On Writing, by Stephen King, 2000. As a writer and writing coach, I am always on the lookout for great writing books, and this is one of the best. It also turned me on to Stephen King in general, who I’d always pretty much written off as a ‘commercial’ writer, churning out formulaic pot-boiler bestsellers. What a huge mistake!
Atonement, by Ian McEwan, 2001. A gorgeously written, twisty, provocative novel about the complexities of adolescence, betrayal, love and war.
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, 2006. A quirky entertaining, recipe and strange craft book. Amy’s more famous brother David has nothing on her for funky oddness.
Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell, 2005. 365 days, 500-odd recipes. Julie Powell cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, trying not to have a cow and kill herself or her benighted husband every day. Spawn of her famed blog, and inspiration for the movie with Meryl as Julia Child. Something you’d never think will work, but does.
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich, 2002. The best first 50 pages ever written, in my opinion. And the rest isn’t too shabby either.
A Dog Year, by Jon Katz, 2003. I have to admit prejudice here. Jon Katz writes non-fiction books mostly having to do with Border Collies, his dog o’choice and mine. I’m on my third Border boy right now. That said, this is the perfect book for dog lovers, a hilarious tear-jerker about Mr. Katz’s relationship with a pathetic, panicky, abused Border named Orson. A cathartic book that made me laugh and cry out loud.