Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 in Review

Yeah, that whole Booker Prize challenge I pretended I was going to do? Well, I really meant to. I LOVED The Gathering, and re-reading Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha gave me a whole new appreciation for it I didn't get the first time I read it. Then Atwood and her Blind Assassin had to go and ruin it for me. That, and the fact that I read the same 50 pages of The Inheritance of Loss no fewer than three times, after putting it down, reading something else and returning to it. For some reason I just can't get into it. So I put aside the Bookers and just read some books.

Since I last posted, I have read both Mercy and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, Saturday by Ian McEwan, I, Mona Lisa, by Jeanne Kalogridis, The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold, and Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.

I figured out what it is I love about Picoult--it's when she writes from the point of view of a teenager. Somehow she captures the raw angst of needing to be accepted by your peers, understood by your family, and all that comes with that. This is probably why Mercy, which I expected to be very moving, left me underwhelmed and why Nineteen Minutes disturbed me and touched me on so many levels.

I thought A Thousand Splendid Suns was even more amazing than The Kite Runner, perhaps for no reason other than because it focuses on the lives of two women rather than men. It was the first book in a long time that I found myself sobbing over.

The others were good, but didn't move me enough to recall any specifics this far from when I first read them. Because I read mostly at night before bed, I end up retaining less than I should.

So I had intended to read 50 books this year. I managed 27. Eh. Having been given a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble and considering Los Angeles has about eleventy billion public library branches to choose from, I am hoping to hit at least 30 books this coming year. Maybe I'll surprise myself and get to 35.

Of course, I am about 30 pages into Tolstoy's War & Peace right now, so maybe I should be just be happy if I can get through that before this time next year.