Category Archives: Lists

Favorites Friday: The White Hotel

The White HotelThe White Hotel by D.M. Thomas

Surreal and beautiful. A fantastic book that combines prose and poetry in an intoxicating mixture. Set in a resort style hotel we see people going about a wealthy holiday with seemingly no awareness that the world is changing around them. As the book builds and swirls, however, the enormity of the times and realization that something is wrong becomes inescapable. I am forever indebted to the friend who first gave this to me. Reading it was a thoroughly inspiring and enjoyable experience.

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Oh hi, last day of 2011

What am I doing on the last day of the year?

  • Trying to take over the world in Civilization 5
  • Probably killing things in some other video game
  • Considering keeping a recipe binder that was going to a friend for myself
  • Laundry
  • Scavenging through Christmas leftovers
  • Slacking on a knitting project
  • Looking forward to drinks with friends
  • How about you, my unicorn readership?


    Lists: Best Books Read in 2011 – # 1

    Best Books Read in 2011

    1. Room by Emma Donoghue

    Not many authors can write well from a child’s point of view, especially when writing for an adult audience. In Room, Emma Donoghue does precisely that. She conveys a haunting tale with beauty and wonder and terror. I was skeptical when I picked up this book. After putting it down seven months ago, I still think of it regularly. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Original Review

    2. The Christ-Haunted Landscape by Susan Ketchin
    3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
    4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
    5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
    6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
    8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
    10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett


    Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 1

    Worst Books Read in 2011

    1. Tomato Rhapsody: A Novel of Love, Lust, and Forbidden Fruit by Adam Schnell

    Recipe for Worst Book Read in 2011

    Take rhyming dialog and mix with a terrible author. Add in a small, prejudiced town in stereotyped Italy. Throw in a priest who’s been dyed eggplant and many statements regarding his being incredibly well hung, a couple of brainless teenagers, and some sex in a cauldron of tomatoes. Next time you want to be grossed out and cringing at the thought of acid on sensitive body parts, just pick up this book.

    Original Review
    My friend Ala also endured the horror. His review managed to be very funny & still a needed release after slugging through that schlock.

    2. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
    3. Sequence by Adrian Dawson
    4. Leaving Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
    5. The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner
    6. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    7. Stolen World by Jennie Erin Smith
    8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
    9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


    Lists: Best Books Read in 2011 – # 2

    Best Books Read in 2011

    2. The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction by Susan Ketchin

    The Christ-Haunted Landscape takes its name from a quote by Flannery O’Connor: “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” Having grown up in the South, this rang true. Rarely do I spend so much time thinking about a book while reading it or take 5 months to do so. Comprised of interviews with and excerpts from the works of 12 authors, this book reminded me of where I am from. I recommend it to anyone interested in writing or in the interaction between beliefs and reality.

    Original Review

    3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
    4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
    5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
    6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
    8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
    10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett


    Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 2

    Worst Books Read in 2011

    2. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

    This is a teenage girl on zombie love story. It takes place in a neo-Victoria post-apocalyptic society. It includes the phrase “extra sparkly unicorn fart kind of special” and is from a series titled Gone with the Respiration. This is a picture of the author:

    Original Review
    My friend Ala’s brilliantly funny review

    3. Sequence by Adrian Dawson
    4. Leaving Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
    5. The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner
    6. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    7. Stolen World by Jennie Erin Smith
    8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
    9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


    Lists: Best Books Read in 2011 – # 3

    Best Books Read in 2011

    3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

    This reads more like poetry than prose. Simply put, it is beautiful.

    Original Review

    4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
    5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
    6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
    8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
    10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett


    Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 3

    Worst Books Read in 2011

    3. Sequence by Adrian Dawson

    To quote myself, boring and an affront to scientists everywhere.

    Original Review

    4. Leaving Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
    5. The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner
    6. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    7. Stolen World by Jennie Erin Smith
    8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
    9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


    Lists: Best Books Read in 2011 – # 4

    Best Books Read in 2011

    4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

    With wars as complicated as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is natural that many of the books published dwell heavily on the hows, whys, blame, and credit. The Forever War did none of that. Written by Dexter Filkins, a reporter who spent long stretches of time in both countries and was embedded with troops on multiple occasions, it reads more like oral history than your typical history. It is a story about the people living and fighting in those countries. For that, it receives every bit of praise I can give.

    Original Review

    5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
    6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
    8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
    9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
    10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett


    Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 4

    Worst Books Read in 2011

    4. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

    Wonder if Ben Lerner points to his own book when teaching his students what a Mary Sue is?

    Original Review

    5. The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner
    6. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
    7. Stolen World by Jennie Erin Smith
    8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
    9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale