The Eye


By Carole Reedy

December. A time to reflect on the year’s end and anticipate the days ahead. One of my favorite mind games is to review books I’ve read this year and investigate 2016’s fresh arrivals. As Julian Barnes reminds us, the pleasure is in the anticipation.

Here are my top ten picks from the 60 or so books I’ve read this year. Following the list are the preferences of THE EYE staff, who are naturally avid readers. Presented not necessarily in order of preference, though numbers one and two are indeed my favorites of the year…

1–The four books that make up the Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante. The author claims this is really just one long novel, divided into four selections: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Ferrante masterfully creates the world of two eight-year-old girls in Naples and follows them through adolescence and adulthood until they reach their 60s. The book received well-deserved accolades from the critics, and the author received a lot of press partly inspired (ironically) by her refusal to participate in publicity for her books, which she says should stand on the merit of the writing, not on clever advertising and promotion. Ferrante is a recluse, in the style of J.D. Salinger, who gives no live interviews or appearances and does not participate in book tours. In fact, Elena Ferrante is not even her given name.