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31 January 2014


Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is absolutely worth the read. Great characterization and narration of the lives of people during the Chechen wars.

Thank you, Barack--
As noted, I had quit reading the list by that point. I will definitely look into the Marra. I suppose I should thank the ALA--they at least did put some fiction books on their list that didn't seem to get a whole lot of publicity elsewhere. I'll admit I had never heard of this one.

I saw it recommended on Reddit, as well as listed by P&W's list of the best books of 2013. I'm trying to read more contemporary fiction so that list was helpful, though i tend to shy away from "best of" lists. Another great read, listed by P&W, was The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. I highly recommend both.

What do you normally read, if not contemporary fiction? The problem over here is I only have so much time to devote to fiction, so I tend to stick to authors I already know and like, rather than trying new things.
Good to know about the McBride book. I loved his memoir "The Color of Water," so perhaps I will try that one too. I don't read enough National Book Award winners either.

Sadly, I haven't read any of them. However, Scott Andersons Lawrence in Arabia, Ian Buruma's Year Zero, Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us and Eric Schlosser's Command and Control are all on my list!

Well, Maphead, you're pretty well-read, so if you haven't read any of them (yet)...that makes me feel a bit better. I'll be interested to see your review of the Fink book in particular.
But God help me, I find Eric Schlosser just completely boring. Plus I've already read William Langewiesche's The Atomic Bazaar on the same topic, and just can't find the interest to read a similar title.

Life after Life was very good, Kate Atkinson is definitely one of my favorite authors and she really pulled off a unique plot set-up. Someone in my book group Wednesday night commented about the Fox book Riddle of the Labyrinth and said how much she enjoyed that...she is British so you have to trust her :) There's my two cents about the lists

I do like Kate Atkinson but I just don't get enough time for reading any fiction! She's on my TBR list, just a bit too far down for me to get to her very soon. I might move her up based on your recommendation though!
Good to know on the Fox book. You know I definitely pay more attention to any and all Brits, so that was good info to share!

I loved The Goldfinch! Do you find that a boring choice? And I'm in the midst of The Woman Upstairs right now and finding it well-written and somewhat mysterious. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards was forgettable. I thought The Dinner was sly and topical and viciously fun.

Yes, I've been meaning to read some more Atkinson...perhaps I should make "Life after Life" the one. Thanks for the suggestion on that, and for the Fox book...even with the Brit stamp of approval, perfect!

So glad someone out there has read many more of these! I do like Donna Tartt but oof, her books are so big and meaty. Hard to find the time--but I will try. (And thanks for saving me time on the Leopards book; if it was forgettable I'll definitely give it a miss.)

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