Friday 27 November 2009

Summer holiday fiction list

Now that the teaching year has ended here, I've begun my programme of self-rejuvenation through fiction. So far, my summer holiday reading list includes the following novels:

  • Patrick Süskind, Perfume (1985) [finished: probably the best novel I've read all year]
  • Richard Flanagan, The Unknown Terrorist (2006) [finished]
  • David Lodge, Changing Places (1975) [finished]
  • David Lodge, Small World (1984) [finished]
  • David Lodge, Nice Work (1988)
  • David Lodge, Therapy (1995)
  • David Lodge, Deaf Sentence (2008)
  • Jonathan Littell, The Kindly Ones (2009)
  • David Storey, Radcliffe (1963)
  • William Golding, Rites of Passage (1980)
  • Graham Swift, Last Orders (1996)
And also a couple of memoirs:
  • Gillian Rose, Love's Work (1995)
  • Rachel Weiss, Me, Myself and Prague: An Unreliable Guide to Bohemia (2008)
Regrettably, I haven't read many new novels this year. I definitely hope to read Peter Carey's latest, Parrot and Olivier in America, as well as A. S. Byatt's The Children's Book. Anyone got any other suggestions for good 2009 novels?


Emerson Fast said...

"The Other Side of Darkness" by Melody Carlson. Sort of an earthy, experimental treatment into how OCD/scrupulosity and the outer fringes of the Charismatic movement can mix and produce disaster. Touched close to home for me since I struggle with scrupulosity and was once caught up with hyper-charismatics (to the near-destruction of my family life).

James K.A. Smith said...

Nicholson Baker's "The Anthologist" was fabulous--if you like Baker (which I very much do). Margaret Atwood's "The Year of the Flood" was interesting, perhaps especially for theologians, though Atwood's not my favorite stylist. If you're open to considering a collection of stories, I highly recommend Wells Tower's "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned."

I envy your David Lodge immersion!

Shane said...

What you really need to do this summer is quit reading and start watching television. If you haven't seen it, I cannot recommend "The Wire" highly enough. It is almost certainly the best television program ever made in America.

roger flyer said...

Summer ha ha...It's going to snow this week up top.

Anonymous said...

I just picked up two 2009 novels last night, but I haven't read them yet so I can't give full recommendations. Both look excellent, thought, and I've read another book by one of the author's before. The two books are Jebediah Berry's "The Manual of Detection" and Percival Everett's "I Am Not Sidney Poitier." It's Berry's 'first work, so the other novel I'm referring to is Everett's "Erasure," which is another great work of contemporary fiction. Berry's book has drawn comparisons to stuff like Kafka and Terry Gilliam, but I don't want to set the bar unrealistically high.

I'm looking forward to reading both over my break (two weeks away), and I also picked up McCarthy's "Blood Meridian."


Daniel Imburgia said...

I Agree with Shane, less logocentrism and more TV. I am working thru ‘The Sopranos’ for the first time while Gaddis’s “the Recognitions” accuses me from my book table. I think one of you theologians could analyze the Catholicy Soprano family along with the series ‘Big Love;’ (about a variety of Mormon sects and the scope of church authority, personal revelation and what to so with a 4 hour erection); and the series “Weeds,” (about white, affluent, mooshy atheists, assimilated Jews, and new-age, drugster/dealers in Calif. suburbs), and then develop some insights into American theology, and perhaps write a trenchant and critical analysis of ‘actually practiced Christianity’ in America. Probably should include, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” that I just discovered. It’s a reality show with tobacco tolerant Evangelical bounty hunters with foul-mouths, gynormous breasts, periwinkle body suits and stun guns! They track down sinners, give em a beat down, cuff-em, offer a smoke, and then witness to them about Jesus before turning them in for the reward! Sort of like if post conversion Saul/Paul made his bling by hunting down schismatic’s for Pilate instead of making tents. Obliged.

Ben Myers said...

More TV?? Honestly guys, I'm way ahead of you on that one. I could easily lock myself away and do nothing except watch HBO, you feel me?

If you want another recommendation for theological TV viewing, check out John from Cincinnati (from the makers of Deadwood). Imagine mixing Deadwood, surfing, and the Gospel of John: and you've got John from Cincinnati.

Jason Goroncy said...

Ben. You may find something on this list attractive:

As for me (if not for my house), I'll be re-reading, and more slowly this time, Lewis Grassic Gibbon's classic A Scots Quair.

Joshua said...

City of Thieves is a great quick novel that takes place during the bombardment of St. Pete/Leningrad in WWII.

If you haven't read it yet, Netherland is a great novel set in modern day NYC and London.

Joanna said...

Glad to see you are working your way through David Lodge, Ben! I think he's lost his touch a bit, but the early ones are hilarious and insightful. The game he invents, Humiliation, is a piece of genius! You don't have 'Thinks' on your list, though?
I assume you've read Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis - the prototype for all of Lodge's campus novels and a book that (for all its nasty misogyny) makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.

myleswerntz said...

I'm about halfway done with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and it's wonderful. If you've not found Michael Chabon, you really should.

Unknown said...

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I have never felt the need to comment on your blog before now (even though I read it frequently) but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to possibly get one more person to read this incredible book. Seriously.

philq said...

Jonathan Lethem's new novel Chronic City just came out and it's hillarious, especially if you like Brooklyn hipsters spouting conspiracy theories about how all the meaning of America lies in Marlon Brando's near-role in the Muppet Movie.

Also Ishiguro just published a short story collection. I haven't read it but it sounds pretty great.

michael jensen said...

Yes, I think Lodge was great up till that book Therapy. He then started writing male mid-life crisis novels (as Updike did). I am not quite up to that yet, so I kinda got bored by it. Get over yourself, I said.

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