The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”
I LOVED The Sister by Poppy Adams (read my review), which only has 3 stars on Amazon. Many people did not like it or felt like there was too much moth science in the book. I loved all that because it also described the characters of the book. I also much prefer the UK title, The Behaviour of Moths. I loved this book, and I’ll be looking out for more by Poppy Adams.
The criteria I set for myself in choosing my recommendations was that I wanted them to be a little less ‘favorited’ by others; and of course I didn’t include any titles I mentioned last round (though I still obviously love them).
The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho (read in ‘09) — I love Coelho, and this book raises an important question on the issue of whether humans are basically good or basically evil.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (read in ‘08) — This was recommended by Dewey last round, and it was one of the titles I read for the challenge and absolutely loved. This one is NOT just for kids!
Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen (read in ‘08) — Very quirky book that I enjoyed because I felt Galchen had a unique writing style and because I got the inside jokes and references about Argentina. A NYT Notable book.
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman (read in ‘08) — Scarily enough, this book describes the small town I grew up in almost exactly.
I wanted the NYT’s Notable Book Lists in one spot and couldn’t find them that way so I made my own. The reason I don’t go prior to 2004 is because that is when they had a buku number of books each year, so I just started with 2004. These are only the fiction and poetry titles — I don’t include the non-fiction ones.
My goal with this list is not to read all the selections, but to chip away at the books until I read all the titles that I do want to read. Bold titles have been read. *Asterixed titles are those I’m most interested in reading.
Total: 31 of 229. Yay, at least 13%!! How about you?
2008 (5 of 48 read)
AMERICAN WIFE. By Curtis Sittenfeld.
ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES. By Rivka Galchen.
BASS CATHEDRAL. By Nathaniel Mackey.
BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN. By Charles Bock.
BEIJING COMA. By Ma Jian. Translated by Flora Drew.
*A BETTER ANGEL: Stories. By Chris Adrian.
BLACK FLIES. By Shannon Burke.
THE BLUE STAR. By Tony Earley.
*THE BOAT. By Nam Le.
BREATH. By Tim Winton.
DANGEROUS LAUGHTER: Thirteen Stories. By Steven Millhauser.
DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES. By Jonathan Miles.
DIARY OF A BAD YEAR. By J. M. Coetzee.
DICTATION: A Quartet. By Cynthia Ozick.
ELEGY: Poems. By Mary Jo Bang.
THE ENGLISH MAJOR. By Jim Harrison.
FANON. By John Edgar Wideman.
THE FINDER. By Colin Harrison.
FINE JUST THE WAY IT IS: Wyoming Stories 3 . By Annie Proulx.
THE GOOD THIEF . By Hannah Tinti.
HALF OF THE WORLD IN LIGHT: New and Selected Poems. By Juan Felipe Herrera.
HIS ILLEGAL SELF. By Peter Carey.
*HOME. By Marilynne Robinson.
INDIGNATION. By Philip Roth.
THE LAZARUS PROJECT. By Aleksandar Hemon.
LEGEND OF A SUICIDE. By David Vann.
LIFE CLASS. By Pat Barker.
LUSH LIFE. By Richard Price.
A MERCY. By Toni Morrison.
MODERN LIFE: Poems . By Matthea Harvey.
A MOST WANTED MAN . By John le Carré.
MY REVOLUTIONS. By Hari Kunzru.
NETHERLAND. By Joseph O’Neill.
OPAL SUNSET: Selected Poems, 1958-2008. By Clive James.
THE OTHER. By David Guterson.
OUR STORY BEGINS: New and Selected Stories. By Tobias Wolff.
*THE ROAD HOME. By Rose Tremain.
THE SACRED BOOK OF THE WEREWOLF. By Victor Pelevin. Translated by Andrew Bromfield.
THE SCHOOL ON HEART’S CONTENT ROAD. By Carolyn Chute.
SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT: A New Verse Translation. By Simon Armitage.
SLEEPING IT OFF IN RAPID CITY: Poems, New and Selected. By August Kleinzahler.
TELEX FROM CUBA. By Rachel Kushner.
*2666. By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer.
UNACCUSTOMED EARTH. By Jhumpa Lahiri.
THE UNFORTUNATES. By B. S. Johnson.
*WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? By Kate Atkinson.
THE WIDOWS OF EASTWICK. By John Updike.
YESTERDAY’S WEATHER. By Anne Enright.
2007 (7 of 50 read)
THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER. By Tom Perrotta.
AFTER DARK. By Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin.
THE BAD GIRL. By Mario Vargas Llosa. Translated by Edith Grossman.
BEARING THE BODY. By Ehud Havazelet.
*THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS. By Dinaw Mengestu.
*BRIDGE OF SIGHS. By Richard Russo.
THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. By Junot Díaz.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. By André Aciman.
CHEATING AT CANASTA. By William Trevor.
THE COLLECTED POEMS, 1956-1998. By Zbigniew Herbert. Translated by Alissa Valles.
DANCING TO “ALMENDRA.” By Mayra Montero. Translated by Edith Grossman.
EXIT GHOST. By Philip Roth.
FALLING MAN. By Don DeLillo.
FELLOW TRAVELERS. By Thomas Mallon.
A FREE LIFE. By Ha Jin.
THE GATHERING. By Anne Enright.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. By J.K. Rowling.
HOUSE LIGHTS. By Leah Hager Cohen.
HOUSE OF MEETINGS. By Martin Amis.
IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN. By Hisham Matar.
THE INDIAN CLERK. By David Leavitt.
KNOTS. By Nuruddin Farah.
*LATER, AT THE BAR: A Novel in Stories. By Rebecca Barry.
*LET THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME. By Vendela Vida.
LIKE YOU’D UNDERSTAND, ANYWAY: Stories. By Jim Shepard.
MAN GONE DOWN. By Michael Thomas.
*MATRIMONY. By Joshua Henkin.
*THE MAYTREES. By Annie Dillard.
*THE MINISTRY OF SPECIAL CASES. By Nathan Englander.
MOTHERS AND SONS: Stories. By Colm Toibin.
NEXT LIFE. By Rae Armantrout.
ON CHESIL BEACH. By Ian McEwan.
OUT STEALING HORSES. By Per Petterson. Translated by Anne Born.
*THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. By Mohsin Hamid.
REMAINDER. By Tom McCarthy.
*THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES. By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer.
SELECTED POEMS. By Derek Walcott.
*THE SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ. By Dalia Sofer.
SHORTCOMINGS. By Adrian Tomine.
SUNSTROKE: And Other Stories. By Tessa Hadley.
*THEN WE CAME TO THE END. By Joshua Ferris.
THROW LIKE A GIRL: Stories. By Jean Thompson.
TIME AND MATERIALS: Poems, 1997-2005. By Robert Hass.
TREE OF SMOKE. By Denis Johnson.
TWENTY GRAND: And Other Tales of Love and Money. By Rebecca Curtis.
VARIETIES OF DISTURBANCE: Stories. By Lydia Davis.
THE VIEW FROM CASTLE ROCK: Stories. By Alice Munro.
WHAT IS THE WHAT. The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel. By Dave Eggers.
*WINTERTON BLUE. By Trezza Azzopardi.
THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. By Michael Chabon.
2006 (11/50 read)
ABSURDISTAN. By Gary Shteyngart.
AFTER THIS. By Alice McDermott.
AGAINST THE DAY. By Thomas Pynchon.
ALENTEJO BLUE. By Monica Ali.
ALL AUNT HAGAR’S CHILDREN. By Edward P. Jones.
APEX HIDES THE HURT. By Colson Whitehead.
*ARTHUR AND GEORGE. By Julian Barnes.
AVERNO. By Louise Glück.
BEASTS OF NO NATION. By Uzodinma Iweala.
*BLACK SWAN GREEN. By David Mitchell.
BROOKLAND. By Emily Barton.
COLLECTED POEMS, 1947-1997. By Allen Ginsberg.
THE COLLECTED STORIES OF AMY HEMPEL.
THE DEAD FISH MUSEUM. By Charles D’Ambrosio.
*DIGGING TO AMERICA. By Anne Tyler.
THE DISSIDENT. By Nell Freudenberger.
*THE DREAM LIFE OF SUKHANOV. By Olga Grushin.
EAT THE DOCUMENT. By Dana Spiotta.
THE ECHO MAKER. By Richard Powers.
THE EMPEROR’S CHILDREN. By Claire Messud.
EVERYMAN. By Philip Roth.
FORGETFULNESS. By Ward Just.
GALLATIN CANYON: Stories. By Thomas McGuane.
GATE OF THE SUN. By Elias Khoury. Translated by Humphrey Davies.
GOLDEN COUNTRY. By Jennifer Gilmore.
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN. By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
HIGH LONESOME: New & Selected Stories, 1966-2006. By Joyce Carol Oates.
THE INHABITED WORLD. By David Long.
THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS. By Kiran Desai.
INTUITION. By Allegra Goodman.
THE KEEP. By Jennifer Egan.
LAST EVENINGS ON EARTH. By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Chris Andrews.
THE LAY OF THE LAND. By Richard Ford.
LISEY’S STORY. By Stephen King.
NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS, 1964-2006. By Ishmael Reed.
OLD FILTH. By Jane Gardam.
*ONE GOOD TURN. By Kate Atkinson.
ONLY REVOLUTIONS. By Mark Z. Danielewski.
THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND. By Michel Houellebecq. Translated by Gavin Bowd.
THE ROAD. By Cormac McCarthy.
SKINNER’S DRIFT. By Lisa Fugard.
*SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS. By Marisha Pessl.
THE STORIES OF MARY GORDON. By Mary Gordon.
STRONG IS YOUR HOLD. By Galway Kinnell.
SUITE FRANÇAISE. By Irène Némirovsky. Translated by Sandra Smith.
TERRORIST. By John Updike.
THE TRANSLATOR. By Leila Aboulela.
TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES. By Deborah Eisenberg.
THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT. By Heidi Julavits.
A WOMAN IN JERUSALEM. By A. B. Yehoshua. Translated by Hillel Halkin.
2005 (3/39 read)
BEYOND BLACK. By Hilary Mantel.
A CHANGED MAN. By Francine Prose.
COLLECTED POEMS, 1943-2004. By Richard Wilbur.
EMPIRE RISING. By Thomas Kelly.
ENVY. By Kathryn Harrison.
*EUROPE CENTRAL. By William T. Vollmann.
FOLLIES: New Stories. By Ann Beattie.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. By J. K. Rowling.
HOME LAND. By Sam Lipsyte.
THE HOT KID. By Elmore Leonard.
HOW WE ARE HUNGRY: Stories. By Dave Eggers.
IN CASE WE’RE SEPARATED: Connected Stories. By Alice Mattison.
INDECISION. By Benjamin Kunkel.
*KAFKA ON THE SHORE. By Haruki Murakami.
LUNAR PARK. By Bret Easton Ellis.
MAPS FOR LOST LOVERS. By Nadeem Aslam.
THE MARCH. By E. L. Doctorow.
MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES. By Gabriel García Márquez.
MIGRATION: New and Selected Poems. By W. S. Merwin.
MISSING MOM. By Joyce Carol Oates.
MISSION TO AMERICA. By Walter Kirn.
*MOTHER’S MILK. By Edward St. Aubyn.
NATURAL HISTORY: Poems. By Dan Chiasson.
NEVER LET ME GO. By Kazuo Ishiguro.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. By Cormac McCarthy.
*ON BEAUTY. Zadie Smith.
OVERLORD: Poems. By Jorie Graham.
*THE PAINTED DRUM. By Louise Erdrich.
*PLEASE DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON. By Dean Bakopoulos.
PREP. By Curtis Sittenfeld.
*SATURDAY. By Ian McEwan.
THE SEA. By John Banville.
*SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY. By Elliot Perlman.
SHALIMAR THE CLOWN. By Salman Rushdie.
SLOW MAN. By J. M. Coetzee.
STAR DUST. Frank Bidart.
THE SUCCESSOR. By Ismail Kadare.
TOWELHEAD. By Alicia Erian.
VERONICA. By Mary Gaitskill.
2004 (5/42 read)
ALOFT. By Chang-rae Lee.
THE AMATEUR MARRIAGE. By Anne Tyler.
AMERICAN SMOOTH: Poems. By Rita Dove.
BANDBOX. By Thomas Mallon.
A BIT ON THE SIDE. By William Trevor.
*CLOUD ATLAS. By David Mitchell.
COLLECTED POEMS. By Donald Justice.
THE CURSE OF THE APPROPRIATE MAN. By Lynn Freed.
THE DARLING. By Russell Banks.
THE FALLS. By Joyce Carol Oates.
THE FIRST DESIRE. By Nancy Reisman.
FOUR SOULS. By Louise Erdrich.
GILEAD. By Marilynne Robinson.
THE HAMILTON CASE. By Michelle de Kretser.
HARBOR. By Lorraine Adams.
*HEIR TO THE GLIMMERING WORLD. By Cynthia Ozick.
I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS. By Tom Wolfe.
THE INNER CIRCLE. By T. Coraghessan Boyle.
*THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB. By Karen Joy Fowler.
JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. By Susanna Clarke.
THE LEMON TABLE: Stories. By Julian Barnes.
*THE LINE OF BEAUTY.By Alan Hollinghurst.
LITTLE CHILDREN. By Tom Perrotta.
MAGIC SEEDS. By V. S Naipaul.
*THE MASTER. By Colm Toibin.
MEN AND CARTOONS: Stories. By Jonathan Lethem.
NATASHA: And Other Stories. By David Bezmozgis.
OBLIVION: Stories. By David Foster Wallace.
OUR KIND. By Kate Walbert.
*THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY. By Tony Eprile.
THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA. By Philip Roth.
THE PRODIGAL. By Derek Walcott.
*RUNAWAY. By Alice Munro.
SNOW. By Orhan Pamuk.
THE STONE THAT THE BUILDER REFUSED. By Madison Smartt Bell.
Awesome trailer — I’m very excited for this movie to come out. I love Christian Bale, and I love the whole Terminator saga, including the TV series (probably my favorite right now since Battlestar Galactica is over). I may have to take my kids out of school on opening day for this one (aren’t I a cool mom?). [For the record, we went on Saturday morning.]