Last year I only read 16 books? I’m trying to do better this year… UPDATE: And clearly… I failed.
14. The Crow Road by Iain Banks (12/08/09) Excellent. The telegraphed ‘twist’ at the end didn’t hurt it at all. I really loved the characters in this book, and it made me want to be part of a sprawling Scottish family full of dysfunctional love. Recommended winter reading.
13. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (11/27/09) I mostly liked this book, but I did find a couple of her chapters irritating. The one I found particularly offensive was about how women who work full time jobs and can’t find time at night to cook for their families are basically lazy and fucked up and fucking up their families by not being able to put a balanced organic meal on the table for them. To which I say, listen lady, if you’ve ever worked a 12 hour day, had to take an hour bus ride home and hoped your kids made themselves some Top Ramen by themselves then you can talk to me, until then, you can cram your organic garden up your ass. Other than that, she seemed earnest, etc. I guess I just find her evangelical protestelitizing of wholesome eating kind of disengenous. Especially when the picture of her ’svelte’ family on the back cover of the book looked like a bunch of doughy losers who don’t know what the word svelte means, much less working for a living. Well…. I guess I’m a little more bitter about this book than I originally thought. Hm… Guess I won’t be recommending it.
12. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille (10/25/09) There was a time when I probably wouldn’t have written about a book like this for the public eye. I would have just hidden it in my dirty book drawer and returned to it when I needed a little “inspiration.” But here’s the thing, this is a fascinating story, not to mention, twisted, dirty and well written. It’s the best piece of erotica I’ve read, hands down, but it might not be your cup of tea. There’s some graphic abuse of a priest, and… yeah, probably you might get offended by that. Not to mention what they do to poor Marcelle. Anyway, I loved it.
11. White Teeth by Zadie Smith (10/ 23/09) It took me almost three months to read this book. It should have taken about 2 days. So by the end I had totally forgotten what had happened in the beginning which was sort of important, and I totally don’t get the end now. Because I drink. So… I guess that’s not much of a recommendation, but I really don’t blame the writing, because the snippets I was able to read of it in a single sitting were very entertaining.
10. Women: A Novel by Charles Bukowski (8/1/09) Reading this made me realize where Seth gets a lot of his vernacular. It was disturbing and comforting. I might go kill myself now. After I have another drink.
9. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (7/30/09) I think if I had bombed through this faster the Victorian use of coincidence wouldn’t have irritated me as much as it ended up doing. I really loved the characters, and the story is heart breaking, but god… If I wanted to read Dickens, I would, you know?
8. A Song of Stone: A Novel by Iain Banks (4/15/09) This is a really disturbing read. So, of course, I loved it. A civil war is raging, an incestuous family is caught in the middle and wow, the ending really brutalizes you. He’s got a way with torture!
7. Rockabye: From Wild to Child by Rebecca Woolf (4/4/09) This is a nice counter point to the ‘mother-hood-is-beautiful’ and ‘I-love-my-child-full-life’ books and blogs. She’s a good writer, and I think will continue to grow especially if she listens to some of the critics that accuse her of over-writing. It’s the sign of someone who’s just figuring everything out and I think she definitely will.
6. Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per Peterson (3/30/09) I love this book. It’s a gut punch with a satisfying if a bit mystifying end. Highly recommend.
5. Espedair Street by Iain Banks (3/7/09) This has a strong start and keeps really good pace almost all the way through, but there’s something lacking for me in the last 3rd of the book. I still recommend it for a vacation read though, and can totally see this being adapted for the screen.
4. Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (2/15/09) So, this is where masochism comes from. There’s some great stuff in here, entertaining and heart-breaking, and wow, Wanda is quite a character. Seth encouraged me to read it… Which is kind of hilarious because he’s not a masochist, but thought I would find it entertaining. Which I did. Also, kind of depressing.
3. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (2/9/09) Seth has been talking about this book since we started talking. I think I’ve seen all the modern film versions of the story, and the most recent live action one was my favorite, probably because it’s the most faithful to the story. There’s such intricate relationships explored and despite the overt anti-feminist slant and the racism, it’s a well told story. It is great to read aloud, which I did in bed on Sunday while it was raining outside. God, I love my life.
2. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (2/7/09) I expected this to be a little darker and examine her life as an alcoholic, bi-polar writer effected her relationships, etc. It was light, and didn’t talk very much about either of those things, except in vague relationship to the life she’s lead. I think the one-woman show would be fantastic, though.
1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami (2/4/09) The violence in this book is pretty graphically rendered, but the book is so good. There were a few times when I had to put it down and try not to think about things like men being skinned alive and baseball bats crushing skulls. Highly, highly recommend. There are a few things not specifically wrapped up, unfortunately, but it still is very satisfying.