Sunday, December 26, 2010

Books I read in 2010 that I liked.

As I was typing this list I noticed that kindle put the ones in my archive in alphabetical order so some from 2010 are missing and some of the following might be from 2009. Anyway I like all of these.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Sueden
Life by Keith Richards
Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes
They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell'Abate
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
The Stuff That Never Happens by Maddie Dawson
My Hollywood by Mona Simpson
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Believers by Zoe Heller
A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Following Polly by Karen Bergreen
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
Angler by Barton Gellman
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
The Beach House by Jane Green
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Butcher of Beverly Hills by Jennifer Colt
The Case of the Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
Caught by Harlan Coben
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
City of the Sun by David Levien
The Company She Keeps by Georgia Durante
Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad
The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Deception by Johnathan Kellerman
Deeper Than Dead by Tami Hoag
Dog On It by Spencer Quinn
Easily Amused by Karen McQuestion
Faith in Love by Liann Snow

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bloggedly helpless

Could somebody please add my name to the 2010-2011 Round Three Readers? I can't figure out how to do that.

Friday, December 10, 2010


What can I say? I should have read this book decades ago but I'm sure glad I finally read it now. My question is: How is it possible that Nabokov was able to elicit even the tiniest bit of sympathy for a perverted pedophile (is there any other kind of pedophile?) such as Humbert Humbert? Fascinating character and the writing is exquisite. I was in awe. As a matter of fact, this is a book that calls for a second reading some day. There are so many layers beneath the surface of every thought and sentence that it really is a necessity to read again. I'll be holding onto my copy.

Let the Great World Spin

This was such a GOOD (great! awesome!) book! Colum McCann knows his way around the written word. I was captivated the whole time. He took an historical event, Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the World Trade Centers in 1974, but kept us (the readers) down on the ground to witness the lives of a select few people and how they were all somehow 'connected' around the time of this spectacular event. You'll want to pick this one up.

Ok. Ok.

Hello again from Mama Lampl. I just can't stay away so now that I see that we're reading at a more leisurely pace this year, I'll pop on now and then and post my oh-so-wise reviews, read all of yours, and get some more reading material ideas. Always a necessary and fun bonus.

A warm welcome to Macy. LOVE your name!
Karen, come back!
Mikey...oh Mikey!! Quit playing in the snow!
Andrew, I especially love your 'first-liners' entry.
Hi Julie!!
Hi Erica!!

Alrighty then. Here I go again......

"Do you want Mexico to be saved? Do you want Christ to be our king?" "No."

The Savage Detectives is about two visceral realist poets, Ulises Lima and Arturo Bolano, who leave Mexico City on the last night of 1975 and travel around the expanse of the globe, to Barcelona, to Tel Aviv, to Paris, Catalonia, Madrid, Mallorca, San Francisco, searching for themselves, for each other, for guidance, for a lost poet named Cesarea. The story is essentially a collage of hundreds of conflicting first-person monologues - told to an always absent interviewer, perhaps an inquiring mind, perhaps Bolano himself - which together paint two decades of a broken chaotic and insanely beautiful earth.

Roberto Bolano feverishly wrote this and his other sprawling epic, 2666, while fighting against the inevitability of a fatal liver disease. He died in 2003 at the age of 50, leaving behind nearly 1500 pages of the most heartbreaking, poetic, lucid prose I've ever read. 1500 pages of memories, of stories, of philosophy, of imagination. Bolano has deeply infiltrated my consciousness, my strange loop, and I'm very thankful for the afternoon that Zeke Sulkes mentioned his name and I thought to ask: who?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

and now:

I'm a dork, and I've compiled a list of every first line I read in the 2009-2010 season, so with your permission, and without further ado, here goes:

Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.

In the afterlife you relive all your experiences, but this time with the events reshuffled into a new order: all the moments that share a quality are grouped together.

When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's The Thieving Magpie, which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.

If it were possible for me to narrate this story, I'd begin here.

Here they come, marching into American sunlight.

In some distant arcade, a clock tower calls out six times and then stops.

Eating in our time has gotten complicated - needlessly so, in my opinion.

The Dead Father's head.

Christmas Eve, 1955, Benny Profane, wearing black Levi's suede jacket, sneakers and big cowboy hat, happened to pass through Norfolk, Virginia.

The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through.

Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia.

Beyond the Indian hamlet, upon a forlorn strand, I happened on a trail of recent footprints.

This is a joke book that I wrote.

I love people!

I first met Perkus Tooth in an office.

The first time that Jean-Claude Pelletier read Benno von Archimboldi was Christmas 1980, in Paris, when he was nineteen years old and studying German literature.

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast.

Let the wrestling match begin: my stories versus his stories.

poems like gunslingers sit around and shoot holes in my windows chew on my toilet paper read the race results take the phone off the hook.

Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife.

David was six feet two, and on a good day he weighed two hundred pounds.

Disguised as a young Dinka woman, God came at dusk to a refugee camp in the North Darfur region of Sudan.

Skippy and Ruprecht are having a doughnut-eating race one evening when Skippy turns purple and falls off his chair.

Back then, I'd reached the age of twenty and I was crazy.

My name has been a matter of some concern to me over the years...

Every morning I sit across from you at the same table, the sun all over the breakfast things - curve of a blue-and-white pitcher, a dish of berries - me in a sweatshirt or robe, you invisible.

From an early age onwards, I pondered what my mind was and, by analogy, what all minds are.

The last word in this sentence is a four letter noun.

I'm lazily sneaking this in from the end of Round Two, and because it's now Round Three, I won't say much, other than if you are at all interested in shifting your perception and thinking about the world (and life and mathematics and the self and the way in which your mind works) in a Completely new light, please please please read this book. Because, after all, haven't you ever caught yourself wondering what I is?

New Blogger!

It seems as though we have fallen out of love with the blog. I will still continue to post, most likely, because I've really enjoyed keeping track of my reads over the last few years, but I'm definitely not slammin' for 50 anymore.

My sister Macy is going to join the ranks of the bloggers (in a similarly leisurely fashion), so that's pretty fun!

I hope you guys are still out there and doing wonderfully!