This year I have been a busy little reader, although most of what I have read is either something I’ve read many times before (The Borrowers by Mary Norton) or something I don’t feel is worth recommending (The Sisterhood by Emily Barr), so I am WAY behind on updating the On Books section of this site.
By way of an apology I am going to go ahead and list the recommendable books that I’ve read so far this year in their own post before adding them to that page. I hope you enjoy what I have to say and I hope that you are inspired to read some of the titles.
(First I want to say that my “first few books of 2010” prediction was WAY off. I have completed two of the titles I listed [one of which was very disappointing!], but not the other five. Woops!)
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
My full review HERE. After reading only the first few lines of this debut novel by Jon McGregor, not only did I want to lock myself in a room until I finished it, I knew that as soon as I did I would want to start it all over again. A breathtaking masterpiece. Still my favourite of 2010.
The Book of Nightmares by Galway Kinnell
By far and without a doubt my absolute favourite book of poetry, ever. Kinnell is an unparalleled master of his craft and this astonishing book-length poem is phenomenally good. A bit gruesome, yes; Kinnell expresses with a fierce imagery the brutality, anguish and horror of 20th century history and yet there is tenderness here, a lyrical beauty rarely found on this Earth.
My favourite section is number seven, entitled “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight” and written for his daughter, Maud. There is such an intensity of love on these pages it will leave you breathless. Kinnell is a genius.
The full text of this book is available HERE, although I only give you the link knowing if you read the text there your next step will be to purchase the book so you may read it over, and over, and over again.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This is an exquisitely wrought tale of heartbreak, fear and confusion following the lives of African-American maids working in white households in Mississippi in the 1960’s. Moving and unforgettable.
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
I found this difficult to get into though I am very glad I stuck it out. Harsh and uncompromising yet wholesome and uplifting.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Oh, my! Did I ever love this book. Beautifully written; an unflinching account of life in a travelling circus during The Great Depression. Be warned – if accounts of cruelty to animals upset you to any great degree you should stay away. You’ll be missing out, though.
Tinkers by Paul Harding
Stark and haunting. Unbelievably well written. Harding’s descriptive power is incredible – you are able to feel the snow and taste the oranges. When he describes dirt you feel as though you should go wash your hands. More than deserving of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
I loved this even though I found it difficult to continue at times. A revelation near the end left me reeling for days.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Pulitzer Prize winner for 2008. I have to admit that some of the history bored me, but I dislike history in general so that was unavoidable. Oscar stole my heart.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
A collection of short stories all relating to the central character, an abrupt woman named Olive. It’s a love/hate relationship with Olive, but in the end you adore her. It leaves you with a great deal of unanswered questions. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009.
Up next? Well, I am still working on The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I recently bought The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, so those are high on the list.
The book I am taking with me on holiday is The Princess Bride by William Goldman because it is light and heart-warming and something I have read (many times) before.
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