– By Lori Moritz
2010 is winding down to a grinding (rapid, smashing????) halt. At least I managed to read a bit.
These are the books I read in 2010, in no particular order… and some with odd commentary:
World War Z by Max Brooks via Paperback
The Stand by Stephen King via Amazon Kindle
- This book took me a year and a half to read completely. This has nothing to do with Mr. King’s story telling ability. In fact, I read quite a few other King books in the year simultaneously. In short, LOVED Part 1; The superflu and aftermath was horrific. Great apocalyptic stuff. Part 2 took the longest for me to get through… lots of political and social philosophy weaved into a tremendous amount of character development and people going about their newly assumed roles in the aftermath. There wasn’t much action. Sorry, I am an action junkie. Part 3 returned the action and interest… with the final STAND. Whoot! Overall, the year and a half was worth it. King does a fantastic job getting me to care about his characters. I felt like I was living their lives with them. And I am charmed by his ability to gross me out. That’s not an easy thing to do…
The Passage by Justin Cronin via Audible audiobook
- This book I read because Stephen King told me to. Ha. Ironically enough, the novel follows the pattern of King’s The Stand quite closely. In Part 1, a deadly virus created by the US government wipes out nearly the entire population of the planet by turning the infected into vampires. This part of the book was riveting. Cronin did a wonderful job with this. Part two takes place some 100 years in the future, and concentrates on a colony of survivors. Again, lots of non-action made it slow treading for me. The thing I didn’t quite understand was the importance of the little girl, the supposed hero of the story. I thought the story would have been more effective if told from her perspective in the parts of the story that she arrives. I felt too distant from her as a character, partly because she is so strange, it is hard to feel much affection for her. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman via Audible audiobook
- I just finished this one. Gaiman has a wonderful storytelling ability. His subject matter is right up my ally. This one has to do with human incarnations of gods. The narrator of the audiobook does a great job with various accents and changing up his voice to suit each character. I looked forward to getting in my car to drive my daily 120 mile loop to work and back while in the middle of this book. Not a slow point in the whole works. He’s a master.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman via Audible audiobook
- At first, I was only interested in reading Gaiman’s adult books (sounds so naughty, doesn’t it?), but after one of my students waltzed into my office with The Graveyard Book, I was hooked at the first line. I almost forgot to download it onto my iPod for car listening until the same student came in the next day with a different book. “Are you finished with The Graveyard Book already?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I had to stop reading it. It gave me nightmares.” At that response, I knew I would have to read it immediately. Gaiman narrates the novel and does a fantastic job. I found myself coming home and telling my husband bits of the story. Lots of lovely fantasy in this one. For kids and adults alike.
Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore via Audible audiobook
- Christopher Moore is one of the very most funny-est-est of all authors ever in the whole wide-est of the word worldlies. Read all of his books <period> (I command you!)
The Eight by Katherine Neville via Audible audiobook
- The positives: Action stays moving, and plot moves forward at a great pace. Lots of tension. Chess is a theme. It mixes past with present. Interesting premise.
- The negatives: How many times can I read about ice blue eyes or vibrant green eyes without puking? And the love scenes are incredibly sappy. Sex without connection to plot bothers me. Not that I’m against sex. Not against that at all. Just make it important. And un-sappy. Visceral is good….
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi via Audible audiobook
- These stories are well-crafted pseudo-futuristic, semi-realistic short masterpieces. I think anyone concerned about the future of the world should read them. Everyone else should read them, too. (And get concerned about the future of the world, already! Geeze.)
It by Stephen King via Audible audiobook
- Highly entertaining. I would have been more freaked out had I been 13 when I read it. Age has numbed the scare out of me.
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King via Paperback
- I would call this a children’s story. I love Randall Flagg as a villain. King uses him in The Dark Tower Series, The Stand, and here. I am sure he is peppered throughout some other King novels that I haven’t read yet, or that I have forgotten about. This novel is classic fantasy. Great characters, yet unusual style for King. He pulls it off like the master he is.
Shade of My Own Tree by Sheila Williams via Audible audiobook
- Not my normal genre, Shade of My Own Tree is a book about spousal abuse. Very challenging subject. I read this because I took a course from Sheila Williams through UCLA Extension Writer’s Program. When going through this novel, I felt that it needed one more draft to be great. As it is, it is pretty good. She peppers the novel with very interesting characters that I found myself caring for. Some repetitive phrasing and disjointed/disorganized construction pulled me out of the story many times, though. The woman has a voice, however. I am sure many women can sympathize with the protagonist’s plight.
Under the Dome by Stephen King via Amazon Kindle
- Cool concept. Great characters.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger via Audible audiobook
- Very creative. I hope death is this way.
Write Away by Elizabeth George via Paperback
- Energetic, Step-by-step advice on how to write a novel.
Rock Springs by Richard Ford via Paperback
- I read this collection of shorts for a Dialogue class that I took at UCLA Extension. I would never have picked it up on my own to read, but I am so happy for that fact that we read it for class. Ford manages to weave the correct dialogue with description to paint a very depressing picture of midwestern life in the 80’s. It’s a masterpiece.
Writing Down the Bones – Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg via Paperback
- Very spiritual advice for all writers… fru-fru or serious alike.
PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories 2009 edited by Laura Furman via Amazon Kindle
- A yearly tradition to read one of these from cover to cover. Astounding short fiction. Some of the best.
UR by Stephen King via Amazon Kindle
- Written about the Kindle specifically for the Kindle, which illustrates how one can literally use the Kindle to step into an alternate dimension.
Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner via Amazon Kindle
- Creative inspiration. Great for ideas for stories or characters.
Orange County Noir edited by Gary Phillips via Amazon Kindle
- Disturbing fiction all very close to (my) home
If anyone else has read these books, drop in and comment!