note: this is pretty much my 2011 reading so far, bar a few random titles here and there. we’ll see if i can keep better track this year!
Beat the Reaper, Josh Bazell: this book scratches two of my reading itches (ok, that is the worst metaphor ever, but it made me giggle, so i’m leaving it in): my medical drama obsession a la House and early Grey’s Anatomy; and my love of mafioso plotlines a la The Godfather (no, i never did watch The Sopranos). it is ridiculously over the top, and all sorts of awesome. if you’re looking for a whizbang smart action-movie sort of book, this is it. also it’s been out for forever, SORRY JOSH.
Fly Over State, Emma Straub: disclosure: i know Emma IRL, and am a happier person for it. but i would have loved this book (well, actually it’s more like two novellas) anyway. she is funny and smart and piercingly insightful, and you will live little moments of life along with her characters. and she’s got a new book of short stories coming out soon too!
The Fates Will Find Their Way, Hannah Pittard: from what people keep telling me, if you read and liked The Virgin Suicides then you will like this book. i haven’t read that (although i do have deep lurve for Eugenides) and i liked it anyway. it’s a collective first person narrative of a group of guys, ranging from their high-school years to middle-age, contemplating a girl who goes missing and what might have happened to her. it’s paced particularly well — things loop back and forth throughout, feeding you bits and pieces and leaving you to try and put the pieces together before it suddenly all clicks into place. it also reminds me a bit of Room in that it takes a terrible event, and discusses it in an intelligent and unique way while avoiding sensationalism.
Kill Your Friends, John Niven: (carried over from my tumblr) reading this book is like hanging out at a bar with some friends, and in walks this guy that you kind of know, and he sees you and is headed over, and you all groan because this guy is a truly, often astonishingly, miserable human being, but you all also perk up, because he always picks up the tab, and tells these insane stories that you know are true because he is such a miserable human being, and also who would make this shit up, and after he finishes holding court and stumbles out onto his next port of call your friends suddenly seem that much duller, as well as that much safer, and you sigh a bit, and then turn back to your drink and thank the powers that be that you’re not that guy, even if he does make more money in a day than you could in a month.
The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien: i know, i know, i’m way behind on this one. it is a doozy. as Rebecca warned me, it does feature that authorial intrusion thing that i get so hepped up about. but in this case, it worked for me. i think, primarily, because what he’s doing is making a statement about truth, falsehood, and storytelling that DEMANDS some level of personal investment. and, excuse my french, but fucking hell. this book is nuts. i don’t normally underline, but i underlined this one. A LOT.