Thursday, December 6, 2007

Your mission, should you etc.

Greetings, drunkards. You know those things that newspapers run at the end of the year telling you which books you should have read during the year, but probably haven't? Well I'm doing one. Is there anything that my list shouldn't be without? I'm after a nice thinky mix - quality fiction, biography, history, travelogue, non-fiction of various sorts and good kids' books. All ideas gratefully appreciated.

This message will self-destruct in five seconds. Do-do-do, do-do-do, do-do-do, didit.

Ed: Sorry, yes: things published this year, pls.

12 comments:

The Blakkat said...

Do you mean a reading list for all times? Or just for this year, kind of thing? If it's an all time kind of list - then my picks would be 'Gone with the Wind' (cliche, but it's true), Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. For an Australian book, maybe 'Come in Spinner'. 'Norwegian Wood' by Murakami, I'd even include 'We Need to Talk about Kevin' if you want something recent. Having just completely fallen in love with the latest made for telly version of Jane Eyre, I'd have to say 'Jane Eyre'. I've got more, but they're all pretty obvious ones. Oh 'Anna Karinina' if you think Tolstoy is the go...

Pomgirl said...

I was wondering if you were meaning books published this year. What Is The What by Dave Eggers probably had the biggest impact.

redcap said...

Sorry all, yes - just things published this year. I was very tempted to do, "Shit you should have read by now", but I thought the big boss might rip me down for being a bit elitist.

blakkat, Midnight in the Garden is still one of my faves. I loved Gone with the Wind and I loved Jane Eyre. Well, I did love Jane Eyre until a feminist lecturer made me see vaginas all over the place in the red room and its bloody wardrobes and shoes and that Jane was actually a controlling bitch ~shudder~ I've had trouble re-reading it since, I'm afraid, but it's still one of my favourite books. But I really didin't like the latest BBC frocky. Jane had a mouth like a trout and Rochester was just too young. I've never seen a TV/movie Jane Eyre I've liked yet. Perhaps if Hugh Laurie or Richard Roxburgh played Rochester, I'd be happy.

pomgirl, thanks! I'll happily add Dave Eggars!

Ariel said...

Darkmans by Nicola Barker - practically nobody HAS read it but it's bloody brilliant and there was a significant minority who thought it should have won (including me).

Um ... Fault Lines by Nancy Huston (Text) was fantastic: four generations, all traced back to WWII Europe, something dark in their past, told by each generation at a time, by a six-year-old protagonist each time, gradually winding back to the great-grandmother's story and revealing The Secret. War, morality (then and now), how each generation effects the next, the Holocaust & its aftermath, etc. It's all there.

And, being in Adelaide, I guess you need to say Coetzee, Diary of a Bad Year (and I bet you have). Being Australian, you probably need to say Landscape of Farewell, Alex Miller and The Memory Room, Christopher Koch. Have heard v. good things about the Koch - a Le Carre-like Cold War thriller (but LITERARY of course). And maybe The Lost Dog, Michelle de Kretser.

The Gunther Grass memoir that reveals his Nazi past, Peeling the Onion. Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader, his satire about the Queen becoming a book lover and developing a conscience, a brain and a heart.

The Howard biography that revealed the depth of the Costello rift? (John Winston Howard: A Biography, Peter van Onselen & Wayne Errington, MUP).

Ann Patchett's Run. Fantastic book with loads in it, about adopted brothers involved in a freak accident and their discovery about where they come from. Identity, family, inhertitance, etc. Beautifully written.

That's just off the top of my head (you can tell I've been deep in this stuff too). Good luck with it!

Pomgirl said...

I will second Darkmans by Nicola Barker. I love where she is taking fiction.

Ariel said...

Yay pomgirl! I haven't yet met (even on the interwebs) anyone else who has actually read Darkmans, so pleased to see you not only have, but loved it. I thought it was actually one of the best books I've ever read.

Red, I should add for you that Barker reminded me quite a bit of Janette Turner Hospital - literary allusions, layered mystery, hidden meanings to decode.

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redcap said...

ariel, I have to admit I was attracted by the cover of Darkmans. It's always a good start to have death on the front of a book, I find. I'll check it out :)

mustafa, I'm afraid I don't even know what language you're speaking, but your comment sounds like it might dirty. So take yourself off, sir!

phishez_rule said...

Hmm. I don't think I've read many releases from this year. But the year isn't over yet, and the new Matthew Reilly is coming my way...

Rosanna said...

The Book Thief - brilliance in a cover. Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell. I know it wasn't published this year, per se... but it was re-released. So it totally counts.

redcap said...

Thanks for your help everyone! I ended up being going for mostly the prize winners and short-listed books, political/thinkie things - books that couldn't (or shouldn't) be ignored for 2007. The "or shouldn't" gave me a good out to slip in some stuff I liked alongside the stuff I didn't!

Tim Marshall said...

Might be a bit late with this but anything by Scarlet Thomas 'The End of Mr Y' was 2007 but 'PopCo' is probably better.

'The Raw Shark Papers' by Steven Hall

'54' by Wu Ming (might not be from 2007 but one of the best books I've read in the last year) and the Kate Holden book although if you've read that I would heartily recommend anything by Augusten Burrows. 'Dry' is particularly moving and also very very funny.