As we turn our backs on 2009, and look forward to a happy and healthy new year - filled with wonderful new novels - Let us also remember to take a moment and reflect on the BEST and WORST books that we have read this past year.
For me, here they are in no particular order:
A Story With a Twist
The Secret History - Donna Tart
The prolouge grabs you quick and rather furiously. As Tartt allows Richard to tell his story, the only story he knows how to tell, you begin to wonder... how reliable is Richard as a narrator? What, or who, is driving this group of college kids? Who can be trusted, and who must be constantly watched?
Grundish and Askew - Lance Carbuncle
Carbuncle achieves perfection in his slightly darker, more gory sophmore novel of two buds who stick together through thick and thin, running from the law and the awful things they did. It reads like a runaway train and finally comes to a crashing hault with an ending I certainly did not see coming! Filled with some really fun, cool, literary and film references.
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
A return to what is possibly my favorite genre - Apocalyptic Fiction. A man-made plant raised on farms for it's oils, a comet of strange green lights, and waking up to a world so far removed from any that we have had to survive before.
Revenge is So Sweet
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
I knew it was love before even completing the first chapter. Dumas's writing called to me, even after I placed the book down on the shelf to take a break, or go to work, or do summer-things with the kids. I encourage everyone out there who has yet to read this book to do themselves a favor, find a reading companion, and dive in. Though it took me an entire month to complete, I wouldn't have missed this for the world!
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
A creative use of repetitive visuals. Taking what would ordinarily be a mundane and sleepy situation, he works his magic on us by dazzling us with his words. Part best friends traveling the country, part shoot 'em up and knock 'em down cowboy, part love story... Part pondering God, part survival of the strongest, part struggling to find your true place...
The Double - Fyodor Dostoevesky
I am pretty sure I have missed something here. I must have. But I cannot bear to reread it to find out what I missed. Such a shame, as I really loved The Brothers Karamazov. Tsk Tsk.
Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
The begining of the book was beautiful, very poetic, very haunting. But once the story got going, it lost all its soul, and rotted on the page, stagnant and stale, for hundreds and hundreds of pages. But FINALLY, right there, right at the end, Stegner returned me to that lovely, soft, poetic place.Too bad he couldnt have kept that magic the whole way through.
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
Oh man. This book was sheer torture. The writing was dry and bland and boring. Swift had some really interesting ideas - An island of people no larger than your finger. Another island with people that are 60 feet tall. A floating island, an island of scientists, the island of Yahoos...but the execution was hard to appreciate. I came very close to putting this novel down many many times. This was just painful.
Sunset of Sorrow
Sunset Unlimited - Cormac McCarthy
Not your typical Cormac. Not by a long shot. Two men wax poetic about Jesus, and life, and death. Written in the form of a play, Sunset Limited is stripped of everything but their conversation, which takes place at one of the mens kitchen table. Definitely not my favorite from this author. And verged on the edge of preachy-ness, a little too much for my comfort.