Scott is a machine when it comes to consuming media of different types. And I don’t mean mindlessly consuming media like some idiot who watches primetime CBS. He consumes, and critiques. He delves into it … looking through a pair of finely tuned lenses. You all have seen the brilliant stuff he’s written on here about everything from Kanye to China Miéville, and many things in between … why am I saying all of this??? Well, for one, to kiss his ass because I don’t have a non-music list up yet, but the other reason is to comment on my own lack of consumption … especially when it comes to books.
Last year, I read maybe ten books. Maybe more. But not many more. Luckily, because I live with such well read, lovely people, the quality of these books was high to quite high.
So, here they are, my three favorite books I read in 2010 … (apologies for overlap with Scott’s list)
1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
I suppose in some twisted way, it makes sense that a book that is so painfully human is narrated by Death.
Like Scott, I wept and sobbed tears of the bittersweet variety over the last thirty pages or so. The way Zusak employs the theme of duality, both of people and of words, is breathtaking. The book is so filled to the brim with truth. In the end, when I did find myself sobbing at the pages, it wasn’t so much because of tragedy, but because the hope was so overwhelming in the midst of tragedy. Read this book!
2. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
I read four of McCarthy’s works last year: the above mentioned No Country …, The Road, Blood Meridian, and a play called “The Stonemason”. Each word, each paragraph, page, chapter; each book I read, further cemented Mr. McCarthy as one of my favorite authors. To be honest, the choice of No Country was completely arbitrary. Any of his works could be on my list. Scott already spoke of the sparse writing style McCarthy uses in The Road, and it is no different in No Country. Most of us have probably seen the Brothers Coen adaptation on the silver screen. Yes, they are brilliant filmmakers, and it certainly helps when the story you are adapting is so perfectly written. Chigurh’s menacing, stoic demeanor jumps off each page. The tension is perfectly built. McCarthy wrote one of the most terrifying villians in literature in the character of Anton Chigurh.
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
I have already written about this book a bit here. But I want to reiterate a few things.
You know when you read something, watch something, see something that so intensely resonates with your soul that you cannot shake it for weeks, even months? That was this book for me.
It’s a book about searching. A book about learning and understanding yourself. The struggle to be understood by your peers. This is what I got from it, ultimately: we are all very different. We come from different places, backgrounds, experiences. We may never see eye to eye on certain things. We may never resolve differences that may exist between us, but when it comes down to it, we are all people. We are all lonely at one time or another. And maybe it is that longing that will always bring people together despite their differences. Maybe I missed a point that was devoid of hope … but I’ll stick with hope.