Three hundred sixty-five days ago I challenged myself to read 100 books by my next birthday, which is today! Looking back at this accomplishment I see parts of myself I had forgotten about. I could have just pushed out 100 Star Trek novels and been done in January, but I mixed in challenging novels and non-fiction to make this a true challenge. I tried out authors who were strangers to me. I took on series I had been meaning to try, and I even read some books by old favorites. This list reflects, first and foremost, that I am impossible to pigeonhole. My reading tastes reflect the many facets of my personality: sometimes fun, often serious, always unpredictable. An enigma with a goatee, you might say.
So, in the space allotted me, prepare for the highlights of my literary year. I love lists so here are the five most disappointing books from the last year and the ten best. Neither list in any way offers anything but my opinion, that is to say, the last word on the subject! (g) Thanks to all of you who offered encouragement and support along the way.
FIVE MOST DISSAPPOINTING BOOKS:
The Warriors by Sol Yurick. I have been looking for this one for a long time and was very excited when I finally found it. As you may (or may not) know, they made a pretty great movie out of it, back in 1979. A modern retelling of the classic Greek tale The Anabasis, this joins The Graduate by Charles Webb on a special list: Movies that were not only better than the book but I cannot figure out how anyone thought to make a movie from it, much less a great movie. After I finished this book I went home and watched the movie. Twice.
The Ladies of Missalonghi by Coleen McCullough. Nothing worse than a bad book by a favorite author. I loved her First Man In Rome series and The Thorn Birds was entertaining. This book was just there. The characters were not terribly compelling, nor were the setting or situations. Luckily, this was a short, quick read.
Champagne and Baloney by Tom Clark. I love books about baseball. I hate books that make the same point over and over again. this book is about the Finley years of the Oakland Athletics, which should have been great fodder for an interesting book. What I got from it was that Charlie Finley was a cheap asshole. Over and over and over and over…
The Fire – Katherine Neville. Her book, The Eight, was so good that I have to read everything else she writes, even though none of them has ever even come close to the original.
I am Legend by Richard Matheson. I figured that a book made into a movie three different times had to have something to it. I was wrong!
TEN FAVORITE BOOKS:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I love books with twists. I love books with unreliable narrators. I love books with endings I hate, but that make total sense. I love books I can’t put down.
Inferno by Dan Brown. For me Dan Brown is one of those writers that I feel somehow compelled to read, even though his books are basically the same. Entertaining but not earth-shattering. Maybe that is why I enjoyed this one so much! Brown brought his game up a notch and a half, confused the hell out of me with all the plot twists and educated me on the work of Italian poet Dante. Puts The DaVinci Code to shame!
Push by Sapphire. I have not seen the movie Precious they made from this book…and I never will. It took me about four hours to read it from cover to cover. At the end I felt like someone kicked me in the gut after running me over with his car. Brutally powerful and all=the=more intriguing because of the emotion it conveys though written in a barely-discernible patois.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. You all know I avoid hype. I was the last person to catch the Harry Potter bug. I didn’t start watching The Sopranos until the third season. Once I read this book I made up for lost time! Read the first two then watched the first two seasons, then read the last three. Love these books and the world of Westeros even though I am NOT a fan of fantasy.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I am SO not into vampires. When I was a kid, girls were scared of vampires. Now they want to date them. What I liked so much about this book was the unique take of the vampire world. They are out in the open, have their own social order and government. I truly love the unique!
The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers. Gripping story of a girl who grows up in absolute poverty in the worst slum in Uganda, meets that one special teacher who looks past the surface, goes beyond class and gender bias and succeeds on the world stage in the Game of Kings.
Doc by Dwight Gooden. So many celebrity rehab biographies are the typical blame game. Parents, coaches or friends are somehow responsible for what got them in trouble. I really admire Doc Gooden for really taking responsibility for his demons and for his own recovery. I got to see him strike out the side in the 1984 All-Star game and its good to see him make one more great pitch.
Deer in the Headlights by Levi Johnston. Making fun of Sarah Palin is almost too easy. Levi Johnston, almost son-in-law to the rogue lady, gives all sorts of behind-the-scenes stories of the Palin clan. If one-tenth of what he claims is true, then Palin is meaner and far worse than you think.
Fifty-nine in ’84 – Edward Achorn. A great baseball book about one of the greatest seasons any ballplayer has ever had. It was a different game back then when players had to sell tickets before the game, umpires LITERALLY needed a police escort out of the ballpark, and “decent” women were not allowed through the turnstiles.
The Thin Red Line by James Jones. Everyone knows Jones’ from Here to Eternity but this lesser-known work is simply one of the best narratives of men in combat ever written. Gritty, touching, simple, yet powerful.
FOR THE COMPLETE LIST GO TO: http://wp.me/p2uJQd-2J