April 05, 2004

On Books: March

As I did in March, here are my top picks for recent reads.

My top pick? A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker. Baker has made his reputation as a writer who pays attention to the little stuff. His previous novels have focused on details and while you'd think that might be boring, its not. Oh, and trivia - Monica Lewinsky actually gave Bill Clinton a copy of Baker's novel Vox. Read it and you'll see why. A Box Of Matches is a singularly beautiful novel. Bloggers will appreciate it as well - our narrator wakes early every morning and writes. His observations range from the mundane to the poignant to flat-out absurd. This is truly a remarkable novel.

Honorable mention to Hot Plastic by Peter Craig. What might seem like an ordinary crime thriller really isn't. Its a fantastic story, well worth the $15 to pick up. In addition, Nicolo Ammanti's I'm Not Scared turned out to be an excellent read. Half Saligeresque coming of age novel, part Hitchcock drama, Ammanti weaves a short and utterly disturbing tale.

Dissappointment? You bet. I tried out Elmore Leonard for the second time and was utterly mystified why this guy's so popular. Ending in similar trainwreck fashion was Greg Iles Footprints of God, which went from DaVinci Code wannabe to apocalyptic Dr. Strangelove farse in 500 easy pages. Also a hearty 'meh' to Michael Prescott's In Dark Places. Typical thriller, nothing more.

Posted by Chris at April 5, 2004 08:21 PM

I so glad you said that about Elmore Leonard! I read one of his books and I wanted to poke both my eyes out with soup spoons! I thought it was just me. I feel much better now.

Posted by: Empress at April 5, 2004 08:24 PM

i'm jealous. i don't have any time to read, and it's one of my favorite things to do.

Posted by: tiffanie at April 6, 2004 12:46 AM

i'll check out 'a box of matches'. the boyfriend pointed out who judith light is, since i had no idea, & i can only hope that the "brigade" is ironic.

not ironic enough, though ;]

Posted by: Marie at April 6, 2004 04:48 AM

Thanks for the list. I'll give that Box of Matches a try. I read a lot, and am always looking for a good read.

I'm reading Bill Bryson's, "In a Sunburned Country". It's a travelog about Australia. I normally wouldn't have picked up, but Buzzstuff suggested it. It's very entertaining.

Posted by: cassie-b at April 6, 2004 04:42 PM

I'll definitely check out 'A Box of Matches.' Sounds good.

Right now, I'm reading 'Intepreter of Maladies,' by Jhumpa Lahiri. I hadn't read it before...I bought her first full-length novel which was released last year. I like Interpreter better. I think she has a gift for short stories.

Posted by: Dawn at April 6, 2004 05:35 PM

I agree wholeheartedly about 'Hot Plastic,' a novel I expected to be fairly run-of-the-mill from the jacket copy turned out to be a very complex piece, mostly character-driven.

Posted by: John at April 9, 2004 09:54 PM

You were right to pick out HOT PLASTIC back in March, and I wonder why so few people did. I read it on a plane recently and was really impressed by the writing and depth of the characters. I wonder why no one seemed to say much about it when it came out.

Posted by: April at July 16, 2004 04:56 PM