mai wen's Book List of 2006:

Alright, so in a totally unoriginal fashion, I'll be listing some of my favorite books I've read in 2006 (they weren't necessarily published in 2006, but just books I'd read in 2006). I'll throw out a disclaimer that I only started listing books that I read since I started the blog, so I don't really remember all of the books I read at the beginning of the year (gosh, that seems Forever ago!) so the picks might be heavily taken from the end of the year.

  1. Without any doubt Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison was my absolute favorite book I read this year, and one of my faves of all time. It'd been a while since I'd devoured a book like I devoured this one. It kept me up at night and I literally stayed up until 3am to finish the book. Song of Solomon is clearly a masterpiece, and the fact that Morrison has other books out that are deemed masterpieces over Song of Solomon makes me eager to read more of her novels.
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a masterpiece as well, a novel that spans across generations of one family and moves you through the mystical and the real, mixing the two so carefully that it is nearly impossible for you to separate the two by the end of the novel. The novel tears at you and is as intelligent as they come. It was a journey reading it and one that I couldn't shake from my bones for days afterwards.
  3. The Known World by Edward P. Jones is also (to be completely cliche) a masterpiece. Another book that mixes the mystical with the real and spans through a time in our history that was as muddied and mixed up as ever. A time when African Americans owned slaves and plantations. A time of transition and ugliness, but also of beauty, hope and strength. The novel is an epic novel that moves you seamlessly through the different lives and experience of its characters and brings you to all the tragic and heroic endings that the book can bear.
  4. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon is an excellent graphic novel the begins a discussing on the war in Iraq. Overtly political, well written and beautifully drawn, I was disappointed when it was over. Even though there was no possible way for a sequel, I deeply wished for one and was sad by the end.
  5. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel is another graphic novel! Man, I've really broken into new territory this year! Granted, I've read and adored Maus I and II by Art Spieglman, but that was the extent to my graphic novel experience. Thanks to the literary acclaim of Fun Home that buzzed the book in my ear and a good friend who's really into comics, I was able to be more exposed to this great art form. In this graphic novel, Bechdel was daring and stunning. While I had some issues with the book, mostly it involved a wish that the characters outside of Bechdel and her father to be more fully developed, and that was because I loved the novel and the story so much, I just wanted more!
I told myself I'd limit myself to my top five of this year (not counting the first half of this year, which unfortunately I have no memory of what the hell I read), so there it is. I hope it gave you some good Christmas books to ask for!

What were your favorite books you read this year?


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

A favorite book is "The World at Night" by Alan Furst. It's in the genre of "historical espionage."

Set in Paris as France falls to the Germans, it follows the adventures of a guy, just some regular schmoe, who gets caught in a web of intrigue and duplicity. He gets way in over his head and falls in love for good measure. It's a terrific read. Highly recommended.

mai wen said...

I've actually heard of this book before and I think it sounds really interesting and from what I've read has been really well reviewed. I'm definitely a sucker for any WWII books (everyone seems to have their "favorite" war, don't they?) and am going to have to check this one out.

Thanks so much for the suggestion!

mai wen said...

P.S. Just curious, what does "Writer, sort of" mean? I think I might be a "Writer, sort of" too...


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

My full-time job is as a writer in the realm of corporate communications, which I don't consider "real" writing. It's just tripe: brochures, direct mail, speeches, Web content, signage, tent cards, posters, bylined articles, case studies, advertising, presentations, video scripts, white papers, etc. That sort of stuff. I've been able to make a living at it for a while now, so it pays the bills.

Some day, I may get around to doing some "real" writing: a screenplay or novel would be fun to try, but probably just as a diversion or hobby.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Have you read "Suite Francaise"?

It looks compelling.

mai wen said...

Ah, I thought you were a struggling writer like myself who has yet to be published. That's why I'm a "Writer, sort of." :)

I have Not read "Suite Francaise" but really want to, I think it sounds like a very unique novel and there's my WWII again! Just the story of the novel's conception is intriguing and compelling all in itself, I'm really eager to read the book.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Yeah, it looks really powerful.

I'm going to go out and buy it this weekend.

Have a great weekend!

Mas said...

'Suite Francaise' is a wonderful, wonderful book, mai wen and JPPB. Impossible to read without holding in mind what happened to Nemirovsky and mourning her loss.

Can you imagine the books that will come out of this Iraq mess?

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Thanks, Mai Wen and Mas, for the heads-up on "Suite Francaise."

I went out and bought it on Sunday. The bookstore clerk told me she "really" wants to read it, too.

Books out of this Iraq mess? Yikes. It's mind-boggling to contemplate.

mai wen said...

Thanks Mas, I definitely want to go out and purchase this book! Unfortunately I have to wait until next year when my self-allotted monthly book allowance is reinstated (I burnt it up for this year Way before December even hit), but please let me know what you think JPPB!

Have you read "Pride of Baghdad" yet, Mas? It's a graphic novel on the situation in Iraq and is wonderful, raises many complex questions about "liberating" Iraq. It's definitely more political than personal experience based, but is very moving and very profound.

Mas said...

I hadn't even heard of 'Pride of Baghdad', mai wen. I've just reserved it from one of my libraries, but they're ordering it in from Ameriky so I won't be reading it any time soon.

I've never gotten into graphic novels, although I had lovely experiences in childhood with the Tintin series, so you're broadening my horizons here: always a good thing.

mai wen said...

Let me know what you think of it, Mas!


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