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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The First Annual Brown Book Blog Love It Hate It List

It is still January, so this post could be considered legit. Besides, for any book blog, it seems it is mandatory. Otherwise, we might find ourselves the outcasts of the book blogging world. Maybe we already are?

Favorite books read in 2008.

I think only sharing books published in 2008 is too limiting. So, let's dig in to anything we read in the last year and as we swap titles, our respective To Be Read lists will bloat up, which is the only kind of bloating that is actually cool.

Here are mine:

There were three that jut out in my mind.

Sharp Teeth. This book absolutely amazed me. Mr. Barlow took a big risk writing an epic poem, especially in this era when poetry is not the most appreciated writing form. He more than excelled in my opinion. It had a lovely rhythm without making you constantly aware you were reading poetry. The story itself had me riveted, even the gory scenes which didn't seem to throw me into fits of nightmares like some would. I hope to see more by this talented author.

The Last Lecture. As inspirational books go, this one tops them all, if only for the reason it is not full of itself or flowery. Mr. Pausch had an astounding take on life and he certainly lived it fully. This book inspired me to reach harder for my goals and touched me deeply. I loved the way he could write with such tenderness then shift into comedy and all throughout he doesn't sugar coat things. I like writers who don't sugar coat. I think we need more of those.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Point of view. This book takes you into the mind of a young (I believe he was about 15) autistic boy. And it is done extraordinarily well. Mr. Haddon dealt with family relationships, the frailty of being human and how love and trust do not automatically go hand in hand. But you never felt like you were being preached to, in fact I never realized those subjects were being dealt with truly till I finished the book. The story itself is so engaging that you get the points without realizing it. I do have one confession about this book. I didn't actually 'read' it, I listened to it on my iPod. Does that count?

Books I loathed:

Dear American Airlines. Maybe loathe is harsh, but reading 192 pages of vitriol just got to me. I can't sustain that much anger for that long. And frankly, even if I could, I just wouldn't want to. It's not that I think Mr. Miles is a bad writer. On the contrary I found the writing itself excellent. But the overall emotion of it just killed it for me.

The Sister. This book took me forever to finish. And I had to force my way there. It was riddled with long long long long passages about moth collecting. Yawn. I apologize to Ms. Adams, but after slogging through really slow and frankly boring segments, the end was a disappointment to me.

Your turn. Tell me your best loved books of 2008 and your garbage bin books too!


Gordo said...

I tend to condemn books and movies to the dust bin of my memory, so I really only retain the ones that I like. Sharp Teeth was a huge one. I was completely enthralled by this one. I was introduced to classic free verse (Homer, Ovid) at just the right age to appreciate them (Grade six teacher was a classics nut) and reading the modern version of them was amazing.

After 25 years away, I got back into comic books again in 2008: The Sandman, V for Vendetta, The Watchmen. Amazing stuff. Expensive, but something that I can justify over a longer period of time. Far more substance than Richie Rich, I must say. ;-)

Gordo said...

Cripes, I sound ancient ... 25 years ... Sheesh

meno said...

I liked "Drunkard; some long subtitle" by Neil Steinberg. This book will help you stop drinking. A cynic's view of re-hab.

I also liked "Middlemarch" by George Eliot. Took me a long time to get through the first half, and then i flew through the second half. Oh, the language, the dialouge. sigh!

I HATED "An Arsonist' Guide to Writer's Home in New England" or something like that. The protagonist was a hapless bumbling boob. I didn't make it past the first half. i don't care for books that are tragedy disguised as comedy.

I don't like lots of books, but i never finish reading them. I just put them down and wander off.

meno said...

Oh oh oh, i also REALLY liked "Get Me Out of Here; some other long subtitle." by Rachel someone.

It's about a woman with borderline personality disorder and it's a classic illustration of attachment theory.

patches said...

I liked Steinbecks' East of Eden, Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, Berg's Say When, and Irving's Cider House Rules.

I detested Candace Bushnell's Four Blonds & Trading Up, Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, and Thoreau's Walden

Clowncar said...

I liked Sharp Teeth (thanks for turning us all onto that one!). Seven Types of Ambiguity. Life of Pi. Bridge of Sighs.

My favorite book of the year was probably Lush Life, by Richard Price.

The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud, was absolutely dreadful.