Happy New Year! My New Year’s Resolution was to blog more regularly, and so far I’m doing great! In honor of the new year, I decided to browse some respected publications for their lists of the top books of 2012. I took a look at the recommendations of the New York Times, Washington Post and The Atlantic, and it turns out that I don’t know any of the titles or the authors. How embarassing. I did think the novel “Arcadia” sounded familiar, but then I realized I was thinking of a DC restaurant. And it’s called Acadiana. Thinking that the universe was telling me gently that despite what I might wish, I’m actually not the target audience for those lists, I decided to move on to a blog called Hairpin that was recently recommended to me a writer-friend. Hairpin then led me to Buzzfeed, which published their 2012 faves and gasp! I actually knew some of the books! Not only that, I read half of one of them! (Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, which I purchased because I heard Obama was reading it.)
That all I said, I was looking for something to read, and some of the books were intriguing. My faves are below. I hope they live up to the hype!
- The Buddhist, by Dodie Bellamy. “It’s not the story itself — the agonizing wake of a breakup — that’s so compelling. It’s the way Dodie turns the body of the story, the process of untangling emotional trauma and trying to understand how we relate to each other and ourselves, into a process itself. She breaks down any sort of traditional narrative structures to weave bits of writings, real-time accounts of her days, excerpts from her blog and selfies, splaying out her thoughts, obsessions, musings. And in doing this, she invites you to pick through the aftermath in step alongside her, in the same way you might during a long, boozy brunch with your best friend.” (BuzzFeed) Jenna Wortham, technology reporter, The New York Times’s pick.
- NW By Zadie Smith. “Smith’s piercing new novel, her first in seven years, traces the friendship of two women who grew up in a housing project in northwest London, their lives disrupted by fateful choices and the brutal efficiency of chance. The narrative edges forward in fragments, uncovering truths about identity and money and sex with incandescent language that, for all of its formal experimentation, is intimate and searingly direct.” (NYT)
- A Hologram For the King By Dave Eggers. ” In an empty city in Saudi Arabia, a middle-aged American businessman waits day after day to close the deal he hopes will redeem his forlorn life. Eggers, continuing the worldly outlook that informed his recent books “Zeitoun” and “What Is the What,” spins this spare story — a globalized “Death of a Salesman” — into a tightly controlled parable of America’s international standing and a riff on middle-class decline that approaches Beckett in its absurdist despair.” (NYT)
- Swimming Home. By Deborah Levy. “In this spare, disturbing and frequently funny novel, a troubled young woman tests the marriages of two couples.” (NYT)
And here are links to the 2012 top books lists that I checked out. Holllerrr.