Friday, February 13, 2009

Book List 2009

1. Hurry Down Sunshine- Michael Greenberg
True story of his daughter's extreme mania. Greenberg is a writer so it's well written. Interesting look at madness and bi-polar disorder- close to genius...? Loved it. Maybe I shouldn't admit to loving a book about madness...? Anyways. Hope it's not a harbinger of what's to come this year.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl- Phillipa Gregory
Holy cow! Could not put this book down. A page turner, filled with royal, nasty, historical intrigue. Based on the life of King Henry VIII and his wife- Anne Boleyn.

3. The Echo Maker- Richard Power
Hmmmm.....there is so much going on this novel it's difficult to wrap my pea brain around it. At times I felt like this book was genius and other times I was so confused by the crazy plot I thought the writer must be smoking something funny. Whatever, it's an ambitious novel that attempts to weave together seemingly disparate...stuff. Neuroscience hits white trash Nebraskans with some cranes and a mysterious guardian mixed in for some spice. How's that for plot? Powers gets credit for reaching deep into the idea of self and perception and how the brain works. An extreme book with extreme characters and ideas.

4. Twilight
Stephanie Meyer. What a leap from the last book! Well, I read it at the behest of a friend and to see what all the hoopla was about. Sigh. Poorly written drivel about high school kids who are vampires. A human girl falls in love with one of the vampires and lots of smoldering looks ensue. A handsome boy (who sparkles!) and a good-smelling girl ( who is a klutsy bore!)....oooh, sounds exciting, doesn't it? Nope. This book is painful to read on so many levels.

5. The Virgin's Lover. Phillipa Gregory
What an embarrassing title. Sounds like some torrid romance novel. Well, I loved 'The Other Boleyn Girl' so much, I had to read more by this author. Not quite as well written with a much weaker plot, still a solid read. It revolves around Queen Elizabeth I and her supposed love affair with Sir Robert Dudley. Lots of fun detail about the royal court and the church and wars during that era.

6. The Boleyn Inheritance Phillipa Gregory. Think I'm finished reading Gregory now. Starting to get a bit repetitive.

7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Hated it. Long, boring and obscure. Couldn't quite figure out what was going on with the dead dad and the evil brother.

8. Women With Men. Richard Ford. Reread. Why can't more writers write like Richard Ford?

9. The English Major Jim Harrison. Loved. Literary and funny. The musings of an old guy on a trip across the country after his wife leaves him.

10. When You Are Engulfed in Flames. David Sedaris. Funny stuff, although I had already most of these essays in The New Yorker.

11. Beautiful Lies. Lisa Unger. Can't remember much about this one- oops. And I read it just a month ago.

12. Food Matters Mark Bittman. If I ate like this guy suggests I'd turn into a will-o-wisp and blow away. But I should eat less red meat and stop contributing to the meat manufacturing in this country. Tonight I'm eating fish.

13. The Soloist. Steve Lopez. Wonderful, inspiring story of an LA Times journalist who befriends a homeless guy who happens to be a musical genius of sorts.

14. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Murakami. Easy- going style, meandering thoughts on why he runs. I really enjoy Murakami. I think maybe if I met him I might fall in love with him.

15. Home Safe Elizabeth Berg. Entirely readable.

16. The Condition Jennifer Haig. Discovered a new author- yay! Family novel, all about sibling relations and a syndrome called Turners Syndrome which I had never heard of before.

17. American Rust. Phillip Meyer. Excellent. Unique writing style. Each chapter from one characters point of view. Story about two young guys responsible for the murder of a homeless guy but really it was self defense. Subtle and sad. Set in Pennsylvania steel country.

18. Trouble. Kate somebody or other. Doh! I got nothing.

19. The Piano Teacher. Janice Lee. Set in Hong Kong after WWII it's about love and whatnot and the whole class system. Intriguing.

20. Netherland. Joseph O'Neill. Very New York- like. Can't say I enjoyed this one. Too much about the game of cricket, which I care not a wit for, and a vague main character dude who can't seem to get a handle on his marriage.

21. Belong to Me. Marisa de los Santos. Meh. Too precious. Everything works out so hunky-dory you want to smack all the characters.

22. Bright Sided. Barbara Ehrenreich. Oh, I do enjoy her. Especially the essay about getting breast cancer- unsentimental, real stuff. Everyone should read her.



Blogger a.e. said...

I so agree with you about Twilight. Bella is the most boring female protagonist I've ever read. And really--what is up with why so many young women LOVE this novel? I think it may be that Edward is so singularly devoted to her--and also that Bella is such a retrograde character (much like a sedated 1950s housewife) that she does not challenge patriarchal power in any way. Although perhaps young women liek that she is kind of an "everywoman" of sorts. Who knows?

5:54 AM  

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