Dec. 31st, 2010

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I thought I could somehow get caught up enough to do a year-end wrap up on time, but alas. A few more posts to come! Sorry if I end up spamming you with many book and movie posts this weekend!

Freedom -Jonathan Franzen
I loved this! A big, sprawling, amazing family saga. Deserving of all the praise it's been getting, for sure.

God of Carnage -Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton
I had heard this play was amazing, and I'd still like to see it on stage sometime, but on the page, it didn't do it for me. The characters are all mean and unpleasant and just yell at each other a lot. Oy.

Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America -Barbara Ehrenreich
Considering I threw "The Secret" across the room when I read it, this book is right up my alley. She explores the history and the dark side of the positive thinking movement, and has chapters on everything from cancer treatment to the recent economic crisis. Really well-researched and reasoned, eminently sensible and clear-headed. I loved it!

The Year of the Flood -Margaret Atwood
I probably should have re-read Oryx and Crake before reading this--I didn't realize they were both in the same universe, and I'd forgotten most of O&C. Regardless, this was awesome! Margaret Atwood gives good dystopia. Super compelling and weird, dark, funny, all around great.
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Half-Empty -David Rakoff
Rakoff is my favourite melancholy essayist. I also love his appearances on This American Life. These personal essays are darkly funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and always wonderfully written. The essay on "Rent" alone had me laughing my head off and reading it out loud to people. The essay on his cancer diagnosis and treatment is powerful and raw.

So Much For That -Lionel Shriver
Well, I can't say that I 'enjoyed' this book, because man, was it depressing. It was really interesting and well-written, though, so worth a read if you're not too sad already! The protagonist has been planning all his life to retire to a small island nation, where his nest egg would let him live like a king. The night he's about to leave, his wife reveals that she has terminal cancer, and will need his money for treatment, as his work insurance has recently been slashed. It's a pretty damning statement on the American health care system, that's for sure!

Mary Ann In Autumn -Armistead Maupin
Yay, new Tales of the City book! Unlike the last one, which wasn't great, this book was a pretty great return to the old school TotC style. Funny, sad, weird, awesome.

The Hunger Games -Suzanne Collins
I finally succumbed to the (imagined) pressure, and read the first book in the popular series. And......I liked it! I don't want to overuse the word 'compelling', but that's how I'd describe it--once I started, I didn't want to put it down!


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