Saturday, December 29, 2007

Books I Heard in 2007, Part III

This should do it...

21. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron: I guess these were funny little essays...but meant for someone else. There was almost nothing that Nora talked about in this book that wasn’t almost diametrically opposed to my own point of view on a topic. The things she cares about are unimportant to me, which would be fine if she didn't write as if what she felt and she thought was universally shared by all women. In other words, she sounded like she thought she was talking to me—that’s the way she wrote these pieces—but she utterly was not.

22. Open House by Elizabeth Berg: Cute. Doesn’t deserve much more than that, but cute. Maybe it does deserve more. Sweet. Enjoyable. Totally obvious. Instantly forgettable.

23. A Prairie Home Companion 20th Anniversary Collection by Garrison Keillor: Oh, wait. This wasn’t a book. It was a taping of the ‘best of’s from a radio show. Never mind. (Made me laugh, though. I know that he has many detractors, but still, he always makes me laugh.)

24. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller: It was intriguing, nearly splendid in parts, but then got bogged down and weird in others. It didn’t quite make a point, and I beg to differ with the title (it was not about an African childhood; it was about Alexandra’s mother). Still, I enjoyed it, listened all the way through, and would even recommend it, if not vociferously.

25. My Antonia by Willa Cather: Hmmmm. I need to think about this one. I loved this story, but there were thing that really bugged me, these huge gaping holes in the story...or maybe I just missed the parts? Like the part where he actually says ANYTHING about how losing his parents affected him? Or, since the argument could go that that wasn’t part of the Antonia story, how about ANYTHING about the loss of his GRANDparents? You know, the people who raised him? He goes off to college, and doesn’t come back for 20-some years, and when he comes back, he waxes all elegiac about the house next door and how new people live there, but...the house he lived in? The people who raised him? Nada. What the fuck? Plus, not knowing who that initial narrator was supposed to be, which of the many characters in the book was the woman on the train...drove me friggin NUTS. I’m just saying.

26. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore: Holy shit. How did I manage to ignore him for so long? I think it was because the first time I heard his name was in association with all these Jesus-themed books, and I didn't listen to anything that followed. But now? I plan to devour everything this man has ever written. In short: This book was flat-out brilliant, and even flatter-out hilarious.

27. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: My first and abiding thought: Where’s the part where this is for ADULTS? I suppose I could possibly have cared less about this story, but I'm not sure how.

28. March by Geraldine Brooks: It's going to sound like I was lukewarm about this book, and in a way I was; I really could have taken or left this book and it wouldn't have bothered me either way. But that's not really fair, because it's a good story, and has some interesting things to say about narrator reliability in the end. It just didn't really rock my world, or even move it from side to side. It did make me determined to read Little Women with Em this coming year, though.

29. You Suck by Christopher Moore: Bwah! He cracks me up.

30. The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay: Huh? Wha? I really wish I would just stop listening to/reading a book when I find myself so completely annoyed by every minute I spend with it. It’s not that this book sucked (which it sort of did). It’s that it’s so poorly stilted and uninteresting and...and it’s about BOOKS. So it should ROCK. But, instead, it rolled.

31. The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright: I can't remember why I even picked this up in the first place, because the whole Civil War battles thing? I'd just spent a week or two there with March (above) and that pretty much did it for me in that arena. Except here we were, in this strange little book with a vocabulary that made even ME--the kind of person who has always used a $10 word when a $.10 word would do--roll my eyes in derision. In the end, all I could think of to say was: Um, uh. OK. Whatever.

32. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel: This is why I love memoirs, right here. This book. Perfect.

33. My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki: Interesting. And then not. Annoying. And then less so. Poetic. And then ham-handed. I get what Ozeki was trying to do, but I hate being talked down to by authors who are trying to ‘teach’ stuff to me as they write fiction. And, as a science writer, I especially hated how stilted she made all the medical and environmental sections. It was an interesting concept, overall, and not something done to death, which I appreciated, but in the end, it was just not well enough done to overcome its downsides.


LoriO said...

I'm still reading through your lists, but I have to stop and say, if you loved "A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore, you will really love "You Suck." It's one of the funniest audiobooks I've ever heard.

I just found Christopher Moore last year too,and I've read/listened to several of his books. I love how characters and sometimes whole scenes from one book will be in another, somtimes with more backstory, or sometimes the same scene but experienced from the other character. Love him!

LoriO said...

Oh... see I should have read the whole list first. You've already heard it. Nevermind!

But you must read the Haven Kimmel's Zippy sequel "She Got Up Off the Couch."