Thursday, January 01, 2009

52 books in 52 weeks

So surprisingly, this isn't the worst year yet, despite being quite preoccupied with non-reading endeavors. In 2006, I read 32 books. In 2007, I read 40. Here's to breaking at least 45 in 2009 if not making it all the way to 52.

30. This Must Be the Place by Anna Winger

This is a simple, lovely story about expat/pat friendship in contemporary Berlin. The characters and the city are drawn with detail and warmth. While not a feel-good cop-out, the novel still makes you feel quite good about the possibility of redemptive love, platonic or otherwise.

31. Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth

I covered this McSweeney's release here.

32. One More Year: Stories by Sana Krasikov

Krasikov quite successfully captures the modern-day Russian emigré existence (I assume). Her stories portray characters of all ages, dispositions, and locations, struggling to make connections with each other and their homeland. Only rarely does Krasikov's youth seep through.

33. The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon

The two tales intertwined in this novel are perfectly complementary yet distinct in style and purpose. The narrator's return journey to his native Sarajevo with the somewhat sinister and sexy Rora is suspenseful and lush, and the story of Lazarus is heartbreaking and illuminates an important (though not proud) moment in American history. The fact that it wasn't all that long ago that Hemon mastered English is pretty damn humbling.

34. Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dungby Lester Bangs

It was interesting to see how Bangs's prose could be so prescient and dated at the same time. His narrative energy is palpable, and it's obvious his legacy pervades most music journalism today.

35. The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin

I'm all about the Slavs this month apparently. This book is fun - I mean, werefox prostitute in modern Moscow? - of course, it's fun. The question is whether it's valuable beyond the surface. I'm still deciding.

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