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Best Books of 2019 Larry and Saralee Woods (BookManBookWoman)

Best Books of 2019 Larry and Saralee Woods (BookManBookWoman)

Larry Woods (BookMan)

Nonfiction

“Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,” by Adam Higginbotham- reads like a Stephen King novel but terribly true since almost all the mistakes could happen again

“The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present,” by David Treuer- a tragic tale truly and well told

“The Education of Bret Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly (the two NYTimes reporters who covered the Judiciary Comm.hearings). They interview the 20 or so witnesses the FBI never bothered to interview as well as many college witnesses. Damning on every level.

“Guns Germs and Steel,” by Jared Diamond- rereading Diamond reminds me how very lucky the west European immigrants were in geography and disease resistance

“Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life,” by Richard Florida – a minority but powerful view of urbanism and development

“Sapiens A Short History of Mankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari. New and different interpretation of world history, or at least a different slant.

“Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy,” by Mike German- failure of our leaders in government and in law enforcement to regulate and supervise the FBI, especially in areas of intelligence investigations and in treatment of minorities

“The Nickel Boys,” by Colson Whitehead. OK, it is fiction, but all too true; proving again there should be a special damnation for the powerful among us who abuse the powerless.

Larry Woods – Best fiction or most fun to read at least:

“The Institute,” by Stephen King -Return of children, scary children, as his leading characters

“Woman in the Woods,” by John Connelly- for we lost souls who like a splash of Stephen King in our crime thrillers

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly. Is Connelly the very best crime writer in the world? Probably. Or at least until I read the next James Lee Burke John Sandford John Connally Karin Slaughter

“The City of Windows,” by Robert Pobi- Excellent crime thriller. So good I ordered his other three novels and they were , well, just awful.

“The Last Widow,” by Karin Slaughter -Will Trent lives and Emory University Hospital bombed in first chapter. Good to have a female writer who is the most coldblooded, vicious and diabolical of them all. Move over Jim Thompson, Mickey Spillane, Thomas Harris, James Cain, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald; you have been beaten at your own game.

“Force of Nature,” by Jane Harper- Australia is the same as here for crimes and violence.

“Red Swan,” by P.T. Deutermann. CIA thriller with more than one or two plot surprises.

“The Wanderers,” by Chuck Wendig. For all lovers of dystopia.


Saralee Terry Woods (BookWoman)

10 of her favorites out of the hundreds read in 2019

“Late Migrations- A Natural History of Love and Loss,” by Margaret Renkl-beautiful collections of short essays about life and nature. The perfect gift for yourself

“American Dirt,” by Jeanine Cummins- I cannot stop thinking about this book. The story of a mother and young soon running for their lives.

“The Secret We Kept,” by Lara Prescott – a novel inspired by the true story of how the CIA tried to get published copies of Dr. Zhivago into the hands of the Russian people when the book was banished in Russia.

“Inspired- Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again,” by Rachel Held Evans. I put off reading this last book by such a gifted writer who died too soon. Her insight on the interpretation of scripture is comforting

“Nothing to See Here,” by Kevin Wilson – so twisted and entertaining. Children with a special talent disrupt a Tennessee family with political ambitions

“Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows,” by Balli Kaur Jaswal- Niki is a modern woman living in a traditional Sikh community in London and teaches a writing class to Punjabi Widows

“A Better Man,” by Louise Penny – I am constantly amazed that Louise Penny is not recognized by the New York Times as one of today’s best writers. Her series featuring Armand Gamache just keep getting better. Her books have “shelf life.”

“The Woman’s Hour-The Great Fight to get the Vote,” by Elaine Weiss – this true account of the battle to get Tennessee to pass the 19th Amendment reads like a novel. And it is set in Nashville.

“Homegoing,” by Yaa Gyasi is brilliant. One sister marries a slave trader and the other sister is captured and becomes a slave. This is the story of each sister’s descendants.

“The King’s Justice – A Maggie Hope Mystery,” by Susan Elia MacNeal. Out on February 25, 2020, I love where MacNeal is taking Maggie. World War II is still going on in London but Maggie has decided to stay in London for a while and fight her own battles.

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