I don’t like to call myself an intellectual, but in 2015 I easily read more books than I watched episodes of Tiny House Hunters. Here are some of the most interesting of them, from any year.
Down Don’t Bother Me
by Jason Miller
Full disclosure: I designed and built Jason Miller’s web site, but that doesn’t have anything to do with why his book’s on this list. I have plenty of friends and clients whose work I don’t pretend to like. Down Don’t Bother Me is on here because it’s as enjoyable a crime novel as you’re going to find this year, by an author with a true voice and an equally true sense of place. One hopes that Slim can manage to find trouble all over rural southern Illinois the way Miss Marple managed to find corpses littering rural England so we can have more of these books.
Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s War, 1941-1945
by Leo Marks
This is the book I was reading on a bus in Brooklyn in 2001 the morning I saw a plane fly into the World Trade Center. A decade and a half later, I finally finished it, in a year when we again need what it offers: a testament to the necessity of intelligence and creativity when faced with dire situations that seem as if they need them the least, and to the necessity of determined compassion when it’s hardest to give.