So, here I am with a long list of books to devour. I’ll asess what’s come before, this year, last week, etc. Last week I read Jane Shapiro’s The Dangerous Husband in two sittings. It would have been one, but life happens. It’s the funniest book I’ve read all year. Well, it might tie with Leonard Michaels’ A Girl With A Monkey: New and Selected Stories. At one point while glued to The Dangerous Husband, my husband asks me what I’m reading. And I say, this guy is just so clumsy his wife must hire a hit man! I probably looked giddy, elated. My husband looked horrified. It’s a great book, a funny book.
I also read Victor LaValle’s The Ecstatic last week. It was a really good book that somehow manages to be boring and enthralling at the same time. Boring isn’t the right word….maybe pedestrian? No, it’s extraordinary and ordinary. It’s the first person voice that captivates, in addition to the bizarre family dynamics at play. It’s feels so real it’s sad, and some of it is so sad it’s funny, and that’s life.
Best book I’ve read all year: The Effect of Living Backwards by Heidi Julavitz. I don’t know what is up with some of the poor reviews on Amazon. Some folks obviously found it too difficult to read; several reviews say the storyline is too obtuse. I thought it was incredible, thrilling. And the reviewers who give only one star and admit to not being able to get past the first chapter–classy, real classy. In close second (or maybe a tie?) comes Kathryn Davis’ The Thin Place, which pretty much floored me on first read.
I’m in the middle of The Intuitionist right now…
I’m a longterm admirer of Leonard Michaels but the rest of these writers will be new to me. The biggest advantage of a list like this, for me, is I’ll get a handle on what sort of fictions you like, the better to gauge the value of your recommendations later. Hope you picked me some winners, ambergeek. Happy happy end-of-year wishes.