Best of ’09: The Books

This post is part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Series. Haven’t heard of it? Check it out! Its not to late to join in 🙂

December 4, 2009: Best Book

One nice thing about not being in school anymore is that I actually have time to read. The past two years I have rediscovered my love of reading fiction and non-fiction and haven’t picked up an Architectural Graphics Standards at home in a very long time (and I’m pretty happy about that). This year I read even more than I usually do, due in large part to my trip.

To pick one book however was too hard, there were at least three that stood out in my mind as being amazing books that I’ve recommended and shared with friends and family.I didn’t just tell them to buy the book, I gave them my copy, that’s how badly they needed to read that book. Of course, they had to give my copy back when they were finished so I could put it on my shelf and be all look what books I’ve read. (Apparently mothers don’t think they apply to this rule though)

The First: Augusten Burrough’s Wolf At the Table

I read this towards the beginning of the year and I could not put it down. Augusten Burroughs happens to be one of my favorite authors to begin with and when I saw this book sitting on Strand’s shelves, I had to pick it up. Unlike his other works, such as Running With Scissors or Dry, it’s not a humorous reflection on his very odd life. It is, as he states, the memoir of his father. The book starts off with the scene showing him as a child being hunted by his father as he ran away.

When I realized the jabbing slash from his flashlight was gone, I worried that he had cut around and was one step ahead of me. That he was already on the hill, climbing it from the other side. What if I reached the top and he was there waiting?

That’s the fourth paragraph of the book and from start to finish, I was hooked. It is a raw, scary and extremely well-written look at a man who shouldn’t have been allowed to have children. Or get married. (But glad he had children because otherwise, I wouldn’t have his son as one of my favorite authors!)

Book Two: Jen Lancaster’s Such a Pretty Fat

Another great author (and another memoir!). I loved Bitter is the New Black and last Christmas I saw this book in Costco and immediately knew it and me had to become best buds. I didn’t get around to reading it until February but I was glad I finally got around to it! She’s hilarious, obviously that goes without saying, but this was the first book on the struggle with weightloss that was actually motivational. Finally, a girl who’s not a stick and who’s seeing results.

After reading, I was all pumped and at the gym really pushing myself–for only two weeks but it was 2 weeks more than I had been doing. Unfortunately I cannot quote anything out of this book because this is the book I loaned my mother. She then decided the lakehouse, which is now CLOSED, was a good place to leave said book. Just because I was in Europe, does not mean you hold my books hostage!

Book Three: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated

This was the first book I started reading after getting to Europe, I had picked it up my last work day in New York City at Strand’s outdoor book market along Fifth Avenue. It had been recommended to me by everyone and their mothers so I had to check it out. It took me a while to get used to his writing style but once I did, I knew I had found another one of those authors I would love. His quirky style includes pages of just “. . . .” and one part of the story doesn’t have any paragraphs or punctuation outside of periods. This would usually drive me absolutely up the wall and make me throw down a book but with this book, it worked.

This book focuses on two different stories: one told by the somewhat fictional Jonathan and a hilarious Ukranian Alex (whom reminded me of my former Ukranian coworker–so much so, that I often wondered if he was the exact model for this character). They were telling the family story of Jonathan as well as the hunt for the woman who saved Jonathan’s grandfather’s life.

It was a book that as I was reading it, I would laugh hysterically and then have to read that part out to my brother so he could share in the laughter too. I also leant him the book to read and basically threatened that if he gave it away I would murder him in his sleep (not hard to do, my room is right off of his).

At least one family member listens to me. I have the book in my  possession. That doesn’t mean I can easily quote it, there are too many fabulous gems and I couldn’t even begin to know where to find them.

There were so many other books I could have listed but these three definitely stood out as ones I tried shoving down people’s throats. If anyone needs ideas for Christmas presents its the new books by these three authors.

So tell me so that I may continue reading more fabulous books, what were your favorite books this year?

6 Responses

  1. I love Augusten Burroughs. Everything is Illuminated sounds like something I’d like.

    I’m a fan of Francesca Lia Block … so anything by her!

  2. LOVE the cover of the first book. Also, Jennifer Lancaster is one of my absolute favorites!

  3. I love Augusten Burroughs, too! I haven’t read A Wolf At the Table (yet), but it’s definitely on my “to-read” list!

  4. I only read books that I wrote.

  5. All these look great—makes me wanna go to Borders right now!

  6. I haven’t read any of those, but I’m interested now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: