Monday, January 12, 2009

If I Only Read 10 Books in 2008

We-ell I'm getting over the ominous stuff. Weird Monday-ness.
Anyways, here's the book round up for 2008. If I had only read 10 books it would've been these 10. Some of them were award-winning and eloquent, but some were teen romance-y books that were just fantastic because I got so involved in the alternate universe that I almost missed my train stop. No lie.
Here goes:
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
I loved this story of family, loss, and the struggle to be something different. The prose is vivid - I could *see* Central Square, their first apartment, even India.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This end-of-the-world story is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read in my ENTIRE LIFE. Seriously messed up. I'm glad I read it nevertheless. The story is fascinating - how did McCarthy come up with this sh*t? I liked the sparse dialogue between father and son and found it very believable. I don't know if I could ever see the movie though. Ugh.
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
This was an inspirational non-fiction piece that focused on educating children, women in particular, in the far reaches of Pakistan. The goal of Mortenson is to end fundamentalism and cultural misunderstanding to foster peace and learning and tolerance throughout Pakistan and the world. I thought his attitude and outlook were refreshing and inspirational.
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
This book chronicled the Dustbowl. My grandparents are too young to really remember this, which makes a book like this invaluable to generations who weren't living in this era. It's also a pretty serious look back at how crappily we treated the environment and how it had its revenge. Sooo not funny. No, Sarah Palin, that Global Warming is for real!
An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks
This is the weirdest book - a compilation of all of the strange "brain cases" Sacks dealt with throughout his career, like the brilliant doctor with Tourette's or the blind guy whose sight was restored and hated every second of it....or the guy who joined a cult and then had an untreated brain tumor and had terrible terrible weird amnesia. It was frickin' fascinating.
Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker
Books about Zimbabwe are pretty much automatically going to be sad. This was very sad, but had such a message of hope worked into it. It was also a fascinating account of the struggle of international adoption in Africa - the mixed-race couple thing being factored in there added a whole new aspect to it too.
Whatever You Do, Don't Run by Peter Allison
This book was hilarious. True tales from a Botswana safari guide. If you read this, you will want to go to Botswana. Actually, you'll probably want to quit your job, move to Botswana and become a safari guide. I did!
Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat
I've read fiction by Edwidge before, but none of her nonfiction and certainly nothing so personal. This is the story of her uncle as well as her childhood in Haiti. The book also discusses her uncle's experiences visiting the US from Haiti as well as his treatment as a foreigner seeking political asylum. It's positively heartbreaking yet completely free of self pity.
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan
Ha, another disturbing book. This is a collection of short stories that deal with human trafficking throughout Africa. It made me beyond sad, but I think it's very important to be aware of these types of issues - especially in Africa, a continent to which so many of us turn a blind eye.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyers
CANDY FOR MY BRAIN. I'm not gonna make any excuses. This is good teen deliciousness. I ate it up, then I ate up the next three in the series, and then I saw the movie twice. These will be the type of books I'll pick up again and again when I want to delve back into the drama of an entirely inappropriate romance. Yummm.

Well that's that. Forgive my crapass book synopses. It's the end of a long day :) I am off to go home, work out, and then have a FAT cocktail. Made it through another Monday!


everything and nothing said...

The Road is one of my favorites from last year as well. I just lent a copy to my roomate. Brother, I'm Dying looks interesting too. I've been irrationally avoiding it because I associate the title with Death Be not Proud (the book not the awesome Donne sermony thing).

Al said...

Can you imagine The Road as a movie?? *shudder* Ah, I thought you meant the Donne work at first :) It's a fantastic book, and I totally had no interest in reading it because I thought it would be either preachy or self-righteous or self-indulgent like some memoirs are, BUT it's really none of those things!