Saturday, April 12, 2008

52 books in 52 weeks

6. Vanilla Bright like Eminem by Michel Faber

I had great hopes after The Crimson Petal and the White (which I loved) that were dashed by this somewhat icky short story collection. I have not given up on Faber; it's possible he's just an epic guy.

7. Run by Ann Patchett

I also had great hopes after Patchett's Bel Canto (which I loved) that were not disappointed. Run is not quite as good and takes place on a much smaller scale, but the characters were very memorable. The plot is a bit far-fetched - a similarity to Bel Canto - but well-paced and satisfying.

8. Death of a Murderer by Rupert Thomson

I've been hearing the Thomson hype for years, but I'm thinking Death of a Murderer was not the best place to start. It was a short, somewhat interesting narrative, but it almost seemed like a sketch for a more developed story or a section of a larger novel.

9. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

Talk about hype. Ferris's manic office second-person soap opera was unexpectedly original and enjoyable. I wondered how he was going to pull it off, but the execution was impressive.

10. Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

I can't believe I have finally finished this book. Thomas's narrative of African-American experience in contemporary America and the details of our culture's complex relationship with race might have been extremely powerful if the prose wasn't so indulgent. I may be overly critical because it was such a slow read.

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