Yay! ‘Tis the first day of December, so you know what that means: The obsessive countdown to the end of the year is on, baby!
So this month, instead of enjoying the last days of the year, I’ll be analyzing the ones that have already passed with the religious fervor of the Best Week Ever crew on speed.
In other words, I’ll spend most of December being a typical American.
First up, my top ten books of the year.
Just so you know, this list isn’t compiled from books that were actually released this year – just the books I read this year.
Yes, I know I’m a tad self-involved.
No, that’s not going to keep me from posting this list anyway.
Yes, I'm going to keep this yes-no bit going.
No, I’m not proud of myself.
Yes, I am starting to feel a bit like Seth MacFarlane.
So in particular order:
1. Colors Insulting to Nature by playwright Cintra Wilson. It’s funny because it’s really cynical – and true. It somehow made me feel both better and worse about being a wannabe. If you’re in any way associated with the Biz, you must read this yesterday.
2. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Listening to this book made me remember everything I like about myself and the world – which is pretty hard, since I’m cynical.
3. Big Love by Sarah Dunn. Every recovering female Jesus freak in America needs to read this yesterday.
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Somehow these British, boarding school clones revealed more about human relations, than most books I’ve read about actual humans this year. So pissed that the Island’s (probably deserved) dismal box office will keep this book from becoming a movie anytime soon.
5. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I suspected that rogue economist, Levitt, chose his co-writer because they kind of have the same first name, but this little book turned out to be hugely intriguing. Plus, knowing about the depressed economics of most gang members is the only thing keeping me off the streets.
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Once I got past the fact that the author is a dead ringer for my friend Kyle Wilson (see the freaky resemblance below), I totally loved this doggie murder-mystery told from the view point of an autistic narrator.
Which is which?
7. The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler/The Traveller by John Twelve Hawks. In a world where economics drive authors to put out a book a year, often with total disregard for quality, Octavia Butler continues to be one of the best sci-fi writers of her generation. And she’s always worth the wait. The Traveller isn’t nearly as well written -- Think Michael Crichton on a bland, even more ham-handed day – but this debut science fiction manages to feel like a very real take on modern times. It made me want “go off the grid” and move to the desert.
8. The New Rules by Bill Maher. Bill Maher is obviously a really obnoxious asshole with really good politics. If I met him on the street I’d probably despise him. But this book is like weirdly fucking funny and it makes me really fucking love him.
9. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: This book completely traumatized me. I still can’t really put the experience of reading it into words. Tim Burton holds the movie rights, but I don’t think even he will ever be able to get this made.
10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini/Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Two books that actually deserve all the hype they’ve gotten.