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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Best List of Best Lists of Best Books, 2009

Phew! Not an easy title to understand.

I love the Powells' Books website. I not only subscribe to the newsletter, I actually read it quite faithfully. I also use it as a source for used text books or specialty books, because they have EVERYTHING and they ship cheaply.

The January 28, 2010 newsletter had their Staff Top 5 of 2009: nearly 40 staff members, from all over the organization, submitted their lists of best books published this year. I loved it because the lists are quirky and individual, not about marketing, but filled with only current books, which is one area where I am always a bit behind. (I would rather read books than book reviews, so the only thing I know about current books is what is displayed at the bookstores, but even then I don't know anything about those books.)

Somehow, if I could copy the entry into Evernote, so I could access it from my phone, it would be a guide to what to read out of what I see in the bookstore. (Here is what I did: I copied the link to the lists into my Evernote note on books to read. In any bookstore I can open my Evernote list and click the link and read the lists. Love Evernote. Link to site is under Fun, Cool, Funny in the sidebar.)

I keep a permanent link to the Powell's site in the sidebar under Reading Links, but I wanted to make special mention of the book lists. I love book lists and lists of book lists and I think this is the best of the best.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More on McCarthy friend is consuming All the Pretty Horses on audiobook. Sadly, it is not narrated by Cormac McCarthy, which would have actually induced me try another of his trilogy on audio after all. I wonder if he sounds like his laconic characters? However, it is actually narrated by Frank Muller who is an AUDIOBOOK STAR! Who knew there even was such a thing? Wikipedia says: "Muller won the 2003 Audie Award for Best Male Narrator for his reading of Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues".

I guess he has a really "American" voice. And it does pique my interest in the audiobook star reader category. (OMG - what next?) The box is open for suggestions.

The marigold wonders nervously:
How can I be so late getting around to such an old technology? Does that mean I won't understand the iPad?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2009 in 2010

Some conversations that came out of my Top Eleven Fiction Reads of 2009 list led to some early 2010 reading:

After loving The Road so much, a friend suggested we read All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy and I did quite like it. Cowboy is not one of my key genres, and I would not seek to read the complete trilogy, but this book quite rocks. I think the old writers are falling away in popular culture, maintained mainly in literature courses: writers like Hemingway and more so, in this case, Steinbeck, and also even Faulkner, but here is McCarthy filling that category for a modern reader. I enjoyed decoding the Spanish, and I felt that it was quite new and quite American to have so much unglossed Spanish - it is nearly an official second language. I really love his "donts" and "cants" without the apostrophe, but he doesnt drop all such markings. I wonder how he decided?

I am just clearing the way through The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, (yawn) to get to some of the other books on my pile. I wanted to have read the complete list of top wish-listed books on LibraryThing, and I have long wanted to read this - it should press a lot of my buttons, but I find it amazingly banal. When last I checked, only Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel, remains to be read from that list, and it has not yet fallen into my lap. Interestingly, I have read zero of the books on the currently-being-read list on LT. Hmmm.

Speaking of official second languages, favourite books of 2009, and the to-read pile, I have been planning to try reading in French, just for a kick. As a Canadian, with many years of school French behind me, not to mention something of a moral obligation to be there in French, plus having mastered reading in Italian as an adult, I thought it would a suitable reading challenge. I found a couple of other readers interested in tryingThe Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery in the original French (l'Élegance du hérisson). I loved it in English, and it fits into the "possible to read" zone of a second language: not too hip, not too archaic, not too wordy, not too academic, not too long, and not too stupid. It's almost surprising what a small space this is. Ideally one would not re-read a book for this purpose, but on the other hand, it will probably help to have read it already in some of the tough spots.

I'll keep you posted. If you want to try too, let me know, and we'll talk.

Le souci se soucie de la difficulté de ce projet:
On a pris trop de manger?