Friday, October 5, 2012

Three Quarters of a Year?

Could it be that we're three quarters of the way through 2012? I've just now accomplished writing 2012 on my checks without hesitating! Time, don't run out on me....lyrics to an old Ann Murray song. So, my question is, how many books have you read so far? Any favorites?

I'll brag for a second and tell you that I have hit a record - 94 books read in nine months. I guess I won't have to be scrambling between Christmas and New Years to make it to 100 this year. I'll share with you my top 10 so far but I have to say, there's a tremendous amount of literature out there drawing raves, yet when I sit down to read I find myself just saying "meh."

It doesn't feel right to blog here about books that I can't even enjoy myself. What kind of a writer would I be if I did that? Still, it stands to reason that some of you readers might be thrilled with a novel that just doesn't appeal to me. So, am I doing you a disservice by not giving those titles a name?

OK, let's begin: Night Watch by Linda Fairstein. She's a fabulous speaker who attended our Reading Festival a year or two ago and lit up the room. A feminist, a former New York state prosecutor, and a sex crimes specialist. So why did her series character, Alex Cooper, come across as a whiny, wimpy woman besotted by a slick talking Frenchman? In the middle of the most important case of her career - think Dominique Strauss-Kahn - she's more wrapped up in her "boyfriend" Luc Rouget than in getting her conviction.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan didn't even meet the rule of 50! Anyone else read it through?

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. OK, I'm only reading this because I know that I should. Ms. Mantel was a huge award winner for Wolf Hall, a fictional look at the scurrilous King Henry VIII and his secretary Thomas Cromwell. This is the sequel. It gets me through my walks but.....

Defending Jacob by William Landay. I'm five discs in and waiting.....I've heard from everyone that the ending is a knockout but, gee, shouldn't the characters strike you as real, sympathetic, or just remotely likeable before the last fifty pages? We are having a discussion on this one at the library so I'm anxious to be able to give it a great review!

Don't you find that it's really a difficult proposition to "rate" books? I hate it when asked that age-old question..."if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one book..." I'm trying to come up with my top ten so far this year and notice that some of the titles that I enjoyed the most are barely on most folks' radar screens. Nevertheless, these are the ones I wish you'd try:

Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman
Heft by Liz Moore
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Alys, Always by Harriet Lane
Canada by Richard Ford
Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
Emily Alone by Stewart O'Nan
Paris In Love by Eloisa James
Life Itself by Roger Ebert
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones


Lisa May said...

I have Three Weeks in December from the library on your recommendation. But I have to say I didn't enjoy Alys, Always - I ended up skimming it.

I just counted, and I'm up to 92 books read as of Tuesday. But one of my goals was to read more books than I bought, and another to read this year all the books I bought this year - both of which look doomed to failure at this point.

TooManyBooks said...

Ha! I'm just finishing up #101.

Sallyb said...

Hi Lisa and Maryellen. Well, you overachievers! Guess I'm not so special after all.

Lisa, I'm thinking that Alys was just too nasty for you. She was so evil but I think that's what I loved about the writing. That the author could actually make us cheer for the evil one. I hope you enjoy the Schulman.