Thursday, July 16, 2009

Halfway through the Year Part 1: Books

The last few years I've been on a reading tear. There's so much I haven't read, so I've been all over the place reading. Looking at what I read the first half of the year, I'm actually pretty happy by how balanced it has been. I've been slowly working through old issues of Granta and McSweeny's and it's been nice to read such a wide variety of shorter fiction and non-fiction. For the rest of my reading I've actually found a good balance between novels and non-fiction books. I've read a few more novels than not, but the fiction has tended to be a bit shorter.

Here are some things I liked thus far:

E.L. Doctorow - Ragtime
A wonderful elegant, effortless novel. The novel weaves a nameless family through a host of early 20th century celebrities. The novel runs through with a head of steam. And yes, it's the novel that begat the movie and the musical.

Paul Auster - City of Glass
Jean Echenoz - I'm Gone
Luis Fernando Verissimo - The Club of Angels
The very different deconstructed mystery novels, all three of which deal with the nature of identity. City of Glass was especially trippy, as the main character spends much of novel masquerading as Paul Auster until he winds up meeting with . . . Paul Auster.

E.B. White - The Essays of E.B. White
E.B. White is like the world's best uncle. He's not an edgy bugger but he's a deeply decent human being, and a warm funny writer. And it's hard not to love the guy who wrote Charlotte's Web.

George Pelecanos - Drama City
Pelecano's is the most well known crime author, or for really novelist, from DC and his novels have the verbal feel of a Wire episode (for which he has written and produced). His dialogue is absolutely spot on, and his endless DC name dropping is, to me, delightful.

Yannick Murphy - Here They Come
Written an adult novel in the voice of a youth voice is very tough. And much like Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, this takes a long series of unrelated observations and moments and strings together a beautiful novel.


Matt Lindeboom said...

I loved Here They Come. In no way did I think I would when I started. One of those pleasant surprise things.

Jstone said...

I wonder if I'll ever enjoy reading again...