of WW2 a young blind Parisian girl is enduring the occupation on the coast in her great uncle’s house.  At the same time a teenaged orphaned German boy finds himself in an elite Nazi training camp.  Their paths cross in climax of this unique wonderful novel.  A great read if you are one of the few who haven’t read it yet.

PJH Rating: ****1/2

Redeployment; Phil Klay

A group of loosely connected short stories about American soldiers in the Iraq war told from different soldier’s viewpoints.  Some in Iraq, some at home after the war, and all rather detached about the conflict or at least the reasons why they are there.  Sad but interesting read.

PJH Rating: ****

Old School; Tobias Wolf

Set in an elite boarding school in the early 1960’s a student deals with being an outsider among the privileged boys in the school culminating in a horribly bad decision he makes at the very end of his tenure.  Interesting literary short novel with fictional visits to the school from Robert Frost and Ayn Rand – who was a complete bitch – great.  Powerful ending with a switch in perspective from the ex-Dean of the school

PJH rating: ****

My Top Five Books of 2014

I read fewer books this year than usual.  I hit a couple of ruts and also started many books and never got into them.  I did read some good novels though, especially towards the end of the year.  Without further ado:

My third annual top five books that I have read this past year:

The Book of Unknown Americans,Christina Henriquez, -heartbreaking tale of immigrant family from South America trying to live the American Dream.  On many top lists for year deservedly.

Everything I Never Told You, Esther Ng – tale of an Asian-American family living in an Ohio town.  Suburban angst mixed with racism, marital woes and all other sorts of fun stuff.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tart – I have talked to so many people this past year who tried and tried but just couldn’t get through The Goldfinch.  It indeed is quite a hefty one but I enjoyed it, especially the end.  I appreciated the story, you really got into who the characters were and really got absorbed into it.

How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz – A novel of how to treat a woman I guess?  I love Junot Diaz novels.  I don’t understand a bunch of it as they’re always throwing Spanish in but its great.

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion – An easy breezy book about a super nerdy College professor who goes about looking for a wife in “off the spectrum” ways in which he lives his whole life.  A fun novel.  I’m on the wait list for the sequel that just came out.

My 2013 Top Five

My 2012 Top Five

I love end of the year best book lists.  It’s my go-to for finding something good to read.  Some of the ones I look at:

Here’s to a prolific 2015!