Yes, I have hobbies other than television.
Yes, I am literate. Ahem. Quite, thank you.
Yes, I have taken to giving away my books.
And yes, I’ve ended up buying books I’ve read before.
What does all this mean? Why should you give a rat’s ass? I’ll tell you why. Because, at long last, I am giving the people what they want: the eagerly awaited, long anticipated, not imitated: MOAM BOOK CLUB.
I don’t know why I wrote “not imitated”. Book clubs are a dime a dozen. And many of you may have even read some of these winners. But not all of ’em. Besides, this is my answer to the oft asked “read any good books lately?”.
The answer, a resounding YES.
So here, in no particular order, are my top picks for the past year. Give or take a couple of months. Most have been out for a while, ‘cuz I like to wait for paperback. Not just because I’m cheap, but also, who wants to lug a hardcover book around? They’re heavy, they’re not great in bed, and they only look good on your bookshelves if you give a shit. And, as someone who’s taken to giving my books away, I don’t. So….
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. We need to talk about this book. We need to talk about Lionel Shriver (aside: she’s a woman. Lionel. That’s right.). She’s also a genius. This is a chilling, twisted book about a high-school shooter. Told by the kid’s mother. Those who are parents will be looking for signs of sociopathic tendencies in their own children. Those who are not will wonder if they should dare procreate. Kids these days…
A WOMAN IN BERLIN. An anonymous writer shares her memoirs from the fall of Berlin after the 2nd World War. It was, essentially, a rape-fest. This book was banned in Germany and only republished after the writer died. It’s brutal. And it’s excellent.
MAPS FOR LOST LOVERS. Nadeem Aslam. Set in a community of immigrants from the subcontinent who have moved to England in search of a better life. Culture clashes. East meets West. Old vs. new. Communities on fire. Oh, and loves lost too. Not as melodramatic as I’m making it sound.
A BLADE OF GRASS. Lewis de Soto. Ditto. But this time it’s White woman+ Black woman + unnamed Southern African country. Don’t worry, it’s NOT Cold Mountain. Way better. Way smarter. Way sadder.
CROSSING CALIFORNIA. I haven’t forgotten you, boys. Adam Langer’s spot on and hilarious coming-of-age novel set in the Chicago of the 70’s. Especially funny if you lived it. And even funnier if if you had older sibs (or friends with older sibs) who did. You’ll laugh out loud. You will.
Books on Film:
LITTLE CHLDREN. Tom Perrotta. Bored suburban mom takes up with bored suburban dad. And that’s just the start. Movie version is coming soon. Very very soon. read it first so you can discuss which is better.
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Augusten Bourrough’s hilarious account of his wild ‘n crazy childhood. One of those truth-is-stranger-fiction books. Way stranger. And way better.
Finally, my two faves of the past year:
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safran Foer.
THE HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss.
Where to begin? I don’t want to ruin them in any way. STUNNING. I read them back to back, GENIUS x 2, and they’ve become more or less one un-f&cking-believable book in my head. AWESOME in every sense of the word. Even better, I just learned that these two extremely young and incredibly brilliant writers are a couple. A COUPLE!!! Is it an urban myth? A simple rumour? Does it matter? Read these two babies and imagine that the authors are in love. How could either find anyone better?!
So there you go. I haven’t bothered with the ones that didn’t come close to the hype. Or the real duds. Nor shall I. Between the life, the kids and the TV, who has time for a bad book? And yeah, I don’t doubt that for every book I’ve listed, someone has many more I’ve missed. Sorry, kids. My blog, my books. That said, I’m always looking for the next best thing and of course all suggestions are most welcome….