Saturday, January 30, 2010

Books read in 2009

This is an incomplete list of books I read in 2009, starting sometime in April and finishing with January (yes, of 2010, I know). I've posted the previous post and this with the full intention of getting back on the blogging horse. I've figured out what I'm going to do with my life, and it's only a matter of time. In the period of waiting for my real life to begin (after Colin Hay), I will be mounting a few endeavours, including reading all the Booker Prize winners, and perhaps perhaps perhaps, tentatively beginning a long-gestating novel. So without further delay, the incomplete list of books I read (in random order) interspersed with some comments.

The first part includes the Booker Prize winners:

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
-very overrated, I found this disappointing - worst of the Booker
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
-this was an absolutely fantastic read... possibly one of the best novels I've ever read in my life
Paddy Clarke Hahaha by Roddy Doyle
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Gathering by Anne Enright
Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
-I would place this high on a list of Best of the Booker
The Life and Times of Michael K. by J. M. Coetzee
-unbelievably awesome
The Sea by John Banville
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Last Orders by Graham Swift
In A Free State by V. S. Naipaul
-Undeserving of the Booker; definitely a minor work for Naipaul
The Ghost Road by Pat Barker
-I felt wholly ambivalent of this work. Perhaps it's because this is the third part of a trilogy that I hadn't read the first two parts
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
-extremely difficult work that reminds me of Gaddis mixed with Coetzee
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Holiday by Stanley Middleton
-a very British work that reminded me strongly of Yates

The rest of the list:

Swan Song by Robert McCammon
Last Night at Twisted River by John Irving
-shockingly amazing. I couldn't believe how good this was
Until I Find You by John Irving
-terrible.
Slow Man by J. M. Coetzee
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
Age of Iron by J. M. Coetzee
Last Night at the Lobster by Stuart O'Nan
Songs for the Missing by Stuart O'Nan
Under the Dome by Stephen King
-not bad. definitely the mark of an expert plotter
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
Masks of God Volume One Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell
Masks of God Volume Two Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell
Child in Time by Ian McEwan
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
-I should have read this years ago
A Tragic Honesty: The Life of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey
Clockers by Richard Price
Light in August by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
-I have a difficult relationship with his prose. I can never get past the cold surface and enjoy whatever the world loves about his work
Soul Circus by George Pelecanos
The Way Home by George Pelecanos
A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis
-hilarious
Freedomland by Richard Price
Samaritan by Richard Price
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Wiseblood by Flannery O'Connor
The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester
-perfect
Disturbing the Peace by Richard Yates
Babel-17 by Samuel R Delany
Empire Star by Samuel R Delany
-this is one of the best science fiction works I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Ripley Under Ground by Patricia Highsmith
Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
-decent
The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick
The Crack in Space by Philip K Dick
Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
-heartbreaking, graceful, beautiful, and almost fragile in its exquisite prose
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
-not sure why critics are so divided on this... I loved it.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
-fantastic!

Here's what I've got on my plate for the next couple weeks:
Possession by A. S. Byatt; Saville by David Storey; Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey; The Gold-Bug Variations by Richard Powers; Beloved by Toni Morrison

I will attempt to review these as best as I can. Looking forward to seeing you again at a lay of the land...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm very impressed by the books you like. Have you read any of Craig Nova's novels? CRUISERS, THE GOOD SON, INCANDESCENCE are a few. His new one THE INFORMER is coming in March.

matthew. said...

Never heard of him, but am intrigued enough to Google him. Thanks for the recommendation