Friday, December 30, 2011

Journal 104 The Book List

As I'd hoped, the questionnaire entry helped me focus on some more writing that wasn't complaint-related.
It asked about the best book read. Well, I've read alot this year.
These are the shortlist of the gripping books, the ones that wouldn't let me go, the ones that made me close them, sometimes
mid-sentence, and take time for a tear, for a new thought, for a pause in this revolving door life. Ones that I won't soon forget.

Here's a quick synopsis, in no particular order, of the books' year in review:

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Just finished this one. Loved it. Go read Autobiography of a Face, too. It's the book that inspired this one.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion
I've written about this one before. It's so intangible it defies description. If you don't like this book after you read it, call me and I'll tell you why you should.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
DIdion's pre-cursor to Blue Nights, chronicling the sudden death of her husband after almost 40 years of marriage, and documenting the year that followed.

Thunder and Lightning by Natalie Goldberg
About writing and writers and why we write, read, seek.

Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest
A troubled woman's relationship with a treasured therapist. Page turner.

Lit by Mary Karr
Karr's follow up to the Liars' book--her adult memoir of struggling to write, find herself, and become sober. All set against the back drop of her southern, impoverished roots, and her complex parental relationships.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Very close to Karr's book in subject, inspiration, and sheer grit. However, Lit dealt more with Karr's adulthood; Walls deals with her childhood and early adulthood.

Blackbird and Still Waters by Jennifer Lauck
Blackbird is Lauck's childhood memoir, Still Waters her grown-up one. Both wrenching but I was compelled to keep reading.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
A crazy family (is there any other kind) and the bond between all of its members.

The Irrational Season by Madeleine L'Engle
Book 3 of The Crosswicks Journals. Big themes: Life, death, belief, religion, love. She wrote in a time without email, blogging, texting. Without DISTRACTION.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis-A Life by Donald Spoto
What can I say? This woman was a spoiled princess and the Kennedys are f*cked up beyond belief. Sorry. My opinion.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
I should have had my late adolescence/early adulthood in the seventies with the vibe of freedom, individual expression, and going against the grain was considered laudable. We really need to bring some of these qualities back to life. I know we THINK we are expressing ourselves individually but are we? Really? Are we?

Must You Go? by Lady Antonia Fraser
Memoir of a marriage, by a very talented biographist. Journal style, short entries, to the point, honest.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
As I mentioned, fiction hasn't figured too much in my recent reading, but this was plot-driven and insanely satisfying.
Like a whole bag of popcorn.

Le Freak by Nile Rodgers
Another crazy life, dictated by a passion for music that Rodgers was clearly born with. I like hearing from the people in this world who have a true calling. My sister once told me only 3% of the earth's population are born with that, a true calling. (How do they figure this stuff out?)

Hero of the Underground by Jason Peter
A good upbringing, a talent for a sport, and disciplined training may not be enough to stop a lonely person from turning to drugs for comfort. Page-turning. Peter played for the NFL, was seriously injured, and retired early. What is it like to peak at twenty-one? This book outlines that. Interesting to me that I googled the author afterward and there was an article in a sports journal about him that described his career, dismissingly, as "not amounting to very much". Ouch. Who wrote that? Mean.

Open by Andre Agassi
I'm still mid-book but can't stop reading. A domineering father forced Agassi into the tennis life. It doesn't border on child abuse, it was child abuse, and I was discussing with Mike how this type of upbringing is how serial killers are made. Agassi, on the other hand, seems to be more of a sensitive type, and went in the other direction. Compelling so far.

I would love some book recommendations for 2012. Note that none of the 'best sellers' are on this list, ie, The Help, that genre, no bookclub picks. But I do occasionally read some mainstream books and enjoy them. Throw me some titles.

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