Earlier this week at The New Dork Review of Books, a blog that I highly recommend, Greg posted a list of books that he wanted to bring attention to for his readers, but which he read before he began blogging. I thought this was a great idea, so I decided I would do something similar for this week's salon. I often bring attention to some of my favorite literary works through the Literary Blog Hop, so I am not going to mention any of those here. These are books that I haven't discussed on the blog, or have mentioned only in passing:
1. Atonement by Ian McEwan: Obviously this is a widely read book, so I'm not uncovering a "hidden" book here. However, I noticed in last week's Top Ten Tuesday that this was one that many people push aside. I loved this book and treasured every moment of the reading experience although it is a painful story of loss and deception and selfishness and misunderstanding. Many of the characters are so sympathetic that watching them go through hardship is heart-wrenching; I think this is a sign of McEwan's skill.
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson: The first Gibson book I read was Neuromancer, which I liked, but found confusing in parts. Pattern Recognition takes place in the present day, and although the science fiction elements are there, the book is very story driven. It is a prescient book and examines our relationship with technology in a meaningful way.
3. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: Sounds morbid, yes? I was interested in this book because I was interested in Gunther Van Hagen's exhibition of plasticized cadavers, "Body Worlds." I also had a roommate who was in medical school and was dissecting a cadaver of her own. This book is a fascinating exploration of what happens to our bodies after we die, and how science can benefit when we choose to donate ourselves. Mary Roach is a very talented non-fiction writer, whose books are accessible and informative and I highly recommend her for fans of popular science.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith: Ms. Smith is one of my favorite young writers, and this book is a brilliant exploration of what it means to be British in a post-colonial London. Archie Jones family is a fascinating glimpse into this London, where race and class are concepts in question. Smith's writing is quirky and humorous and touching, all in the right proportions.
5. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver: This was probably my first favorite "grown up" novel. I received it as a gift when I was in high school, and I was a bit suspicious of it, but ended up loving it. It is a road trip novel, filled with seriousness and beauty. It is my favorite Kingsolver novel still, although she is a writer that I love and I look forward to her new titles. Her wonderful descriptions of desert life, also renew my love for Tucson and the rest of Arizona, which is my home.
I'm going to leave it at five for today, but perhaps I'll do it again. Do any of these books seem like they might be your taste as well? Have you read them?