BookElf Reads 2009

Finally found the scrap of paper I wrote all this on at 2 o’clock in the morning on New Years Eve (if that is not tooooo much of an oxymoron).Not published this year, just read this year, savvy?

Discovery of the Year

John Irving – The Cider House Rules,
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Why did nobody tell me about The Cider House Rules? The book that kept me awake all summer! Good God that man can write…
Could finally empathise with a mate I once went for a curry with who tried a pit of my peshwari naan and then spent the next 20 minutes frantically ringing various relatives to berate them for never introducing him to the delights of desiccated coconut before.

Series of the Year

CJ Sansom- Shardlake
Just read the other blog entry about it because it’s easier.

Up All Night Award

On the Other Hand- Chris Cleave
Literary Marmite. I loved it, N hated it. All I know is, I was very tired the next day.
Close contender has to be…Best Debut

Wetlands- Charlotte Roche
Compared to previous winners (The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Other Side of You by Maggie O’Farrell-I will have a Maggie O’Farrell rant later because I lurve her to the point of obsession, but if you haven’t read The Other Side of You, the I strongly recommend changing this at the earliest opportunity because it is brilliant), this is never going to win prizes for careful structuring or character development, but it is witty, gritty and dirty as a long slow **** (for those readers of a sensitive disposition, I will not fill in the blanks). I loved it. Also great dinner party gift as you get to read out the dirtiest bits whilst well lubricated (as long as your friends are as filthy minded as mine at any rate!) There has been some controversy surrounding this books as to whether it is a feminist opus or no, now I have my own opinion about this, but I will be writing a rant about feminist writing, or writing within feminism, if that makes sense, which I know N will just LOVE 😉 so shall be discussing this then. I am trying to write proper blogs as opposed to rants, but what can I can, I’m a ranting literary/political hydra! (best compliment I have ever been paid). Anyway.

The I-Know-I-Know-It’s-Brilliant-But Award

Shadow of the Wind-Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Currently lying by my bed. I will finish this book, because it is good and I am enjoying it, it’s just taking me about six months to do so (sorry N, whose copy it is, good job I don’t pay fines ain’t it!)
What makes this even worse is that in my library, this book is incredibly popular amongst the staff, with people bringing it back raving about how good it is. I am recommending it though so at least somebody is finishing it!

Best Recommended Read

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell- Susanna Clarke
Recommended by a very old friend, this strikes the balance between historical fantasy and fantastical history perfectly, and we can only hope the film version doesn’t murder it.

And Finally…

Worst Book of the YearBeautiful People- Wendy Holden
Simply Devine was brilliant! Funny, sassy, smart and just that little bit too clever to be absolute trash, Hodlen has been on my secret dirty pleasures list for years along with Keyes, Cooper and whoever it was that wrote ‘Ralph’s Party’ (turn to page 252, read the paragraph describing the perfect man, times that by a very hormonal post-just-been-duped-into-believeing-that-he-actually-thought-I-was-worth-more-than-a-you-know-what, divide by drunken pledges of self-worth and saving of self for said description of perfect man and you equal why I am single) But this is just dross! Unfunny, unclever, witless, pointless, senseless dross. And a doorstopper of dross none the less. Complete waste of a two-for-seven-quid supermarket treatread. Disappointed.


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