The Book List 2015




Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr  four-seasons-in-rome-9781416545972_hr

Part memoir, part travel journal, part treatise on teaching ourselves to see common things with fresh eyes, Doerr’s book chronicles the year he spent in Rome with his wife and 6-month old twins.  There are spots in the this book where the imagery he invokes still sticks with me.  “Through a window In Monteverde,” Doerr writes for example, “A ladle smokes on a butcher’s block.”

What also sticks with me, is that if you were never quite sure how to keep a writer’s journal, this will be the book that teaches you how to do it.  It will teach us, I hope, to wonder, to learn about all that surrounds us, whether it be in Rome or in a small town like the one I live in.


The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva20120725_fallenangel_57

I’ve been a huge fan of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series for quite sometime and I try to space his books out so I don’t read myself out of the series.  I’ve written before about Allon, the Israeli spy and art restorer.  You can read that post here.

The books are exciting and action-packed; they hop around the globe, taking me to places I would love to visit in real life (and some places that I would rather stay away from), and they weigh modern politics and policy.  In short, they do all that espionage novels should.

What I enjoy most about these novels though, is that not only do I lose myself in them, I learn from them.  I learn a lot about art–especially now that Allon is retired and devoting more time to restorations.

Sorry I’m short on summary.  You find a good summary by clicking on the cover, but I highly recommend both this series and this individual novel.




Redeployed by Phil Klay

A collection of short stories and a National Book Award winner written by Iraq veteran, Redeployment-673x1024Phil Klay.  The book contains 12 stories, some of which deal with soldiers while at war and others when those soldiers come home home.  Some stories are horrific, others are funny, but they all left me thinking about those individuals who served and the scars they carry.  What struck me the most though, were the stories about soldiers needing to tell stories, to share the burdens of what they witnessed.

At times, the book reminded me of Tim O’Brian’s The Things They Carried, which is high praise.  Some critics have argued that this may be the book that allows writers to finally start delving into the war on larger level.



Lost Light by Micheal Connellylostlight

When I was working on my first novel The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, I used Connelly’s Harry Bosch books like a Bible.  I learned so much about writing from these books. When I picked up Lost Light after not reading a Bosch book for a couple of years, I was amazed at how quickly those writing lessons resumed.  I’ll expand on those lesson later in the blog.

Lost Light was kind of a big book in the series as Harry had previously retired from the LAPD and started working cold cases on his own.  It was also Connelly’s first attempt at writing in the 1st person POV.

Yeah, again not much on summary.  So you can click here if that’s what you need.

But again, if you a model or a framework for writing one hell of a mystery novel, this is your book.



4 thoughts on “The Book List 2015

  1. This is a good idea. No, a great idea. Simple, but perhaps effective in encouraging one to make more time to read. Yup. I think I’m stealing this.

    • Ray Yanek says:

      Steal away! I’m hoping that keeping this list will make me more accountable for my personal reading, especially on those kng, busy days… I don’t think I’d be able to handle seeing any blank months on this list!

  2. Lisa says:

    I came to check out your blog for the A to Z challenge, but was distracted by the words “Reading List”. I read Gone Girl last year, and I was surprised and how much I loved and hated it simultaneously. Definitely not your run of the mill beach read.

    • Ray Yanek says:

      I can’t meaning to reply to your comment and then I would see something shiny and well, you know…. Anyway, I felt the same way about Gone Girl. It was a very uncomfortable read, but yet I kept coming back to watch the train wreck. Have no plans to see the movie, though!

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