Thursday, December 10, 2009

Favourite Reads of 2009 Part X. . .

Today we have a great adult list of favourite reads from Valerie Casselman, Senior Collections Specialist in the Adult Materials Collection Development Department at the Toronto Public Library.

Valerie's Favourite Reads:

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
Masterful novel about life among a group of bohemian friends in late Victorian and Edwardian England, where much that is dark lies hidden beneath the talk of social, political and artistic ideals.

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, translated by Michael Hoffman
A claustrophobia-inducing portrait of life in Nazi Germany, told through the story of a couple who attempt a small and ultimately futile act of resistance.

Family Album by Penelope Lively
Another wonderful domestic novel by Lively, this one about a seemingly perfect family with a long-held secret.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Perceptive, witty, and wrenching, the novel is the coming-of-age story of an observant but innocent college student in the mid-west in the immediate aftermath of 9/11

The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
A scholarly and bookish British sailor in the New South Wales of 1788 begins a tentative and tender relationship with a young aboriginal girl.

Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon
Like his novel The Lazarus Project, this collection of stories is a post-modern exploration of literature, identity, and exile.

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
Nothing really to say: more pitch-perfect stories by Munro.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is my favourite Atwood novel so I was eagerly waiting for this one – essentially a retelling of that original story, set in the same bioengineered world, but this time from the perspective of the members of a back-to-the-land cult called God’s Gardeners.

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
A hilarious and oh-so-sharp-tongued satire of modern Britain with a large cast of characters drawn from all ranks of British society: an evil financier, a bookish barrister, an entrepreneur, an MP, a suicide bomber, a Polish footballer, an Eastern European “model”, a literary critic/book reviewers, and a Tube driver.

And finally, anyone involved in the publishing, selling, or buying of books ought to read How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely. The main character decides that to impress his recently engaged ex-girlfriend, he will endeavour to write a bestselling novel. Much hilarity ensues as he draws up his list of Rules for writing his novel. The book features encounters with recognizable types of writers, book tours, creative writing students, and a terrifically funny and deadly accurate parody of the New York Times Bestsellers List.

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