Booktalk

Jan. 1st, 2009 01:55 pm
listersgirl: (books)
[personal profile] listersgirl
Gil Adamson The Outlander

Not the Diana Gabaldon Scottish-history-fest, but a Canadian book about a woman who runs away from the farm after killing her husband, and is tracked through the mountains by her brothers-in-law. Really good, if somewhat oddly unemotional. (And it's apparently one of the Canada Reads books for 2009! Maybe I can actually manage to read them all this year.)

Shalom Auslander Foreskin's Lament

This was an interesting memoir of growing up Orthodox Jewish. It was more angry and less funny than I expected. A good read, though.

Michael Chabon Gentlemen of the Road

A very quick fantasy-adventure novel. Fun, but way too short to really get into.

Emma Donoghue The Sealed Letter

I really love Emma Donoghue, and I love the novels she writes from pieces of curious history. Here it's from a court case in the 1860s, about a woman who gets drawn into a friend's affair, and the divorce case that follows. Fabulous.

Jasper Fforde Something Rotten
Jasper Fforde First Among Sequels

The thing about Jasper Fforde, which I discovered when I re-read the first 3 books and then read these two all in a row, is that he repeats himself like crazy, and it's quite irritating if you read the books too close together. Basically he writes each book as though you haven't read any of the others. I still love the first one, though.

Bill Fitzhugh Heart Seizure

Honestly? Have I really not book-posted since I read this? Oops. Um, I think I remember it being a mildly entertaining caper novel about a cross-country chase to get a donor heart before the FBI steals it for the president. Or something. Good summer reading, which just proves my point.

Anna Funder Stasiland

This was, I believe, a memoiresque story of a journalist who went to Berlin after the fall of the Wall, to talk to people who lived in East Germany. I very much enjoyed the writing, how the author's personal experiences and the stories of the people around her mingled. (recommended by [livejournal.com profile] yiskah)

Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber

The next in the Outlander series. They're getting big. Still entertaining, though.

Scott Gardiner King John of Canada

A very entertaining political novel I picked up entirely based on the title. The book is basically what it says: the story of a guy who becomes the King of Canada, as told by his friend and advisor. Occasionally too blatant in making jabs at specific political people, but a funny read.

AJ Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically

A year of strictly following the bible, ridiculous proclamations and all. Totally entertaining and fully awesome. Read it!

Kate Jacobs The Friday Night Knitting Club

This was bad. I bought it to go to Stratford with, because all my library books were too heavy, and I wasn't expecting anything life-changing, but not only did it seem like the author had been sitting around with her knitting club thinking "omg we're so funny! someone should write a book about us!", the book was in dire need of an editor. Clumsily written and terribly paced.

Chuck Klosterman Downtown Owl

Klosterman's first novel, it's a story of nothingness in North Dakota, and, I'm assuming, is heavily based on his experiences growing up there. I liked it.

Judith Lindbergh The Thrall's Tale

I read this based on a comment by [livejournal.com profile] sh1mm3r, about how the tone of something I'd recommended to her reminded her of this book. It's the story of a slave during the time of the Norse settlements in Greenland, and the battles between Christianity and the Norse gods. Very interesting.

Cormac McCarthy The Road

This book looked so bleak and depressing - I don't think I ever would have picked it up by myself, but I let myself get talked into it by a very friendly bookstore clerk. And I'm glad I read it - yes, it was bleak and depressing, but very well-written, and somehow cathartic.

Joe Meno The Boy Detective Fails

A quirky little book that I can't really describe - it's a tale of both childish wonder and deeply darkly adult pain. An excellent recommendation by [livejournal.com profile] chimeraesque.

Ann Patchett The Magician's Assistant

This was a beautiful, emotional book about loss and grief and building new families. Not even remotely what I expected from the title, which I think is quite tonally misleading. I loved it, though.

Tom Perotta The Abstinence Teacher

Great! I felt quite removed from his last book - something about the writing meant that I never actually felt the emotions of the characters. But here, in the story of a sex-ed teacher who comes up against a fundamentalist church, including her daughter's soccer coach who she is quite attracted to, everything felt immediate and real. (recommended by [livejournal.com profile] orionnebula)

Mary Roach Bonk

All the scientific details about sex you ever didn't know you wanted to know. From the woman who wrote about corpses! Truly entertaining and even educational.

Matt Ruff Bad Monkeys

A short twisty darkly comic thriller, that turns everything upside down every few chapters. Worth reading, although I didn't love it as much as his previous novels.

Joe Schwarcz An Apple a Day

This was somewhat disappointing - the author writes a nutrition column, and the book read like he'd put a bunch of his columns together. I did like the Canadian slant, though.

Kurt Vonnegut A Man Without a Country

Vonnegut's collection of rambling, sort of autobiographical essays. Fun.

I also, during this (ridiculous length of) time, re-read over half the fiction books I own. Somehow moving made me read a lot.

And thus concludes your book recommendations, other than the couple I couldn't take out of the library, and House of Leaves, which I just couldn't get into at all. I'm sure I'll be asking for more soon!
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