Well, I haven’t read through everyone’s list, but Mary P put me to shame, that’s for sure. I thought I did pretty well, but she rocked it!
Anyway, here is my list:
Cujo, Stephen King: I had the urge to re-read this book — don’t ask me why. It is a fascinating look at how a series of coincidences can add up in a very bad way for someone. It takes place in the days before cell phones, which may make you think twice about leaving home without one.
Eldest, Christopher Paolini: This is the second in the Inheritance Trilology. If you don’t know the story, the author was young when he started writing (15, I think), and 17 when the first, Eragon, was published. He’s 22 now, working on number three. I like the books fine, but you can tell they were written by someone young who is steeped in the Lord-of-the-Rings types of fantasy. Which in itself is not a bad thing, it’s just something I was conscious of while reading the book. Plus, he had an in, as his parents work in publishing.
Cell, Stephen King: Another re-read, a fantastic story. He manages to make the “walking undead” plot fresh again. Mostly because they are really not dead. The characters are compelling. And, in direct contrast to Cujo, you will never want to answer your cell phone again.
A Simple Plan, Scott Smith: You know, this book was okay. It’s pretty horrifying to watch a character slide down the slope that the protagonist does. I think it should have ended differently (I thought it did end differently, until I got to the end, obviously). But overall, meh. Go read his The Ruins instead. You’ll never look at pretty plants the same way!
Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill: Great ghost story by the eldest son of Stephen King. Compulsively readable. I think he blinked at the end (i.e. it was not the dark ending I was expecting). Definitely one I will read again — oh, and possibly buy if I find it used.
The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold: Wow. I had heard lots about this book, rave reviews from critics to fans, and I was just blown away. Heartbreaking in many ways, but ultimately hopeful and uplifting. Truly beautiful writing, a unique story, and characters with whom you become involved.
The Echo Maker, Richard Powers: I bogged down in this book. It’s quite complicated, a bit slow going, and a couple of the main characters are difficult to like. I perserved because of the mystery (which paid off) and because it was a book that my husband got for Christmas, and he would have made fun of me for not finishing it. Mary P, you should read it, because one of the characters is obviously a dig at Oliver Sacks (an author I also love).
Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo: A horrifying novel about the devastating effect of war on one man. Written in 1939, and referring to a soldier from WWI. Still relevant today.
The Collector, John Fowles: Another throwback novel, first published in 1963. Creepy and weirdly prescient. The most fascinating aspect of it was the language, which is implicit and subtle, especially compared to novels with similiar themes today, which are so explicit and graphic in nature. The Collector is a good book and a study of language from another age.
I really wanted to read a Kurt Vonnegut book in honor of his passing on April 11, 2007. He is one of my all-time favorite writers. We have Slaughter House Five, which I recently re-read (and what’s up with him not being on that list??), but nothing else! I am ashamed my collection is so lacking, and must rectify the situation soon.
I did manage to start Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White on Monday, and I finished it this morning. I realize I need to own this book, as a vegetarian raising vegetarians.
And, finally, I checked The Time Traveler’s Wife out of the library (most of these books came from the library, of course), and I can’t wait to really dig into it.