Fave Raves 2009

There were a lot of books to like in 2009. Tops for me are the high school comic chronicles of Ariel Schrag,  graphic novels that absolutely nail the hideousness and elation of adolescence, or what I can remember of it.

I wanted to put them on my best Young Adult novels list but they are not classified as Young Adult novels despite being about Young Adults and being written by a Young Adult but that’s an argument that could go on forever and has done since the term Young Adult was invented.  How many times can I write Young Adult in one blog post? A lot of times.

While we’re on the subject of graphic novels and how they often seem tragically under-appreciated, my heart was gladdened by the appearance of that masterpiece Persepolis in second place on the Times Online list of the 100 best books of the last decade.

In the interest of getting one more Young Adult into this post, The Rehearsal by the scarily young and self-possessed Eleanor Catton was another high point in my reading year. I can’t wait to see what she does next after this wonderfully observant and knowing first novel.

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill,  must be good because it’s a novel about cricket that engaged someone who has spent more hours than any lifetime can spare sitting on the sidelines in a Christchurch easterly watching a two day game grind to a draw. It’s also about family and love and New York and learning to drive. Something for everyone.

My non-fiction rave is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers which turned me into one of those crashing bores who treat friends and family to twenty minute descriptions of what’s been happening in the book they’re reading. I literally could not leave this alone; I kept sneaking back to it and turning the pages with horrified fascination and then complete incredulity. Eggers’ calm, measured recounting of what befell an ordinary working man in New Orleans, trying to do his best for his family and his city in the face of the madness that followed Hurricane Katrina, is perfect.

Haven’t really got any hates because I have dropped my previously Calvinistic attitude to finishing  any book I started no matter how bad. As my life grows ever shorter and the list of books I want to read ever longer I can’t afford to waste time. On the disappointing rather than hate-worthy list for 2009 is Family album by Penelope Lively, probably because I revere her more than most novelists so was expecting great things. I finished it but found it a bit blah, somehow the family shenanigans just weren’t that interesting and the big secret not that surprising.

One thought on “Fave Raves 2009

  1. mj 8 December 2009 / 12:48 pm

    I *devoured* Zeitoun. It was one of those stories that I didn’t want to put down, I wanted to keep turning the page to find out how it happened. Fascinted and horrified all at the same time. It reads like fiction, but then you remember that it is based on true events.

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