My 2010 reading list sounds a bit like Goldilocks when she entered the bear's home -- books too big, too small, and just right. All three classics are worthy of a read.
TOO BIG... Without doubt, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (Thomas Pynchon) is a tad gargantuan. Weighing over one pound and clocking in at 776 pages (and the font -- so small!), this tome deserves its own spot under the tree. I admit -- GR IS a tough slog, but the prose is so worth the effort. I read along with a reading group, which lessened the pain and helped when I hit a WTF spot in the story. First sentence: A screaming comes across the sky.
TOO SMALL... A teeny book with huge payout is TINKERS (Paul Harding). This DEBUT novel published by a small press (Bellevue Literary Press) won the Pulitzer this year. A gorgeous book about the love of a son for his father and understanding how epilepsy changes lives. (DO check out the quarterly literary journal put out by BLR -- among the best essays, poems, and fiction focusing on health and disability. I have subscribed for four years and just signed up for another 3 year stint). First sentence: GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSBY began to hallucinate eight days before he died.
JUST RIGHT... THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen. A beautiful tale of family dysfunction and how we carry what we learn from our parents into our own lives. All that dysfunction comes to a when the patriarch's failing health due to Parkinson's disease brings the kids home. I heard Franzen speak two years ago at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace and finally got around to reading this masterpiece. First sentence: THE MADNESS of an autumn prairie cold front coming through.
I've been shopping hard for others, and need a few treats myself. Here's what I've ordered for MY stocking:
WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN - Love Letters of Jackson Pollock and Dori G by Gary Percesepe and Susan Tepper (Cervena Books Press). Because it just sounds so SEXY! And friends have recommended it. And because I love Pollock.
Coming soon... WEST OF HERE by Jonathan Evison. I adored ALL ABOUT LULU. Enuf said.
Jennifer Egan's A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD has a lot of people talking. She presents her story in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POVs, along with a powerpoint presentation. Must read for myself to see how pulls the story off.
Happy reading, writing, and shopping! And whenever possible, please purchase your books through independent retailers! Peace, Linda