Book: The Secret Place
Author: Tana French
Reviewer: Kristen Wilson, Associate Head, Acquisitions and Discovery, NCSU Libraries
Tana French’s The Secret Place is quite possibly the best of her excellent Dublin Murder Squad mystery series. She makes great use of the procedural genre, in particular an extended sequence where one of the main detectives interviews eight girls at an elite private school back to back. Each interview is a masterful character sketch, and all were completely fascinating. I also like how French is able to balance the classic procedural format with plot elements that are deliberately fanciful. She does this in every novel she’s written, and it gives her work a feel that is both emotionally real and somehow beyond reality.
Book: Painting as a Pastime
Author: Winston Churchill
Reviewer: Josephine McRobbie, NCSU Libraries Fellow
I picked up an early edition of Painting as a Pastime in a flea market as a present for my father, who is a Churchill fanatic. I ended up reading it cover-to-cover in one sitting, completely enraptured. This unusual book is Churchill’s essay on the importance of deep engagement with hobbies that are different, in terms of mental and physical demands, from one’s everyday work. In Churchill’s case, it was oil painting that allowed him some mental peace and emotional release from the “Black Dog” of depression and then-recent career setbacks.
Just in time for holiday reading and gift giving, NCSU Libraries has reprised its popular “The Best Book I Read This Year” blog with new entries from 2014. We asked students, alumni, Friends of the Library board members, faculty and staff to share their very-best, couldn’t-resist book picks and are delighted to share them with you. From picks for kids to high brow literature, this blog is sure to include something for every reader.
We’d also love to hear from you — if you’ve got a book that knocked your socks off in 2014, take a few moments and follow the link below to submit your own review.
Submit your own review!
Read 2013 reviews.
Read 2012 reviews.
Book: The Checklist Manifesto
Author: Atul Gawande
Reviewer: Venkitasubramanian Akshay, student, Industrial and Systems Engineering, NC State
A simple solution to a complicated world. This book is an exciting read for anyone who is looking for an excuse to discover the power of simple Post-its and how it has transformed the world around us. Beautifully written, this is by far the best book I have read this year
Book: Bright Shiny Morning
Author: James Frey
Reviewer: William L. Page, NC State alumni, class of 1983
The story takes place in Los Angeles and has four story lines. A homeless person, a young couple from Ohio, an immigrant Mexican, and a mega famous movie star. They are all chasing something in LA and encounter some tremendous struggles. The book also mixes some very cool facts and history about the city of Angels. What I especially like is the ending, one happy, one tragic, and two kind of in-between. Try it — it’s fast, it’s engaging, and unique!