Everyone comes up with their Best Books of 2016 lists this time of year. I found books not on any other lists, because these are the ones we can all be thankful were not written in this or any other year.
5. FairtoMiddlinMarch – George Eliot’s lesser-known sequel to Middlemarch, this story explores the lives of residents in the neighboring village of Fairtomiddlinmarch. Everything in their little community goes along uneventfully until the next uneventful event takes place. When asked, all residents respond that life in the village is “Fair to middlin’.” It gets no better. Then again, it doesn’t get any worse either.
4. Sense and Sensible Shoes – Elinor, Marianne, and the sister no one recalls are left without an inheritance and find that the worst part is never being able to afford quality footwear. The drama unfolds as Marianne keeps running down hillsides in the rain, soaking her shoes to smithereens and twisting her ankle because of how flimsy her boots are. All ends well when Elinor marries a cobbler, while Marianne finds unexpected love with the rich owner of a chain of shoes stores who will sell the shoes Elinor’s husband creates. Even their little sister – whose name remains practically unremembered – is remembered each birthday and Christmas with a new pair of sensible shoes.
3. The Maltese Falconer – Sam Spade takes a break from the hard-boiled life of a private detective and vacations in Malta where he meets an aged falconer whose glory days are behind him. Seeing potential in Sam, the falconer entreats, cajoles and begs Sam to take over his craft. Sam smells a mystery and digs deeper. It turns out he’s wrong. Realizing his detecting skills have faded, Sam takes the old man up on his offer and becomes the next Maltese Falconer.
2. Murder on the Federal Express – Hercules Poirot learns of plans to carry out murder on a FedEx flight and – considering how similar it sounds to the case he solved on the Orient Express – he travels to the airfield to offer his services to prevent this one from happening in the first place. In one sense he is successful; there is no killing. Poirot departs when a shipping official informs him Federal Express is carrying a large assortment of birds for an aviary, including a murder of crows.
1. The Lord of the Rungs – Frodo Baggins of the Shire has always been a little fellow with a fear of heights. When his uncle Bilbo leaves him a gift, Frodo’s life changes forever. The wizard Gandalf arrives to reveal the magical secrets of the gift, a ladder that stretches to whatever length is needed and which imbues its user with the ability to scale heights without fear or faltering. With his trusty gardener Sam at his side, Frodo becomes the hero of the Shire as he becomes the Lord of the Rungs.
Happy reading, as long as it’s not any of these books. Let me know in the comments if there are any other non-novels I’ve missed.