Best Books Of 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, many of us make lists. Some things on the lists are good, some things on the lists are bad. This is my best books of 2015. In no specific order are the best books (and honorable mentions) of 2015.

Best Books

  • As If: Author and journalist Jen Chaney interviewed cast and crew to provide readers and fans with an inside view of the making of Clueless. A good book and a good read, especially for fans of the film.
  • The Nightingale: A World War Two era drama about two sisters whose lives are altered by the war. An intense historical drama with real relationships that is one of the best books of the year for me.
  • Lady Maybe: A lady’s maid travels with her employer. When her mistress appears to be killed in a carriage accident, the main character is presumed to be her dead mistress. I’m not really a fan of historical romance novels, but the writing was excellent and it was without the over sexed romantic sap that is usually part and parcel of novels of the genre.
  •  Fear Of Dying– Erica Jong’s most recent novel about an aging former actress still trying figure out what she wants out of life. Fans Of Jong will recognize the voice from her previous novels, but there is also an appreciation for women of a certain age, which is not often seen in our culture.
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves– The story of two young women coming of age in the South in the 1950’s. One is black, one is white. While the reader may think they know what is coming, there is a twist that elevates this book to a new level.

Honorable Mentions

  • Becoming Un-Orthodox– Former Orthodox Jew Lynn Davidman interviews other adults who made the conscious choice to leave the extreme religious communities that they were raised in. The book is revealing, but can get tedious with the same stories being repeated over and over again.
  • Stolen Legacy: The story of a Jewish woman trying to regain property that was stolen from her ancestors by the Nazis during World War II. A fascinating memoir, but a bit dry.
  • Young Elizabeth: A memoir of the life of Queen Elizabeth II from birth to her coronation at the age of 25. Another fascinating memoir that was also a bit dry.
  • Re Jane: A modern re-telling of Jane Eyre. Jane is half Caucasian, half Asian. Living with her late mother’s relations who treat her poorly, Jane takes a job as a nanny for a couple in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. A nice re-telling of Jane Eyre that would make Charlotte Bronte proud.
  • Emma: A modern take on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma. While the book is true to the source material, some changes might turn off readers who prefer the original novel.

This will be my last post of 2015. Thank you to everyone who read, liked and commented on my blog throughout the year. Wherever you go, whatever you do, have a safe and happy New Year. I will see you in 2016.


Fear Of Dying Book Review

Getting older is not easy. We watch our parents lose their health and their independence. We watch our children become adults and have children of their own. We watch our own bodies change shape and become saggy. And if you are a woman of a certain age, you are put aside for a twenty year old.

Erica Jong’s latest novel, Fear Of Dying, is about this part our lives. Vanessa Wonderman is an actress whose best professional years are behind her. Her parents teeter on the brink of death. Her daughter is halfway through her first pregnancy. Her husband, Asher, who is some years her senior is experiencing health problems of his own.

Needing to feel like a sexual being again, Vanessa joins, a website that matches married people with other married people for no strings attached get togethers. Could this website be inspired by her best friend, Isadora Wing, known for writing novels that some people might call salacious?  Can Vanessa find a way to disperse this restless energy via meaningless sex with strangers or will she find another way to release it?

For fans of her previous work, this novel is a signature Erica Jong book. The frank sexuality, the questions about feminism, the issues with family, etc. As with any writer, Jong includes pieces of her own life in the novel. And for fans of her most famous novel, Fear Of Flying, including Isadora Wing in the cast of characters bring the story full circle.

I absolutely recommend this book.

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