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28 November 2012

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I have several on my list to read, but I've actually only read one. The Round House by Erdrich is excellent. There's one month left of the year to get some reading done.

Melanie--

Thanks for the Erdrich recommendation. She just won the National Book Award for that, didn't she?

Yeah, the Notables list. What was the saddest was that I hadn't even heard of more than half the titles on it! What precious little reading time remains in my year will probably not be spent with Notables.

Dear Lord, I am batting ZERO. Though I do have the Kingsolver book checked out, and if I had heard of the Byrne and Brown books, I would have read them. I love a good musician bio. Does it count if I have read most of the authors? No?

I went through the list and have read... one also. I have a few on my shelves or coming from the library, but on the whole I didn't do so great with the notable books this year either. I'll happily remain lowbrow.

Roberta,
Ha! I award you three points, for the Kingsolver, and for even wanting to read two other books on this list. Add points for whichever authors you've heard of, too, what the heck. This site is all about counting what you want. :)

Kim,
Okay, if you (a pretty dedicated nonfiction reader and an "avid" reader, at 100+ books a year) haven't read most of them, and I haven't, and Roberta hasn't (etc. etc.) I'm starting to think the NY Times' critics are the ones completely divorced from the reality of what people read. Anyone else think that?

Hah! "Canada" by Ford is the only book on the list I've read. I did dip into "Round House" by Erdrich, but it was due back at the library before I finished. And I own "Yellow Birds" but haven't opened it yet. Does any of that count?? Or am I truly only batting 1 right now?

Marija,
Welcome to the Lowbrow Club, as I like to call us. Ha! But I'll award a half-point for the Erdrich and a full point for owning one of the books, so, at 2.5, you'd doing 150% than you were with "1." (Anyone: Am I doing my math right there? I'm a reader, not a mather.)

I'm doing great....2. "Watergate" by Thomas Mallon...didn't like it much though its mostly accurate about the scandal. If you're going to have a real person have a fictitious affair maybe make it with a fictitious character. But when you have two real people having an affair which they really didn't have, I find that kinda creepy. "Are You My Mother?" by Allison Bechdel...graphic novel. I liked her first book but not this one which relies heavily on psychotherapy and the author's relationship with her various therapists. I suppose 2 is better than none. The only one I would like to read is "The Round House" by Louise Erdrich.

Donan,
I'm really enjoying the comments here, mainly so I can hear quick reviews of other titles on this list! I too liked Bechdel's first graphic novel but wow, it was so depressing (to me, at least), I just didn't think I could read this second one. (Although at least it was one of the few I had heard of.)
And oh, my, "Watergate," my eyes just skimmed right over that of their own accord. Once I had read "All the President's Men" (and watched the movie), I was just DONE with Watergate. Can't believe, really, how much press it still gets, considering all the ugly political crap that has gone on in this country since. And it sounds like Mallon played a little fast and loose with historical storylines for you?

I love Alison Bechdel. That is the one and only one Notable book I'm vowing to read between now and the end of the year.

Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins was enjoyable, but if you're going to read him, The Financial Lives of the Poets is better.

Wiley Cash's debut, A Land More Kind Than Home, was a book I really wanted to love. I tried. I failed, but I tried.

The Breasts book was great because, you know, boobs.

So: three! Plus one to follow soon! I have one twenty-fifth of a brow!

A grand total of two for me: Bring Up the Bodies, which is good if you can stomach yet another book about the Tudors. And Swimming Home, which I found utterly confounding. I wrote a review of it and still don't know what I think of it.

Meanwhile, here's another list:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/26/the_fp_100_global_thinkers

It's too long to read all in one sitting, but I'm reading a few entries each day. Pretty interesting stuff -- and many of the people on the list give book recommendations.

I scored a four, with a half point for attempting Sweet Tooth...Bring Up the Bodies and Beautiful Ruins were both excellent, but didn't Salvage the Bones come out last year? And I'm a little puzzled by the inclusion of the Byrne book. Yes, it's an 'important' book by an 'important' musician, but I remember reading one NYT review of it with the impression that the reviewer wasn't too keen on it. Do they even take their own reviews into account when they assemble the list?

I'm not terribly impressed with this year's list either, but maybe the editors mean notable more in the 'you should know about this book' sense than the 'maybe you would actually like to read these books.'

Lesbrarian!
I think I tried Jess Walters before and, of course, he is not really for me. :)
Thank you for the other list--I'm going to peruse it and see what I can find!

Bibliomane,
a 4! Wow! You have put the rest of us to shame. And who knows what the NY Times is doing? The distinction between "books you should know" and "books you might like to read" is an interesting one--but ideally shouldn't those two factors align sometimes? I guess what I really want to know is WHO is reading a lot of these books. And what else they read. Maybe they honestly only read and like such "notables"?

I did a little geeky librarian research this morning to see who's reading these books. I do the fiction selection for my medium-sized rural library, and I purchased 13 of the fiction titles. Easch one has been steadily circulating. I tend to purchase titles by authors we all ready have in the collection, titles that are getting reviewd in newspapers that my patrons read, or blogs that I read. There were plenty of titles on the list that I hadn't heard of. And if you (CR) didn't tell me about the non-fiction titles, then I don't know about them.

Melanie,
You can let your geek flag fly here at CR. That is awesome! Can I be geeky right back? I want to take a stab at guessing which 13 fiction titles you own (kudos to you for having that many, but still...only 13 out of 50? For a medium-sized library I guess there's just so many books being published these days.) Anyway: do let me know how I did if you get the chance.
An American Spy, Steinhauer
Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie
Bring UP the Bodies, Mantel
Canada, Ford
Flight Behavior, Kingsolver
Hologram for the King, Eggers
In One Person, Irving
The Round House, Erdrich
Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan
Telegraph Avenue, Chabon
This Is How You Lose Her, Diaz
Watergate, Mallon
The Yellow Birds, Powers

I stuck pretty much with bigger author names. How well did I do? (I'm fascinated, FASCINATED, by the job of selecting fiction. And the people who do it. :) )

Oops, Teresa, missed you in there.
Can I read this second Mantel if I haven't read the first, or should I just read Wolf Hall? I'm always up for more Tudors.

Count me in as another zero. There are a few on the fiction list that I have heard of and would like to read and one (Gods without Men) that I actually have checked out from the library right now, but will return this week unread. :(

Ruthiella,
Okay, if you're coming in with zero then something is seriously wrong with the NYTimes list. I'm just sayin.'
Ugh, returning books without reading them, I hate that. I've been doing that a lot too. I've had James Kunstler's "Too Much Magic" home twice now and still haven't gotten through it. My sympathies to you--I hope you have more time to read coming up soon.

Lord, everyone just read the book about boobs have done with it.

Beautiful Ruins
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Bring up the Bodies
Canada
Carry the One
Flight Behaviour
Home
In One Person
A Land More Kind than Home
NW
Round House
Shine Shine Shine
Yellow Birds
OK, off to purchase more books :)

Melanie,
Ha, I'm bad at this! (Big surprise.) However, I am pleased that I guessed right on "Yellow Birds." Hadn't heard of it, but it just seemed like something that might "go" in a medium rural library. I'm going to put that one in the "W" column.
Have fun purchasing more books!

I scored a 2, for Bring Up the Bodies and People Who Eat Darkness (woo hoo, true crime!). If I could get points for checking a book out of the library or acquiring it some other way (purchase or getting my hands on a galley), I'd be in the double digits. But apparently it was more important to catch up on a couple seasons of 30 Rock and read a bunch of junk this year ...

I only read 2: Canada and Are You My Mother?

Nan,
Hm, didn't realize People Who Eat Darkness was TC. I'll have to look into that.
Sometimes you just want to watch TV and read a little junk--no harm no foul!

Bybee,
Well, you're 2x as highbrow as me! What did you think of the Bechdel? As good as "Fun Home"?

It's not only true crime but it's by a reporter who covered the case as it was happening (a young British woman murdered in Japan; he is a British newspaper reporter stationed in Tokyo), which gives him a truly excellent perspective on the cultural dissonance that affected the case and on the changing attitudes and perceptions of the British woman's family, especially her father.

So did you see this list -- and is your percentage any higher?

http://www.flavorwire.com/351505/25-notable-books-unfairly-overlooked-by-the-new-york-times

Gone Girl is the only one I've read but it did give me a bunch of titles to add to my holiday wishlist.

Nan!
I did see that Flavorwire list--it's excellent--I need to post about it next week. Thanks for the reminder!
Must get the true crime you're suggesting. Have you also read "Midnight in Peking"? Got good reviews and sounds somewhat similar, although MIP is historical.

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