Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Books, Great Books, the Best Books?

On the New and Great Front:

Here's the elusive A. Lee Martinez, at a booksigning for his latest, In the Company of Ogres.


Martinez's first book, Gil's All Fright Diner, nabbed him an Alex nomination and about a bazillion starred reviews. The best thing about it: when he introduces himself in certain company he always adds "Big Time Hollywood Author" with a completely straight face. Makes me laugh every time. He's freakishly talented. And I mean that in both the "freakish" and "talented" sense.

Big time cheers to my dear friend Candy (Candace) Havens who has a new book out this week. It's called Charmed & Ready and is already flying off the shelves, much like her double-Rita-nominated debut Charmed & Dangerous. Woohoo, Candy! True story: I once watched a girl pick up one of Candy's books, start reading, and a few minutes later was laughing so hard she spewed Coke (as in cola) through her nose. I'm not kidding.

As for me, along with workshops and attending friends' booksignings, I've been doing some writing, and tons of reading. On my trip to Powells Bookstore (see earlier post - Going Coastal), I picked up a list of the Greatest 100 Books for the Past 100 Years. Of course, I promptly lost the list, but I've made it a goal to read through some of them just the same. I also like to keep up with major prize winners (Pulitzer and National Book Award) and the latest on the new fiction shelf.

Recent reads:

, by Toni Morrison. Read it in college, even better the second time through. The first sentence tells you everything you need to know about why Morrison is one of the best writers working today.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers. A Pulitzer nominee with exquisite writing, some truly manic bursts, with an entirely original and fearles point of view.

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner. Again, a re-read, but worth it. Totally inspiring in the way he handles voice, and his characterization...well. There's a reason why Faulkner is Faulkner.

Animal Crackers, Hannah Tinti. A collection of short stories, all with a common thread of animals. Some funny, some gruesome, some absolutely beautiful. My favorite was about a young hitman in love.

Next on my list: This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes. It came highly recommended from one of my favorite booksellers (Hi Lee!), and it promises to be supergood.

What about you? What would make your top 100 books list?  Posted by Picasa


Blogger Kern said...

Last year was a great reading year for me, with books like The Kite Runner, The Lost Continent, All the Pretty Horses, and my favorite of all time A Prayer for Owen Meaney. (It still gives me the shivers.) 2006 has been slow, but here are two that will definitely be on my annual top ten list. Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson. A gasping-for-oxygen funny account of his travels in Europe, and The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. Set in 1886, the story of a shy London piano tuner commissioned by the Royal Army to travel to Burma to repair the piano of an eccentric surgeon stationed in the jungle. I found myself swatting at malaria-ridden mosquitoes as I read. So far, it is in my top spot for 2006.

10:35 AM  
Blogger ScottM said...

I can't pass up this chance to sound so positive. Every book I have ever read would make my top 100. (I don't think I have read 100 books even if you count children's books and Choose Your Own Adventure. I might get there if you allowed books of the Bible, but clearly I can't count any school books because the year always ended before we got to the last chapter. So I think I'm still short by five or six.)

10:43 AM  
Blogger Desperate Writer said...

I've read so many, I can't remember!

3:16 PM  

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