12 January 2011
Every year the American Library Association publishes their Notable Book List, and every year I check it out immediately to confirm one thing: I am always completely bored by the ALA Notable Book LIst.
I don't think they pick bad books; it's just that they always pick books that I've heard of, but have ZERO INTEREST in reading. This is weird, as I will read pretty much anything, especially titles I find on best of or other themed lists.*
But this year is no exception. I didn't pay much attention to the fiction list, as that's not really my thang anyway (but really? Who actually liked Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad? It appeared on every "Best of..." list there was this year, and I couldn't make it past page 25, although I actually do like Jennifer Egan. And Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist? Can anyone else say "overrated"?). But the nonfiction list left me yawning, as per usual.
Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow. God, another Founding Father biography. If I never have to hear about another Founding Father biography, much less read one, it will be too soon.
Travels in Siberia, by Ian Frazier. Frazier's one of those writers who seems to pop up a lot, but I've never, EVER heard anyone say they're a real Frazier fan. I can never make it through his stuff--and this one scares me off because it's over 500 pages.
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour, by Lynne Olson. Oh, of course. Wouldn't be a notable list without a World War II book on it. Even if this one is set in Britain, I still can't drum up any interest. There sure were a lot of darkest finest hours in World War II, weren't there? I think that era sucked up all the darkest finest hours available down through history.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson. Well, this one I might actually have to read, someone I trust said it was fantastic.
So yeah, snore. I don't know about you but I'd pay a lot to see a good humor book, meaty collection of essays, well-done memoir, or anything by William Langewiesche make this list one of these years.
*This corollary is related to my rule that I will eat anything that somebody else cooks. I am sick of cooking lately.