Friday, January 13, 2012

Books for a New Year

It’s a new year and as good of a time as ever to breathe some life into this Battered Women blog. Let’s get literary.

I compiled a list of ten books I want to read this year. They aren’t all recent, nor are they all about food. Many of them are waiting on my shelf right now, becoming fully exasperated with my endless blogging.

Books I Want to Read in 2012

1. Welcome to Higby by Mark Dunn – I started this one on the train today. The story centers on a small town of eccentrics and religious fanatics. Mark Dunn writes really fantastic dialogue – a man preaching the gospel to a cat and a woman taking budgeting advice from her sassy, black guardian angel.

2. The Master and Margarita by Mikail Bulgakov – From what I gather, Satan ambles into Moscow like he owns the place, the relationship between Soviet society and artists is explored, and an enormous talking cat imbues a great deal of vodka. There’s also a story within a story about Jesus.

3. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – A girl goes through life tasting the emotions of other’s through the food they cook. Liza enjoyed this book immensely and now it’s gracing the shelf of borrowed books in my enormous bookcase. (You might remember a previous post long, long ago about The Girl with the Flammable Skirt.)

4. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – I loved the observant and precocious child narrators in St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Swamplandia! appears to expand on one of my favorite short stories from the collection, “Ava Wrestles the Alligator.”

5. Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link –.One might mistake this for a Nancy Drew mystery based on the cover art. It’s a short story collection drawing from fairy tales, Greek mythology, and famous acts of cannibalism.

6. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – Marco Polo tells stories about cities he has seen while traveling to Kublai Khan as his empire crumbles. Sounds magical.

7. Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski – Two starry-eyed teenagers embark on a metaphoric road trip through history. I need to tackle this now because Danielewski’s 27 volume project about cats will probably take a great deal of time to read.

8. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This historical account of wizardry in England during the Napoleonic Wars told in witty British prose and footnotes was recommended to me by a friend. Totaling in at one thousand and twenty-four pages, it will likely take three months of the year on its own. It still pales in comparison to Danielewski’s cat saga.

9. Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting - From what I’ve read, it’s a collection of stories about women who hold unglamorous, unlikely jobs. The cover of this book features a woman holding a fish and reminds me a lot of Leonor Fini's painting "Le Bout Du Monde."

10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – Not having read Lolita feels kind of like not having seen Planet of the Apes. Not that the two have anything to do with each other but for the fact that I also haven’t seen Planet of the Apes.

What are you excited to read this year?

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