Books in Review 2012

Credit: penguin.ca

Credit: penguin.ca

Favourite book I read in 2012: No stand out winner, so I’ll list a few. I really enjoyed The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, so much so that I ended up rereading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. I also enjoyed The Birth House by Ami McKay and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. These all seem quite domestic…

Most challenging (or unrewarding): I eagerly await new work from Ian McEwan, but I was disappointed with his previous Solar in 2010. This year’s Sweet Tooth felt lengthy and slow and painfully detailed and I couldn’t much care for the protagonist. I was also sorely disappointed to find the ending (or trick ending) to be extremely similar to Atonement. I was pleased that I recognized McEwan’s own old erotic short story as that of the writer in the novel!

Most anticipated: Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje and Dear Life by Alice Munro.

Most depressing: Everyone Has Everything by Katrina Onstad. I really enjoyed this, but it was a little too “close to home”.

Most disappointing: 419 by Will Ferguson. The front runner and eventual winner of the Giller Prize. The sections of the book set in Calgary felt amateurish. I didn’t believe the dialogue and I had little sympathy for the protagonist or anyone in her family. Though I can’t speak too much to the suspense/mystery/crime thriller genre, it was enjoyable in the way I might watch Law and Order reruns.

I’ll also add Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis as one of my least favourite books OF ALL TIME. It mostly suffered from high expectations with so much hype and everyone I know loving it. I know I’m the odd one out on this.

Quickest read: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony. I “read”– or viewed – this young adult picture book very quickly even though there is a lot to consider visually. I haven’t looked at the app for this, but this book perfectly suits interaction.

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