Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year In Books

22 in 2010. I'm up two books from last year. These must be non-fiction--just 10 of the 22 are novels. In fact, looks like I read only memoir since August. Could this be true? Some fiction in there was stopped and started, for sure, due either to lack of interest or the library calling.

Some favorites from this year:

memoir
These books deal in extremes, I see now: a car accident, the holocaust, the afterlife, walking a tightrope, getting punched. Even the sweet-spirited Coop, on chickens and child-rearing, has a heart-rending section on the drowning of a young boy.

Half A Life, by Darin Strauss
The Gloves, by Robert Anasi
The Wheel of Life, by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
To Reach The Clouds, by Philippe Petit
Coop, by Michael Perry
Night, by Elie Wiesel


fiction
Lately I've been noticing that what novelists do is capture what us ordinary folk think but are unable to express. When you read and say, Ah, yes, exactly, and your soul is stirred, you know it's good fiction. From this list, Let the Great World Spin wins out in that category; Engleby makes you think; and Her Fearful Symmetry is an interesting, if odd and flawed, read.

Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks
Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger

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