31 December 2019

Favorite "Dozen" Books of 2019

Once again, there's the difficulty of having to narrow these down to a dozen; I usually end up with the traditional baker's dozen [thirteen] instead. If this was a "best books," maybe the Griffo wouldn't be on here, because there's a bit in the story that's on the edge of credulity. But, being a "favorite," it needs to stay, because I was just so delighted with the protagonist being a retirement-age Italian granny. So I guess my "dozen" will have to be fifteen entries and sixteen books this year.

book icon  The Bowery Boys Adventures in Old New York, Greg Young and Tom Meyers (taken from a podcast about historical areas of NYC, both still extant and now demolished)

book icon  Cool Hand Lou: My Fifty Years in Hollywood and on Broadway, Lou Antonio (an autobiography of the actor and director)

book icon  A Forgotten Place, Charles Todd (the latest Bess Crawford mystery, written in a Gothic style)

book icon  Dear Mrs. Bird, A.J. Pearce (a young British girl survives the Blitz while working on a stodgy women's magazine)

book icon  Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul, Barbara Reynolds (biography of the Lord Peter Wimsey author)

book icon  Underland, Robert MacFarlane (MacFarlane's tour-de-force about places underground from caves to crevasses to the catacombs of Paris)

book icon  Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-Luck Jay, Julie Zickefoose (Zickefoose's story of the rescue and raising of a blue jay)

book icon  The Rise of the Rocket Girls, Nathalia Holt (great story of the women who would work with the first rocket programs)

book icon  A Death of No Importance/Death of a New American, Mariah Fredericks (the first two books in Fredericks' new series taking place in the 1920s, with a heroine who is not a 21st century woman in 20th century clothes)

book icon  How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, Chris Taylor (the film series from George Lucas' original idea to hark back to the old movie serials to the present, with chapters on SW fandom)

book icon  Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (the American space program that put man on the moon, told in a graphic novel—perfect!)

book icon  Murder on Memory Lake, J.D. Griffo (starting new series with an unconventional heroine: a 60-ish Italian grandmother—when she exclaimed "Ah, Madon!" I knew I was home)

book icon  A Gentleman's Murder, Christopher Huang (British murder mystery with an unconventional narrator, a biracial man, post First World War)

book icon  The Body on the Train, Frances Brody (the latest in Brody's Kate Shackleton mystery series, and, if not the best, probably in the top three—great story!)

book icon  On the Map, Simon Garfield (another great book from Garfield, this time on the history of maps and mapmaking)

What's next? Oh, as Betty Roberts would say with delight, so many things! I have three ARCs to read first, one the latest Maggie Hope mystery story, and then I have Nathalia Holt's new book about the women at Walt Disney's animation department, The Secret Commonwealth as well as Philip Pullman's book about writing, and I still haven't gotten to Tony Horwitz's final book...

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