Tuesday, December 22, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things!

As 2009 winds down I am reminded of all the great books I read this past year! Here are a few of my favorite books to hit the shelf in 2009! In no particular order...

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is truly one of the most engrossing reads I have picked up as of late. It is the story of Quentin Coldwater who is literally leaving childhood behind and all of his belief in magic he has so desperately tried to hold onto. As Quentin goes to visit an admission counselor to a University he encounters a strange woman who hands him the script to the final book of a series that Quentin enjoyed reading as a child. As the pages fly out of Quentin’s hands and into a community garden he is transported into a world where magic is real. But here the problems really begin because when one is able to do whatever one chooses does that mean you will necessarily make the right choice? I stayed up reading this book all night. It was that good!

CARVER Collected Stories by Raymond Carver. In this economy more than ever getting the best bang for your buck is on most people’s minds. So why am I recommending that you spend forty dollars on a book of older collected works of a dead writer? Because Carver was a master storyteller and writer. He belongs to the class of great writers like Tobias Wolf, Charles Bukowski and Richard Ford. But even among these and most writers Carver was the king of minimalist writing. He is a writer’s writer and a reader’s delight. Carver looked at detail, but made the experience he was writing about, universal. A rare find of a short fiction writer. This collection was put together by Carver’s widow Tess Gallagher who disagreed with some of the original editing made on Carver’s stories. This complete collection is most definitely the best bang for your buck! I hope you enjoy as much as I have reading Carver over the years.

Goat Song by Brad Kessler. This is probably one of the best surprise books I have picked up all year long. Goat Song is Brad Kessler’s memoir, after being fed up with city life; he sets up a goat farm with his wife in Vermont. What follows are the joys, struggles and surprises that come with a year of raising and being raised in a pastoral life. Kessler has a language that is poetic in telling his story as well as the story of how pastoralism still plays a big part in our everyday lives.

Sylvia and Bird, by Catherine Rayner. Sylvia a blue-green dragon, and bird, a little yellow duck-like creature, share few things in common. But their friendship, and love of flying are what make this pair. Rayner sensitively captures the story of an unlikely friendship and the desire of fulfilling one friend's wish at the sacrifice of another. While at first glance the pictures are simple watercolors, they are ones that belong in any child's permanent library!

That's it for now! I will blog about my other favorite books of 2009 later.



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