Readers Choice

15 Years of Great Books

June 2018 marks the end of my fifteenth year of writing a monthly “Reader’s Choice” book review column for The Town Courier. (Yes, I was quite young when I started. …) Reading back over them, I marvel at the terrific books this new century has brought. Just for fun, I picked my favorite book of each year for anyone who might want summer reading suggestions. This list also holds several of my all-time favorite books, each marked with an asterisk. Enjoy!


2018 “A Gentleman in Moscow” *
by Amor Towles
Delightful novel of a Duke confined.


2017 “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” *
by Gail Honeyman
Good days, bad days and better days.


2016 “When Breath Becomes Air”
by Paul Kalanithi
Sometimes death teaches us about life.


2015 “We Are Not Ourselves”
by Matthew Thomas
A wife’s world shifts seismically when…


2014 “All the Light We Cannot See”
by Anthony Doerr
A chilling, but dazzling, historical novel.


2013 “The Burgess Boys”
by Elizabeth Strout
Better than her Pulitzer-Prize winner!


2012 “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” *
by Rachel Joyce
Simple, fun-to-read, yet powerful novel.


2011 “The Paris Wife”
by Paula McLain
A trip to Paris’ Left Bank in the 1920s.


2010 “The Art of Racing in the Rain” *
by Garth Stein
A wise old dog narrates this tear-jerker.


2009 “The Thirteenth Tale”
by Diane Setterfield
Filled with surprises and revelations.


2008 “The Uncommon Reader”
by Alan Bennett
A gem about the Queen’s new addiction.


2007 “The Glass Castle” *
by Jeannette Walls
All-time top memoir of kooky parenting.


2006 “I Feel Bad About My Neck”
by Nora Ephron
Laugh-out-loud stories about aging.


2005 “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”
by Mark Haddon
Protagonist Christopher tells it like it is.


2004 “The Time Traveler’s Wife”
by Audrey Niffenegger
You think YOU have problems with hubby.


2003 “A Year of Wonders”
by Geraldine Brooks
Reading about a plague can be satisfying!

Betty Hafner will continue to share reviews of good books on occasion, but she will no longer write a monthly review column. She is the author of the award-winning “Not Exactly Love: A Memoir” (2016), which the Midwest Book Review found “exceptionally well written, brutally candid, and ultimately inspiring.”

The Town Courier will miss Betty Hafner’s regular column. We have appreciated all of her wonderful book reviews over the years.