Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year...New Books!

I can't believe it's 2011! Where on earth has this year gone? 2010 was a great year in books for me. I discovered lots of new favorites and read lots more modern lit than I have in a long time. Here is a breakdown of my top 5 books for 2010:

Honorable Mentions: The Trial by Franz Kafka and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. Though neither of these books quite made it into the top 5, I still felt that they deserved a mention here. The Trial was my first taste of Kafka and I loved every bit of it. Kafka's world is at once mesmerizing, haunting, and intense. Once you've been there you'll never forget it. And Agnes Grey is just another example of why the Brontes are often considered some of the best Victorian writers. Definitely a must read for fans of Jane Eyre and/or Wuthering Heights.

#5: The Flower Drum Song by C. Y. Lee. This Asian-American classic is a great read on many levels. Not only is it a glimpse into the drama and history of life in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s, it is also a wonderful story of establishing one's own identity, and accepting the changes time makes on cultures. Better than the musical!

#4: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Definitely one of the best Dickens stories I've ever read. The first half of the book is fresh, new, and unlike any other Dickens novel out there. Though this wears off by the second half, it is still great story-telling with many heart-wrenching moments. I'm still crying over Ham.

#3: I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith. Absolutely wonderful book. Pure and simple. The writing, the characters, the setting, the story...all of it was to die for. I utterly enjoyed every second of this coming of age story. If you haven't read it read it NOW!

#2: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Wow. That is the only word to describe this book. Though on the surface the plot sounds rather dull, the hidden truths in this gem of a book make it achingly beautiful. Plus, Robinson's writing is so luscious and captivating. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

#1: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. So how good was this book? I finished it in less than 3 weeks. Yes, a 700+ pg book without having to renew it. Honestly, this book sucked me in from page one. I could barely tear myself away, and "wasted" (my mom's words) lots of time by laying on my bed reading it. It has been a long time since a book has grabbed me like that. A great intro to Mann, a great intro to German lit, a great book period!

I hope that your 2010 was great and that 2011 will be a wonderful year in books for all of us. Here is a sneak peek of the books I'll be reading during the first part of this year:

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens: My quest to read all of Dickens' works continues with his story of a young girl growing up in the Marshalsea Debtor's Prison. Though it involves many problems of the Victorian era, I think that even modern readers will recognize our own world in the pages of this classic.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote: The well-known story of Holly Golightly, the country girl turned New York society woman who is perhaps Capote's most famous creation.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry: Berry is an American poet/writer and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Jayber Crow is part of his Port William Fellowship collection that tells the story of an aging barber in a small community in Kentucky.

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope: Back in 2009, Newsweek published a list of books most important for understanding our times. At the top of their list was this 1875 classic. This story of financial ruin and ultimate greed should look very familiar.

No comments: