Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of the Decade - Maureen's Picks

2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - I do enjoy a long complex family saga which gives you the opportunity to see the full scope of a character's life. The Blind Assassin was especially complicated with it's novel within a novel structure and its revelations of family secrets.

2001 Kit's Law by Donna Morrissey - For me, a great book is all about the characters and the human relationships. I enjoy thrillers and mysteries too, but they would not fall in my list of best books. Donna Morrissey creates characters, which are not always pretty, but are certainly intense and honest. For me, her books have a Thomas Hardy feel.

2002 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - I picked up this book because everyone was talking about it. I was reluctant at first because I thought I would find a story from the perspective of a murdered child to be too sad. Of course it was sad. A wasted life and wasted opportunities. Sad, but not maudlin or sentimental. A touching picture of a family in mourning.

2003 The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin - I initially chose this book because I enjoy Steve Martin so much. Stories about eccentrics are very appealing to me and Martin's characters are certainly quirky. He's a wild and crazy guy.

2004 The Plot Against America by Philip Roth - In this novel the examination of character moves in scale from the individual to the nation. A big novel with a lot of big ideas to consider. In this alternate history Lindbergh (an isolationist and suspected Nazi sympathizer) defeats Roosevelt in the 1940 election.

2005 The Sea by John Banville - I listened to The Sea on cd while spending the day doing a mundane task. Again, the examination of a life. I'm beginning to see a trend here. Following the death of his wife, Max returns to a seaside locale where he and his family spent the summer. Intense memories are relived triggering one distant but shocking event.

2006 Old Filth by Jane Gardam - Hmmm....relflection of an elderly man on his life. I wrote about it here.

2007 Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam - Lam's book is not a reflection of a long life lived, but of events that are immediate and urgent. More here. I am normally not a fan of medical movies, television shows or books. This one is the exception.

2008 Deaf Sentence by David Lodge - Lodge has been writing fiction, largely funny campus novels, for many years. This is the one I've enjoyed the most. From what can only be personal experience, he describes the life of person growing more deaf in a hearing world. A funny and modest tale of growing older.

2009 You Better Watch Out by Greg Malone - I have mention this one before as well. I stand by opinion that is a memoir that not only captures the perspective of a child but also entertains and amuses. It was also made meaningful since the location and its history is intimate for me also.

and 2010 we'll just to wait and see.

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