Thursday, December 31, 2009

My favorite reads of 2009

"Books" print by Jessica over at pinestreetmakery. Check out her awesome work!

"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books."
- Kanye West

Oh, 2009. What a year you were. The year that introduced us to "pulling a Kanye" and (one of my very favorite websites). 

This was a year of growth for me - mentally, personally, professionally - though unfortunately not physically, as I still remain just a little over five feet. Happily,  my library grew by leaps and bounds! 

So here, dear readers, is weelittleactress' (drumroll please) Top Ten Books That I Read in 2009 (in no particular order)!

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
 Okay, please don't judge me for not having read this earlier. I've always been a Wuthering Heights kind of gal, so I had always assumed that Jane Eyre wouldn't really be my style. That is, until my friend Lindsey challenged me with the words "Whatever, Charlotte's better." 

SO, I pulled my copy of Jane Eyre (which had never been opened) off of the shelf and decided to give it a try

WOW! Just when I thought that no book could be better than Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre... um... was. Just when I thought that Elizabeth was the strongest of the strong, Mr. Darcy the drooliest of the drool-worthy, Jane kicked Elizabeth in the shin and Mr. Rochester induced a river of droolage. Their complete, gorgeous humanity - their flaws, their honesty, their mistakes - made me fall in love with them. Jane was not only strong and admirable, but relatable. We watch her grow stronger, learn to speak her mind, learn how to get what she really wants from the world. And we watch her do the most difficult thing - walk away from the love of her live - in order to maintain her dignity and her honor. 

Also, I think that the scene where (SPOILER ALERT!) Jane comes back to Mr. Rochester after he has lost his sight is one of the most beautiful scenes ever written - along with the scene where Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a gypsy fortune-teller. A billion bajillion stars!

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
If you are one of the few people in the world who didn't read this book this year, go buy a copy and read it now. It is the definition of "unputdownable,"  the best of the best of young adult literature. The Hunger Games takes place in the future, in a world where every year a child from each district is picked at random to participate in a fight to the death. The children are dropped into what is basically a large wooded pit, where their fight for survival is filmed and watched by the rest of the world. The one survivor remaining at the end of it all wins. Go read it!

  • The Death of the Moth and Other Essays by Virginia Woolf
Of all of her works, I think that The Death of the Moth is my favorite piece by Virginia. The image of the moth, using Virginia's paintbrush, is the best little picture of mortality, of the fight for life, that I've ever seen. 
"He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and, after waiting there a second, flew across to the other. What remained for him but to fly to a third corner and then to a fourth? That was all he could do, in spite of the size of the downs, the width of the sky, the far-off smoke of  houses, and the romantic voice, now and then, of a steamer out at sea. What he could do he did. Watching him, it seemed as if a fibre, very thin but pure, of the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body. As often as he crossed the pane, I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was little or nothing but life."
 We're all moths, fluttering in our little windows, struggling to understand the greatness of the world around us.

  • It's Always Something by Gilda Radner
I have been wanting to write a post about how much I loved this book for awhile. Gilda has been one of my heroes since I was a child. I always admired her bravery onstage - there was nothing that she was too embarrassed to do. I didn't realize what a strong person she was until I read her book which, rather than being an autobiography, is mostly about her long battle with cancer. It was painfully honest, sometimes even painful to read, but that's what was always the most beautiful thing about her - her willingness to share, to expose all of life's funny and tragic facets. 

  •  Columbine by Dave Cullen
Now, I've already written a whole post about how much I loved this book, but I can't emphasize its greatness enough. Back to the honesty thing, Dave Cullen seems to understand that we can't really face a tragedy until we've faced it honestly. He debunks so many of the myths and stigmas that go hand in hand with the word "Columbine," and reveals how dangerous, how powerful the media and word-of-mouth can be. I read the whole thing in one sitting. 

  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Alright, there is something very important that you should know about me. I friggin' LOVE Sarah Dessen. I own all of her books and a signed hardcover first-edition of her newest book. She is one of my favorite authors. And guess what? I hadn't read any of her books until this year. Guess what else? Her books are young adult books. The Truth About Forever was the first of Sarah Dessen's books that I read, and it is still my favorite (even though all of her books are excellent and they all deserve a read - especially Someone Like You). Her imagery is lovely, her themes run deep, and her characters are so beautifully human. I wish so much that I could have had her books when I was a teenager, but they're so wonderful that they teach me and move me even in my twenties. Forever deals with grieving, facing loss, taking risks, letting your heart heal and feel after it has experienced the worst that life can offer.

  • The Song is You by Arthur Phillips
The second that I saw this book on the shelf, I knew that I had to read it and I knew that I would love it. Another one that I read in one sitting. It's a story about music, about love, and about a love that exists because of and exclusively through music. The two main characters use music to communicate and to speak, revealing their hearts nakedly to each other before they're even able to have a conversation. I was surprised when I didn't see the copies flying off of the shelves at the bookstore. Pick it up - you won't regret it! 

  • The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
I expected to hate this book, to tell you the truth. I read it reluctantly as it was chosen for the book club that I was a member of. For some reason, this book carries some kind of repellant stigma. I, however, was completely absorbed. The characters were complex, the story compelling. I expected to find fluff but this book has a gutsy heart. 

  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Of all the great books that I have read this year, this is definitely the greatest and has become one of my favorite books of all time. The dialogue in this book is art, pure and simple, as are the characters. It seems, from the outside, to be a book exposing the realities of suburban disenchantment in the 1950's. While this is definitely true, there is so much more to this book. The opening scene in the theatre is worth the price of the book alone. 

  • Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir by Bigfoot (and Graham Roumieu)
Never thought you would see Richard Yates, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, and Bigfoot in the same book list, did you? What can I say? I like funny things - and this book is definitely, definitely a funny thing. Bigfoot's autobiography (with an introduction written by the Lochness monster) is handwritten and illustrated by Bigfoot himself. Go along for the ride as Bigfoot rises to magnificent heights and then learns that fame is a fickle, fickle friend indeed. 

Here is a particularly touching selection:
"I am not Chewbacca. Me think Chewbacca jerk. He no can act. He ride Bigfoot coat tails. he think he cool, but he not. He phoney loser with no class. He all messed up on crack me think. People think me Chewbacca sometimes. No! Me have job. Bad wookie. Bad." 
And there are no words more appropriate to ring in 2010.
Here's to a whole new, book-filled year!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails