Best Nonfiction: Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art out of Desperate Times by Susan Quinn. A book about my two favorite things: federal arts funding and the depression.
Worst Nonfiction: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style by Tim Gunn with Kate Maloney. It turns out Tim Gunn is not that interesting in book form. He didn’t even say make it work, and that takes like, one second to type.
Best Fiction: Hunger by Knut Hansum
Worst Fiction: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Maybe it’s because I read it a decade after I should have, but it was pretty forgettable. This does not bode well for The Grapes of Wrath.
Best Memoir: A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald Ford by Gerald Ford. Or as I liked to call as least half of it, “Hey, Let Me Tell You What Else I Don’t Like About Ronald Reagan by Gerald Ford.”
Worst Memoir: Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton. It just kind of rambled on to nowhere.
Even the Author thought Chester A. Arthur was boring: Chester A. Arthur by Zachary Karabell
Sarah Vowelliest: Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Best of the Genre I’m Ashamed I Occasionally Read: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I kind of liked the movie.
Worst Chick Lit: Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella. You would think by now they would see that this woman has a problem.
Best Year of Doing Something: The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. Take that, book about a year of cooking recipes from the Bible.
Best Terrible Conspiracy Driven Online Publication I Regret Reading: Kissinger: the Secret Side of the Secretary of State by Gary Allen
Best Title: The Art of Tying the Cravat: Demonstrated in Sixteen Lessons, Including Thirty-Two Different Styles; Forming A Pocket Manual; and Exemplifying the advantages arising from an elegant arrangement of this important part of the Costume; Preceded by A History of the Cravat, From its Origin to the Present Time; and Remarks on its influence on Society in general by H. LeBlanc Esq.
Worst Book about Food: House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby’s Cafeterias by Carol Dawson and Carol Johnston. Throughout the book the authors alluded to a terrible crisis in the restaurant’s history, calling it the “worm in the apple” with all the drama short of adding a Dun-Dun-Dunnn at the end of each chapter. In the final chapter we discover this crisis is the lawsuit over family money and that one side of the lawsuit actually wrote the book. It seems odd that this is presented as the worst part of Luby’s history, as the chain’s past includes multiple deaths, all of which, from a CEO’s suicide to a mass murder in Killeen are described in gruesome detail. Describing Luby’s as the pinnacle of the American Dream, this book’s highlights include randomly placed family photos of Luby’s founders and descendants posing together or square dancing and little of the actual restaurant. If you want to recreate Luby’s dishes, you’re in luck, they did print recipe cards with 1/3 of the ingredients and all the instructions missing. All in all, it really captures the spirit of dining at Luby’s.
Best Book about Food Save the Deli: In Search of the Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen by David Sax
Best Collection of Martha Mitchell Quotes: On With The Wind: Martha Mitchell Speaks (additional dialogue by John Mitchell)
Reread Book I’ll Read Again: Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee