In 2011, Teresa and I started what’s turned into one of our favorite annual traditions: giving each other five book recommendations to read during the coming year. Some of them have been books we’ve been badgering the other person to read for years; some of them have been blue-sky recommendations that we just know the other person will love. And so far, we’ve had remarkable success: every single book has been a minor or major hit. (We do have the advantage of a twenty-plus year book-loving friendship, but still, that’s a pretty good batting average.) With no more than a drum roll, here are our choices for this year!
Jenny’s Picks for Teresa:
1. The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge
2. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
3. Song of the Dodo by David Quammen
4. Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin
5. It by Stephen King
Teresa’s Picks for Jenny
1. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
2. The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
3. A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
4. The Children’s Book by AS Byatt
5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Teresa: Ha! I totally knew there’d be some Nabokov on your list for me. It was just a question of which one. And I had a feeling about Elizabeth Goudge, as well as It. I took a couple of Goudge books out of the library last year but never did read them, and I had every intention of reading It last year but didn’t get to it. I’ve been wanting to try Laurie Colwin—Another Marvelous Thing is on my shelf—and I’ve wanted to read more David Quammen since enjoying Monster of God several years ago. This looks like a great list, and I’m looking forward to them all!
Jenny: After seeing The End of the Affair hit your all-time best list for this year, I had a feeling it would make your list for me, too. I can’t wait to read it and discuss it with you — I love Graham Greene. And I was like you with The Children’s Book last year — I had every intention of reading it, but I didn’t quite get to it. Now I will! The one surprise for me is Life of Pi. That’s been hovering on the edge of my radar ever since it came out, but I don’t even really know much about it, and I certainly didn’t know you were a fan. Now that I do, I’m excited to read it, and all the rest of them. Let the turning of pages begin!