Books, A Year In Review.

posted in Books on Jan 1, 2007

I read a whole heck of a lot (even though a couple of years ago I would have said that people who read books are a bunch of pansies). With that said, here are a load of mini-reviews for some of the books I’ve read this year.

  • 1776 by David McCullough
    It may be strange that I would be recommending a book that has actual, historical facts, but 1776 is really good, whether or not you like history in the least. Instead of sitting around and throwing boring facts at your face, the book reads simply, with the facts put in there so they aren’t obtrusive and, well, boring. If you want a great book that might just make you learn something, try this one out.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
    Sometimes we just need to read a book about people who are crazy. In such times, this novel is not a bad choice. I must say, however, that it took me a long time to read. It’s not a long book, but it feels that way. That’s probably some cool tactic to make it seem like YOU are going crazy. Those authors sure do know how to write books, I tell ya.
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    All of you sissies might know McCarthy from his book (and subsequent movie) All the Pretty Horses, but The Road is bleak and will pretty much depress you to no end. Set in a post-apocalyptic United States, a father and son trek south on foot to try and make a place that’s warm and not burned like the rest of the country is. Fun times.
  • The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
    I’m a pretty big fan of Egyptian junk, so when I saw this book on the shelf I thought it’d be a rockin’ good time. Unfortunately, I came away from this thing completely disappointed. It turns out that it’s part of some series, so the characters have all been mentioned and fleshed out in other novels. The book has a self contained story, but it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped.
  • Lost in Place by Mark Salzman
    I found this book behind a desk in my old office, but it turned out to be alright. It’s nothing special, but it’s a pretty fun and light read. A sort of coming of age story, it’s about a man recalling his childhood, trying to find his place in life. I wouldn’t pick it up if you can find something you’d rather read, but if you can find it behind a desk in your old office, then have at it.
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulson
    Hatchet is about a boy who gets stranded in the woods and has to fend for himself for over a month. His only tool? A hatchet, of course. This book is a young-adult novel, but it was still a good read as a 23 year old man-child, such as myself. It’s only about six bucks or so nowadays, so if you’re looking for something that’ll take you about two days to read, then have at it.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Similar to Hatchet, this is a young-adult novel, but it’s totally awesome. Unlike Hatchet, I would say that you should look for this book in stores and find it and read it. It’s really great. Without giving too much away, it’s about a society in which everything is already planned out and people don’t have control on what their jobs are or how they act. It’s really interesting.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    About the bombing in Dresden, this novel somehow mixes a despicable war tragedy with comedy, and you will laugh heartily. A completely great book, Slaughterhouse-Five is something that you should definitely read. It’s also not very long, so bonus points for that.
  • Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
    A follow up to Ender’s Game, this novel tells the story of Ender from the viewpoint of one of this compatriots. If you’ve read Ender’s Game, you know how awesome that novel is, so you should read this too. If you haven’t read Ender’s Game, read that book and then turn around and read this one. It’ll be worth it.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
    If the author hadn’t felt it necessary to kill himself, we’d probably have a ton of awesome novels to read, but unfortunately we only have two of his works. This one, about a fat know-it-all living in New Orleans, is hilarious and incredibly sharp. It really is fantastic; enough to win the Pulitzer even. So if you don’t read this book, you’re a retard.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
    Probably the only book I’d recommend reading that has subject matter that deals with the World Trade Center events (and only because it’s not trying to cash in on the events), this book is about a boy in New York who finds a key. He then tries to find the lock that it goes to. Of course there is more to it than that, but you should read it and find out for yourself.
  • Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
    Vampires are cool. Wizards and mages are cool. Put them in a contemporary time set in Moscow and you have a sweet book called Night Watch. This is only the first part in a three part series, but it’s well worth the read. That’s really all there is to say. The book is really fun to read and I can’t wait until the next one gets translated and hits our shores.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    It was a tough call to figure out which novel I read last year was my favorite, but I think that this novel and the next one are tied for top honors. Anyhow, Middlesex is about a hermaphrodite. Yes, that’s right. A hermaphrodite. Don’t run just yet because the book is amazing. If you would have told me at any point in time that I’d be raving about a book about a guy with the best of both worlds, I would have called you crazy, but as it turns out, I love this book. If you read it, you will too, I can pretty much guarantee that.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    This novel is gripping. It’s incredibly vivid and tells both the story of a man and the nation of Afghanistan from when they were both innocent to their downfalls. It’s such a good book. I received it as a Christmas present, thinking when I first opened it that it would alright but not as praiseworthy as everything on the cover says it was, but I was so freaking wrong. Like Middlesex and A Confederacy of Dunces, this book is a must read for anyone who is even interested in good books.