Wednesday, October 01, 2008

52 books in 52 weeks

20. Best of the Web 2008

This first entry in a new series from Dzanc Books features the best fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction appearing in the wide wide world of web in 2007 (according to series editor Nathan Leslie). My LA Times review is here.

21. Tin House: Fantastic Women

This 2007 special issue of Tin House features women writers who are fantastic both in style and content. Including many of the writers from the Women of the Slipstream panel at this year's Festival of Books, the collection can serve as a valuable introduction to the "genre" that resists characterization or a sweet indulgence in other worlds.

22. Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon

It's been awhile since I've read something so bleak and misanthropic, and I forgot how much I love books like this. Even though the second half of this story of soullessness under German occupation didn't satisfy, the atmosphere is irresistible. Stabbed a man in undetermined European country just to see him die.

23. My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampikeby Joyce Carol Oates

Despite reading lukewarm reviews beforehand, I enjoyed this fictionalization of the Jon Benet Ramsay story. The narrator - brother of the murdered child star - rambles and rambles, but it's part of his charm and makes sense for the character. I am sure the story could have been told more succinctly, but I didn't mind Oates taking her time.

24. A Fraction of the Wholeby Steve Toltz

I can't remember the last time a novel made me laugh out loud so often. Steve Toltz has a gift for observation and a strong sense of narrative pacing. At times, it seems as if an episodic tale is included more because Toltz wanted to share it than have it serve as character or plot development, but there's much joy here.

No comments: