Novels we’ve loved this year

Novels. We love to talk about what we are enjoying and all our staff have their recent favorites. At the monthly column at the Hearts & Minds website, we have a nice essay describing a few of the recent stories we’ve read. There are some truly wonderful novels, fiction that deserves to be known. See our reviews there, and add a few comments here at the blog. What would be your pick for best novel so far this year? Have you heard of the ones we’ve reviewed here? Join the conversation and let us know. Thanks.

9 thoughts on “Novels we’ve loved this year

  1. A little earlier this year the entire Strauss household went on a Marilynne Robinson trip – I’m pretty sure that our daughters will still say that Ms. Robinson is their favourite author of all time. I think they liked Housekeeping even better than Gilead, though. You mention Tobias Wolff in your review essay – we’ve also all recently read his Old School, and found it imaginative and thought-provoking. We liked it because the main character … almost everyone in the book, actually, except for Ayn Rand and her cronies … so loved books, even if they got that love all twisted up. I just finished The Foreign Correspondent, Alan Furst’s latest historical novel. Furst is one of my favourite genre novelists, and while his work is predictable, the whole body of his novels is a kind of memorial to the range of people who lived and died in resistance to the Nazi tyranny.

  2. Oh, a question. In our new home we have a neighbour who we are getting to know. She is a voracious reader of crime fiction and spy novels, in particular, but she has fallen head over heels in love with the Da Vinci Code. Now, I am not looking for apologetical recommendations – you have written about such books, as have others – but rather, for recommendations of thrilling light fiction that would open up for such a reader a more imaginatively truthful vista on the world than that on offer by pop gnosticism. Any suggestions?

  3. Thrilling light fiction. Wow. I could rattle off a few,but, knowing your thoughtful reading habits, and the importance of this nice gift you intend to give, I better think a bit. We’ll ponder just a bit…Thanks for your always thoughtful and very encouraging comments. Love to all at Comment.Byron

  4. thanks, byron for this list–more things to aspire to read- “This Heavy Sigh” (a book I’m writing about the books I don’t have time to read–JK)I’m glad you included “Gilead”–what a poignant novel!Doug

  5. GOT THIS EMAIL FROM A FRIEND, WHO TOLD ME TO POST IT HERE FOR HIM….I’ve got a novel recommendation for you. I’ve recommended this novel nowto some half a dozen people and all have been blown away, like I was. Perhaps you’ve already read it. If not, you will not regret picking it up and reading. It’s called The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let it go. In a nutshell I’d say it’s about the human condition, about loneliness and longing. Perhaps also about theimportance of stories to our survival. I’ve read it twice!Okay, peace, my friend,Kevin

  6. For the DaVinci Code reader, try Madman, by Tracy Groot. The pace is more like Gilead– I felt like I floated through the novel. As a mystery based in ancient times, it shed a truthful light on the spiritual environment without being overly “spiritual.” I particularly enjoyed learning more about all that surrounded the god Dionysus.

  7. My Angela went forth and bought Ms. Groot’s book. Thank you for the advice!

  8. Okay, that’s the winning-est monthly column, ever! Fiction! That beautiful thing! Thanks, thanks, thanks for your myriad of suggestions. I also like your “why read fiction” thoughts, too. Most of these titles are news to me (been a bit busy this spring and summer). Scott rushed to the library with a list in hand, and we’ll see what he brings back…I appreciate the lengthy, rich list. I’m sending it to my reading group. And I’m looking forward to a juicy novel, sometime soon.

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