Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2010 Recap - Printed Words

Chuck Klosterman - Eating the Dinosaur
I really loved the essay comparing Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Branch Davidian David Koresh, even if you could make a solid argument for why it should not exist. All of Klosterman's big ideas may be incorrect (or impossible to prove), but I'll forego accuracy so long as they're fun to read.

Nick Hornby - Juliet, Naked
Parts of this book delve into interactions on internet message boards for rock bands, assuring us of how lame a modern-day reboot of "High Fidelity" would be. Not an important or groundworking novel, I'm sure, but Hornby is so easy for me to digest I wonder if I'll ever dislike his work.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamozov
I had this idea. I would ask my friends what their "most important" book was, and I'd read them, and we'd talk about how it affected each of us. Adrienne ruined the whole thing, because sweet lord is Russian literature long and... long. Really long. If I wanted to finish my experiment, I would have needed to renew the library loan roughly a billion times, and taken a week off work. Instead, I decided to shut it down. I'd read one-fourth of the mammoth text.

Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
I bought this paperback for a song (the title of the song was "One American Dollar") at the semi-annual book sale at the local library. The book reminded me of "Winesburg, Ohio", even though I read that book eight years ago and only remember some scene about a man in a church looking across the street at a woman (?). If I were to describe the theme of each book, it would be: Life's a bitch and then you die. (I am not a professional literary critic.)

Saul Bellow - The Adventures of Augie March
Another book bought cheap at the book sale. Another book with no discernible story arc. Another abandoned book.

Max Brooks - World War Z
I am growing weary of the zombie craze, and I had read a bit of Brook's tedious Zombie Survival Guide, so it took a strong recommendation from friends for me to read this. It is well done -- for one thing, it establishes clear rules of what zombies can (live underwater) and cannot (climb) do -- and hopefully the movie in development will also be well done.

Chuck Klosterman - Fargo Rock City
I'm just a few years young for the sweet spot of readership, but old enough to understand and appreciate most of the context. The only bad thing about this heavy metal retrospective is you occasionally get songs like Skid Row's "Remember Yesterday" in your head for 24 hours.

Bryan Lee O'Malley - the Scott Pilgrim series

I never got into comics. Reading this series, I realized that the subject material was never a problem - I just can't enjoy the style of reading comics. Do I read the dialogue first, or look at the drawing? How carefully do I need to look a the drawing? Where do I put my eye next? I looked at the author's blog, and he'd posted examples from his work that show how it can be a confusing process for the reader.

If Edgar Wright directs every comic adaptation going forward, I see no reason to read this stuff.

Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go
I think this is a good book? Seeing the movie might help me decide. I can't figure out if I knew the novel's "secrets" because of what I'd read in book/film reviews (the NY Times review plainly reveals the "mystery"), or because the secret isn't well-kept. Certainly, readers should avoid the Library of Congress page. God forbid I check to see what year it was written, only to see the spoiler-laden labels the LOC applied to the novel.

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