Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 1 - The Best Book You Read Last Year

Or maybe I should say Entry 1 -- because if you've been around for a while you know that I'll get sidetracked and even if I didn't, I don't blog every day, and even if I did, I'd get sidetracked. See what I did there? Full circle. 

You also know that a few years ago I started, but never finished, a 30-Day Book Meme, so you're no doubt rolling your eyes and thinking, "What? Again??" 

Well, yes. Because I'm an author and I think about books .. a lot.  

So here goes: The best book I read last year. Would it surprise you to know that it was an older book? Or that it's a toss-up between two books? Or that both books are older books? Well, try not to be too surprised.  

I read quite a bit last year, but not as much as I could have. As I look back on my year of reading (thank you goodreads!) I realize that several of the books on my list from 2014 were books for young readers that I read along with my oldest granddaughter. We plowed through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and knocked off several Judy Moody books, which added to my somewhat impressive list. 

I read several books that I already owned (including my two favorites) and several that I checked out from the library. I don't borrow books from friends because (a) I don't like to loan books to friends and (b) I've already proved that I can't be trusted to either read them in a timely manner or return them before the friend moves to parts unknown, or I move across country. (Yes, that is shame you hear.) 

I read several books for contests in which I acted as a judge. All of those books were newly published last year. Sadly, none of them qualifies as a favorite read. I won't discuss them here because that would be against the rules and unethical. 

So which two books did I read (or re-read) last year that qualify as my favorite?  

1.  The Rich are Different by Susan Howatch. 

You could substitute several books by Howatch here (Penmarric, Cashelmara, Sins of the Fathers) if I'd read them last year -- but I didn't, so this one wins. 
Dinah Slade was young enough to be Paul Van Zale's daughter. But she didn't care. She was a very ambitious and beautiful woman with her eye on Van Zale's tremendous fortune. However, she hadn't counted on falling in love. Paul found himself attracted to Dinah in a way he had long forgotten. Her vitality, her sensuality, consumed him. With her he could forget his past, his wife, his enemies, his empire....
If you like family sagas, the kind that were big in the 1980s, you'll love this book. If you prefer short reads, well, you'll want to give this one a miss. As for me, I'm sure I'll be reading it again. 

2. Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer.  

Again, you could substitute a number of books by Mr. Archer here, and any one of them would do. This was the first book of his I read back in the day, however, and this one remains my favorite. 

Again, this one's a family saga full of all the stuff a family saga should have: love, hate, lust, greed, betrayal ... You know. All the good stuff. 
Born on the same day near the turn of the century on opposite sides of the world, both men are brought together by fate and the quest of a dream. These two men -- ambitious, powerful, ruthless -- are locked in a relentless struggle to build an empire, fuelled by their all-consuming hatred. Over 60 years and three generations, through war, marriage, fortune, and disaster, Kane and Abel battle for the success and triumph that only one man can have.
And yes, I'm sure I'll read this one again, too. 

What about you? What was the best book you read last year? 

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