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

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

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014

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

2013

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

2012

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

2011

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

2010

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

2009

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

2008

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

2007

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

2006

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

2005

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

2004

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

2003

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.

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