Honestly I found Brave New World to be somewhat overrated. It's an interesting enough depiction of a possible future, but it failed to leave the deep impact on me that 1984 did. I enjoyed some of the ideas set forth in it, but the characters could have been better formed I thought. Also the ending left me with a feeling of ambivalence more than anything.
Brave New World Revisited, on the other hand, was far more compelling to read. Huxley's insights on the changes that happened in the years between writing his novel and beginning to compose Revisited still largely hold true for us today. I was very impressed that he'd already clued in to the fact that people would allow themselves to become increasingly distracted by television considering he published Revisited in 1958, when TV was in its formative years.
So overall I've given this book an 8. Were I to rate each half, BNW would earn a 6/10 and BNWR would earn a 9/10.
This was among my girlfriancee's books, and it caught my eye so I decided to check it out. Early on I decided I hated nearly every person in the book (especially the author), but for some reason I stuck it out. Toby Young is a better writer than a person evidently, as his terrible antics throughout the course of the book held my interest and entertained me as much as they made me roll my eyes and shake my head. He used to write for Vanity Fair magazine, which I've never read, and he does a good job of showing what terrible pretentious nitwits work there. So if his book had any effect on me, I'd say it only reinforced my disinterest toward Vanity Fair and similar magazines.
Anyway, entertaining enough read but definitely not necessary.
After the previous two books I wanted something fictional and fun. I've read one of Carl Hiassen's other books (Tourist Season), and it was hilarious & well-written. So when I saw my girlfriancee had this I chose it...and it delivered what I wanted but also exceeded my expectations.
I loved the characters, loved the story, and can easily see why it earned the Newbery Honor Book Award. It may have been written for young adults, but it's safe to say other adults will enjoy it too. I'd say more, but since I knew nothing about it going in (and the book cover offered no introductions either) I feel like it's unfair to others. Just go read it.
What better way to write a biography on HST than this? Hunter made a name for himself by telling of events with himself at the center of them, so reading about his life from the points-of-view of those who shared in it makes perfect sense. Gonzo is a compelling read, with a mix of humor, insight, wisdom, and facts as witnessed by his friends (even some former ones & including those he worked with) and family (sans his last wife Anita, which is the only piece sadly missing). It's both an exploration and celebration of his life, and I loved every moment of it.
Céline's writing style isn't for everyone, but I dig it. I got into him in a European Lit class in college where we read Guignol's Band, which wound up being one of my favorite novels. North comes nowhere near the excellence of that book, but along the way Céline provides us with many great insights and entertaining moments.
North is a sequel to Guignol's Band, and I feel like at this point Céline wasn't as passionate about the events happening to his characters (the main one being a fictionalized version of himself). Where every page of GB screamed to life, here everything seems tired and worn-out. Which is more or less where the characters are, having been on the move throughout much of World War II, but to have the tone match the action this much often left me feeling bored and indifferent to what was going on. A non-ending didn't help either.
Worth reading if you're really into Céline, but otherwise not necessary.
Entertaining enough, though I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea. My girlfriancee received this book as a gift, so I had to read it & it pretty much delivered what I expected it to. I think I might enjoy it more though if she'd received the audiobook, which has Samuel L. Jackson reading the story (which seems like a PERFECT fit).
First off, I should mention that I'd originally started reading Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment, but due to my erratic reading habits of late abandoned it in favor of something I didn't need to keep a running narrative full of characters I couldn't keep straight in my head. Fortunately one of my best friends sent this to me at the right time.
July writes some very interesting and entertaining tales. I was reminded a little of Amy Hempel, but July has a unique voice of her own which I really dug. Lots of good insights into human nature here, as well as some observations I've had put into wonderful prose.
Still reading this as the year ends, but since I'm a fan of HST I'm enjoying it so far. Like all his "Gonzo Papers" books it's a mixed bag of articles, letters, and other writings Hunter hid away over the years, and as the title suggests it covers the decade I grew up in: the 80s. Further thoughts to come after I've finished it, either here or in my 2012 list.
Final thoughts: Looks like a shabby year for reading for myself, so I'm glad I have the section below to pad my numbers. While I may not have read as many books for me this year as I used to, at least I did a fair amount of reading overall. One thing I've learned this year is that I DO have a threshold for how many times I can read the same book over & over again, and for the most part it's the 4th time I'm asked to read it that it starts annoying me...especially if it's the 4th time in one sitting. :P
I'll be curious to compare 2011 to 2012 to see if the numbers shift back in my favor at all (doubtful).
Read to my daughter
Since I've read all of these to my daughter this year (several times in many cases), I figure they deserve inclusion on this list. Listed more or less chronologically from first to last.
This list will undoubtedly be shorter than previous years would have been, because my reading time has been severely cut into since the arrival of my daughter into the world last year. Prior to that I was a much more voracious reader than I now can be. So here's what I've managed to get read in 2011, with my thoughts included for each.