Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Best Book I Read in 2008

Here's a list of the books I finished reading in 2008:
  • The Lay Of The Land by Richard Ford
  • The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
  • The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta
  • Duma Key by Stephen King
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
  • Lisey's Story by Stephen King
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
  • The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
  • The Collected Stories by Richard Yates
  • A Multitude of Sins by Richard Ford
  • Wildfire by Richard Ford
  • A Special Providence by Richard Yates
  • The Easter Parade by Richard Yates
  • A Good School by Richard Yates
  • Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates
  • Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates
  • A Question of Upbringing by Anthony Powell
  • Ticket To Ride by Dennis Potter
There may have been a couple other books I don't remember reading at this moment. I'll edit if I can remember. So what was my favourite book?

That's a tough one. Like I talked about here, in my confession of great failure, there's appreciating pure artistry and there's pure entertainment. The book that I finished the fastest was Pelecanos' novel. The book that took me the longest was either Richard Ford's The Lay of the Land or Powers' novel, both of which were amazingly complex books.

I think the novel that I read in 2008 that combines excellent composition with mass amounts of entertainment is Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road. A novel about the dissolution of a marriage due to the frustrating claustrophobia of suburbia, this novel had perfectly drawn characters, realistic dialogue, complex themes and images, and it stuck with me long after I read it. So long, actually, that I went to the library and read, in the span of a couple weeks, the entire Yates oeuvre.

A runner-up would have to be Richard Ford's The Lay of the Land, the novel that gave this blog its title. The third part in a trilogy focusing on regular joe Frank Bascombe, I absolutely loved this novel not quite as much as The Sportswriter, but I loved it regardless. As a whole, the trilogy stands up as a singular work, a bildungsroman of a middle-aged man.

I wish that I had read more books in 2008, but trips, a girlfriend, two jobs, a promotion, a move and other life lessons had their spotlight in the sun. For 2009, I plan to read A Dance To The Music of Time by Anthony Powell in its entirety, The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, and Harvest Home by Tom Tryon, which I've already started.

I have a lot of books to read in my room, and I will get to them all. I'm on a big reading binge right now and I'm going to git 'er done, the books I mean. Keep your eyes and your browser locked to this blog and you can read all about it!

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