Like everyone else in the blogosphere I wanted to do a short count-up of my favorite books for the year. I’m pretty sure only one of these books is a relatively new print (The Adults – Alison Espach) and the rest are just books I happened to read this year and fell for, cried over, and later drowned in. (Up a river without a paddle, har har). It took me forever to write just one blurb for the first book because I’m feeling after-Christmas lethargic. Even though the family had ham not turkey – and I’m honing my vegetarian skills so I don’t touch the sad pig. Because I’m lazy, mostly, instead of writing paragraphs, you can check out a few of the reviews on the “Books Read This Year” page and for everything else I’ll just write a quick sentence.
After reading my one-sentence wonders, it may seem that I have a very strange book taste – which is true, my palate is quite smooth and wet (and depressing). I generally don’t like best sellers (just a fact). A lot of times it’s because I’ve already talked myself out of liking it before even opening the cover page and sometimes it’s just because the writing is horrendous. See: One Day by David Nicholls which I have tried to give away countless times, and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I also refuse to read anything that has made Oprah’s Book Club, unless of course it doesn’t say that on the cover and I’m tricked into it.
What this means for you: if you particularly hope for a fairytale ending, I don’t really recommend any of my favorites for your reading pleasure. I’m not a fairytale kind of girl….(except when I’m planning my wedding, without any ring, on pinterest). But everyone needs a little darkness. We’re all attached to those gray shadows anyway. Just coon up, and let the black dust span in.
1. Lark & Termite – Jayne Anne Phillips
- A story of a train out of water.
2. Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safron Foer
- A folktale and the reality of a Jewish-American road trip.
3. The Adults – Alison Espach
- A ripening.
4. Blue Angel – Francine Prose
- Bad sex in Creative Writing.
5. The Country Between Us – Carolyn Forche
- Two girls; one has been to Paris, one on another road.
6. The Gathering – Anne Enright
- Three generations of potatoes, freckles and death.
7. Bee Season – Myla Goldberg
- A spelling bee, a shaved head, and a kleptomaniac.
8. The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisnos
- A young girl building a staircase in her mind rather than a wedding.
9. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
- True(ish) stories of your eyes, hair follicles, and slippery, red organs after the rest of you floats away.
10. Delicate Edible Birds – Lauren Groff
- Stories where the middle leaves no room for a happily ever after.
11. Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing – Lydia Peelle
- You’re on a farm, you’re riding a ferris wheel, you’re starving a crippled goat and losing your locket.
These are like six word memoirs for novels. For those of you who don’t know, six word memoirs are what people used before twitter and other social networking thought it would be cool to limit word count. For example, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” – Hemingway. If you’re really interested, see the NPR story on it (since you know I love to share a good NPR listen).
Hope everyone can give me some good recommendations for my 120 goal next year.