Jan. 3rd, 2010 02:34 pm
listersgirl: (books)
[personal profile] listersgirl
Libba Bray Sweet Far Thing

I have to admit that, as much as I enjoyed the first book in the series, by about half way through this one (the third) I really just wanted it to be over. I felt it got really repetitive, like she took one long novel and stretched it out into 3 books. Not the best ending to the series.

Austin Clarke More

The winner of the Toronto Book Awards (I decided to read all the nominees this year). I liked it, but I didn't love it. Clarke is definitely a fantastic writer who creates unforgettable characters (like this Caribbean immigrant to Canada whose son has gotten involved in something dangerous), but the book was somewhat repetitive and he just kind of lost me part way through.

Anthony De Sa Barnacle Love

Another Toronto Book Award nominee, about a Portuguese immigrant to Toronto and his son's life here. Not the most exciting story, but I loved how deeply Toronto was enmeshed in the story.

Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper's Daughter

An interesting novel about a doctor whose wife has twins, one of whom has Down syndrome. Thinking to spare her the pain he went through when his sister died young, he tells her only one child survived, and sends the other to a home, but the nurse who was at the birth takes the girl home instead. It was a bit overly emotional (or maybe just too much of the same emotions), but worth reading.

Victor Gischler Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse

The cover blurb compares it to Christopher Moore meets Quentin Tarantino, and that's pretty accurate. It was funny, sometimes very funny, but why is it that in any kind of post-apocalyptic society, women characters are only ever useful for their bodies? The misogyny was a bit much for me for large chunks of the book.

Elizabeth Hay Late Nights on Air

So fantastic! Everyone should read this book. It's about a radio station in the Yukon, but more than that, it's kind of a love letter to the Yukon itself, and what it does to the people who live there. Really awesome.

Maggie Helwig Girls Fall Down

This was another nominee for the Toronto Book Awards, and the one I would have picked for the win. In the subway, a girl throws up, complaining of the smell of roses and being poisoned by the air. It spreads throughout the city. No-one can find anything. Meanwhile, a hospital photographer meets up again with a woman he loved many years ago and had never forgotten. Fascinating, emotional, and a little creepy.

A.J. Jacobs The Guinea Pig Diaries

A bunch of shorter experiments conducted by Jacobs, the man who read the encyclopedia and lived by the Bible for a year. Some of them were quite entertaining. I got the impression that he really is very involved in the things he tries, that they're not entirely so he can sell books.

Patricia McKillip The Bell at Sealey Head

A fun fantasy novel recommended by [ profile] c0untmystars about a grand house where doors sometimes open onto another world full of rites and traditions that must be followed. Got me out of my reading slump - I definitely wanted to see what was going to happen.

Nathan Rabin The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture

Very entertaining, and I liked how the "comic essays based on my tragic life" format was filtered through specific pop culture moments.

George Saunders Pastoralia

You know, this book of short stories has been on all sorts of "best of the decade" lists, and I just don't see it. I thought the ideas behind the stories were interesting and clever, but I found the writing a bit blah. Oh well.

John Sewell The Shape of the Suburbs: Understanding Toronto's Sprawl

I enjoyed the first 2/3rds of this book, looking at the early years of the growth of Toronto's outskirts, but by the end it dissolved into discussions of committees and protest groups that the author himself was involved in, and the minutiae nearly killed me.

Lionel Shriver The Post-Birthday World

Another awesome book! The two lives that happen when a woman kisses a certain man, or doesn't. One of the things I loved about the book was that I never felt partial to one life or the other, so I was continuously curious to see how it would end, without hoping for a specific conclusion. Really quite fantastic.

Charles Wilkins In the Land of the Long Fingernails

The last of the Toronto Book Award nominees. This one is a memoir of the couple of years the author worked in a local cemetery, when he was was in university, and the utter bizarreness of the experience. A very fun book.

I also got on this big kick of re-reading Nora Roberts books. They're not as awesome as I remember them being, although I haven't gotten to the ones I liked best at the time. It's possible this is another case of things best left un-revisited, though.
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