Books I Read This Month - November 2011

I made it to my 100-books-in-a-year goal one month early! Here are the books I read this month.

All the Rage – F. Paul Wilson
Next book in the Repairman Jack series. Um. Yeah.

Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
An asexual female bookworm falls in love with an older married woman. Told from the perspective of the girl’s male best friend (who happens to be in love with her), this is a great book. I could really relate to the narrator character, and I found the other characters to be very well developed. Another good book by the great Haruki Murakami.

Making History – Stephen Fry
Here is Stephen Fry, English genius, being quite English and quite genius. This science fiction novel is about a history scholar who discovers a clever way to make sure Hitler was never born. It’s funny in parts, moving in others, and well-written throughout. I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy science and history (of course) and to people who are passionate about, or at least interested in, human rights (religion, sexual orientation). This is an intriguing read, and an interesting and creative topic.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman
I’ve seen the movie numerous times and loved it, of course. I only just this year discovered that it was a book first. And what a wonderful book it is! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. And/or see the movie. It truly has something for everyone: fantasy, adventure, comedy, and romance, all rolled into one.

Mr. Peanut – Adam Ross
Interesting and disturbing picture of marriage. I thought it was really good, but sometimes the characters did not seem very realistic. I’d recommend it if you like dark humor. Or just dark.

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

This is my 100th book of the year! And it was a good one too. Over 900 pages long, this semi-autobiographical novel, I believe, qualifies as an epic. The author was born and raised in Australia, but became a drug addict and armed robber in his young adult life, ending up in prison. He escaped prison and traveled the world, settling down in Bombay, India. There and then is where and when this book takes place, from the moment he stepped off the plane in Bombay, to… well, for about two or three, maybe four years. Sometime after that, which is after this book ends, he was arrested in Bombay and served out the rest of his sentence. Afterwards, he returned to Bombay, opening up a free medical clinic for the slums, and is now a full time writer. There were so many parts of his life that he could have written about (being a drug addict and thief, being in prison, living in Bombay after his release from prison) but he chose to write about his time in Bombay while a fugitive. There are very few flashbacks; he remains mostly in the present (well, past, since it already happened to him) and, told in first person, we are in his head, looking at Bombay through his eyes, the entire time. And I loved it! His descriptions are beautiful! His word choice is perfect. And he’s got all the emotions right there on the page. I cried at least twice. You read it, and you’ll know where. He wrote this book while he was serving his full sentence after he was caught, and you can just sense the blood, sweat, and tears that literally went into every page. I highly recommend this book. Even though it is long, it is worth the read! The message is beautiful and perfect.

Moab is my Washpot – Stephen Fry
This is Stephen Fry’s memoir of his youth. A rowdy kid, a genius, and a pathological liar, this is a great coming-of-age gay story that pretty much any would enjoy. It’s funny is places and sad in others, but it’s a great read throughout.

Dance, Dance, Dance – Haruki Murakami
Quite weird. A writer’s girlfriend of sorts goes missing, and he ends up babysitting sort of for this psychic thirteen year old girl. There are prostitutes involved. It’s an interesting book, but weird. Haruki Murakami is pretty weird, I guess.

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
Also weird, but pretty good. It’s about a college-age boy discovering women. I suppose that’s the best way to put it. Most of Haruki Maurakami’s books involve people of this age, in situations much like the one in this book. But each one his books is unique in its own way. He’s a great writer. But weird.

Othello – William Shakespeare
This was the blog book club book for the month of November. Here is my post about it.

The Marriage Plot – Jeffery Eugenides
What a great book. A realistic and intricate picture of bipolar disorder, as well as what it’s like to be in love at that turning point in life, early twenty-something, just out of college. Beautiful writing.