Monday, March 23, 2009

52 books in 52 weeks

7. Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick

My trusted dissertation advisor recommended Sleepless Nights to me years ago, and now I know why. Hardwick refuses to conform to genre, offering what reads like a lyrical blend of fiction, memoir, poetry, journalism, and whatever else she fancies. The prose sparkles at the sentence level to the point I was unable to resist sharing excerpts with all who would listen.

8. U.S.! by Chris Bachelder

Bachelder deserves props for versatility and bravery in this strange and entertaining collection of "songs and stories" all centering around a repeatedly resurrected (post-assassination) Upton Sinclair. While the book is experimental in form, it's also heartfelt and wise. I look forward to whatever Bachelder gets up to next. (And who knew Sinclair was such a babe? See left.)

9. The Keep by Jennifer Egan

While not as deep or well-written as Egan's Look at Me, this gothic thriller/prison novel was a blast. It's a testament to the author's power of description that I can't remember the last time I could picture a setting quite as clearly.

10. Paradise by A.L. Kennedy

I read this novel about a young Scottish woman who also happens to be a raging drunk over the course of a day and a half, and I felt like I was on a bender with her. Considering little happens and the narration is filtered through a constantly replenished glass, the fact I couldn't put the book down says something. Unfortunately, I found the ending very unsatisfying.

10 down, 42 to go.

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