Monday, January 1, 2007

Books

How was everyone's new year? 2006 gets mixed reviews from me: One the one hand, I got promoted at work to make salary for the first time in my life, and I got an awesome apartment in a terrific town. On the downside, my mother died in April.
New Year 2006/7 was quiet over here. Spent the night watching cartoons and drinking beer with my best friend. We woke up in bed next to each other this morning, still completely dressed (he's straight, we're pals, not lovers. Too bad for him). Great way to start a new year from my point of view.
A great new year's resolution might be to read more in '07. Literacy is humanity's greatest asset. So here's a few books:

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler
$6.99 at Bn.com ISBN: 0804113475
** (pretty easy)
Delta Grinstead seems like a happily married suburban housewife with three nearly grown children. On a vacation at the beach she impulsively disappears, leaving her family without a word to live on her own. This was a very strange story, with one of the most realistically written female heroines I've ever encountered. It's not a thrill-ride: no spies, intrigue, or hidden motives. Just a lady who decides to try something new. How it all plays out is very interesting. Anyone who's ever entertained fantasies about ditching everyone they know to start over will enjoy this darkly written yet easy to read novel.
House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski
$15.96 at Bn.com ISBN: 0375703764
*** (moderate)
If you're in the mood for something scary, this should go at the top of your list. This book is postmodern: flip through it and you'll see what this means. Footnotes go on for pages, the author sets certain passages apart with different typesets and boxes. The story involves a mysterious house with a strange, alien presence. Everyone who learns about the house suffers a series of calamities, yet those who investigate this phenomenon can't even prove that the house ever existed. There are parts so spooky I had to put the book down for a while and think about something else. Too scary to read alone at night. Enjoy!

Between You and Me
, by Mike Wallace
$13.45 at Bn.com ISBN: 0786888431
** (pretty easy)
Mike Wallace is famous as a correspondent for CBS News' 60 Minutes. Now in his 80s, he writes this book about some of the interviews he's conducted over the years. Wallace credibility as a journalist is unimpeachable, he's writing is down to earth, making this an overlooked winner. Please don't miss out on it. Included are his musings on (among others): Martin Luther King Jr., Yasir Arafat, Barbra Streisand, Malcolm X, and every presidential couple since Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. The towering personalities of the 20th century meeting with one of the greatest journalists of our time, written in a style simple enough for anyone to enjoy all make this book a tragedy to miss.

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