December 23, 2012

2012: Books 6-11


Title
Author
Review
How to be Good
Nick Hornby
A fluffy quick-moving tale of an adulterous wife who gets her wish -- a transformed husband who looses all his bitterness and becomes the extreme embodiment of Good: loving, understanding, gaggingly empathetic, reaching out to the poor, giving away their worldy posessions, and more.
Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer
Famous in the late 90s, this book tells a personal account of a survivor who returned from the Summit on of one of the deadliest days on Everest.  A humbling reminder of how human life is fragile and existence, despite the best technology, depends on luck, good judgment and the cooperation of mother nature.
IQ84
Haruki Murakami
A three-book saga of childhood acquaintances who fell in love, grew up pining for one another, and finally found each other in another world with two moons where magical powers exist.
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro
A haunting tale of clones rasied to be organ donors and the minimal lives they lead.
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell
An epic tale in Ozarks dialect of stubborn survival in a savage poverty-governed world of blood-law.  I read this after returning from Cambodia and it reminded me that "third world problems" exist in every country, even America.  I am a few generations away from super strong blood-law.  But I understand it at a visceral level.  Both my father's people and my mother's people have their pride and their inherent rules (and their high numbers of siblings and cousins).  Blood law is a strong force.
Solar
Ian McEwan
A hilarious tale of a non-sympathetic protaganist: Brilliant. Dellusional.  Nobel Prize Winner. Philanderer. Lack of discipline. Fat. Guilty Situational Laughter inspirer. Exceedingly functional alcoholic.  Gloriously entertaining to watch the minimal plot as it unfolds, and yet, it ends, as you know it must, in tragedy. 

2 comments:

jensrunningblog said...

I've read 4 of these books. I have to say that I had a very hard time with Solar. The main character is so unlikeable, but also, as I have observed from my years in academia, easy to find. (Maybe not all of those characteristics in one person, but definitely in a few.)

Biting Tongue said...

Huh. Interesting that you've read 4 of these books. I generally find that my reading desires are all over the place and rarely shared by other people in all areas. I agree, the main character of Solar was horrid as a whole, and yet, his bits were so familiar in every day life.