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My Own Private (And Now Public) Shame

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Beal earlier brought us the A.V. Club’s list of top TV shows from 2000 – 2009, so I thought I would take a look at the equivalent one for books, and bring them to your attention, seeing as I’m supposed to be bookish and all that.  I was quite disappointed to discover that, while I know of many of these and want to read them, out of the thirty listed here I’d only managed to get to two these past ten years.  Ouch.

But now fun game — can you guess which ones?!

Of course I did a lot of reading this decade, but for some reason I tended to stick to things pre-now — like, the classics (although maybe a bit too much from the 1930s), and admittedly it’s getting a bit stale.  So going forward I think I really should focus on recent things (although I hope the penchant for commonly using sentence fragments that got really popular in the ’70s and ’80s is over now — seriously, why was that allowed?  And how was it in any way good?).  So here are the two, both of which I’ve luckily happened to  blog about already, so I’ll just pull some snippets from the past to use here.


Ian McEwan

Atonement is not very good so far — it feels like McEwan’s the type of guy who loves to listen to himself lecture a bunch of Lit. PhD’s. The language is so over-indulgent, the tone so pompous, and everyone is merely a caricature. Hopefully it gets better. He makes a mention of 18th century authors near the beginning, and I think he’s purposely trying to emulate that style; it’s annoying . . .

This book was starting to get good (only took 120 pages) until there came along one of the worst, most melodramatic sex scenes I’ve ever read. It’s up and down with this guy. I don’t know how this won so many awards . . .

Atonement is getting better. But it still hangs on a ridiculous premise . . .

He did it — really brought the house down. Good book.


That’s the way the book played out for me; for most of it I was annoyed because I thought the premise and characters were idiotic, but then, at the end, when I realized it was sort of intentionally like that for a specific purpose, I ended up liking it.  But if I hadn’t been stuck in Cuba by myself with nothing else to do, I don’t know if I would have actually kept reading.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Mark Haddon

This has been covered quite sufficiently here.

So I guess I should make a goal to read all these . . . but it’s going to be hard given that I was recently gifted a whole wealth of classics — Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, Homer — not to mention Ulysses, which has been sitting on my shelf for years.

Too much goddamn stuff.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Thursday, December 24, 2009 8:42 am

    BOOM, motherfucker! I’ve read four and audiobooked one. And I’m borderline illiterate.

    • Thursday, December 24, 2009 10:54 am

      But have you read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, The Baroque Cycle and the collected works of Virginia Woolf and George Orwell, among others?

    • Thursday, December 24, 2009 6:45 pm

      Show me the best-of-the-decade list they’re on and then I’ll be impressed.

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