Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yeas and Nays of July through December 2010

It's been another excellent six months of reading, and I only have two "nays". So, as I've done in the past, rather than giving you six yeas and six nays, I'm giving you 10 yeas and 2 nays to add up to 12.

Yeas (alphabetical by title)

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
I don't care what you say. You must read it. It very well might be The Great American Novel of the late 20th century. It's the only Roth I've ever read, and I'm afraid to read anything else by him because I can't imagine it would measure up to this. I owe you a TBR challenge blog post on it, which I hope to deliver soon.

Beowulf by Garth Hinds (well, and also by "unknown")
I was skeptical about reading one of my all-time favorites in graphic form, but Hinds won me over. His illustrations still haunt me, and I love how faithful he was to the epic.

The Bhagavad Gita ascribed to Vyasa
It took me forever to read it, but I loved it, found it fascinating, especially all the parallels between it and The Bible.

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
I already waxed poetic here.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I have to reread it every decade or so just to make sure it's still one of my all-time favorites. Rest assured: it is.

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Nobody writes contemporary, scathing satire at its British best better than Pratchett. Oh, and he cleverly disguises it as fantasy. And, here, he gives us dragons.

The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey
I wish the ghost of Edward Gorey would come down and pay me a visit. He can bring along M.R. James if he likes.

The Likeness
by Tana French
I don't care at all if elements of her plot are completely unbelievable. The woman can flat out write, and she keeps me turning pages way past my bedtime.

Othello by William Shakespeare
(You may have guessed this might be here from my last blog post.) The Duke in James Thurber's The Thirteen Clocks notes that everyone has talents, and his is being wicked. Iago's talent puts that duke to shame. And has any female character ever been more heartbreaking than Desdemona? Tragedy just the way it should be.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
by David Sedaris
He's David Sedaris. He can do not wrong. Probably a book that ought to be read once a year. I'm sure I missed a lot on the first reading; his brilliance is often hidden in the subtlety missed while laughing. You can read more thoughts I had here.

Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett
Unlike Tana French, I did care at all that elements of her plot were completely unbelievable. Readers ought to be forewarned that a book requires suspension of all disbelief. Otherwise, we might feel duped. Again, more thoughts here.

Death Rites
by Alicia Giminez Bartlett
Still hoping something got lost in translation, as I noted here.


Stefanie said...

Hooray for Pratchett! I loved Guards! Guards! And Beowulf as a graphic novel. Hmm, I think I might give that a go since I can't seem to bring myself to read the actual poem.

Rebecca H. said...

I agree with you that American Pastoral is very good. I'd suggest reading Portnoy's Complaint, which is also very good, but in a completely different way. I will one day get to Tana French I'm sure!