Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books I Read in 2011

1. Ella Minnow Pea - (1/1) - Mark Dunn 224p
2. A Stranger on the Planet - (1/2) - Adam Schwartz 336p
3. The Imperfectionists: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) - (1/9) - Tom Rachman 304p
4. The Fates Will Find Their Way - (1/15) - Hannah Pittard 256p
5. The Crying of Lot 49 - (1/22) - Thomas Pynhcon 192p
6. The Pearl (Centennial Edition) - (1/29) - John Steinbeck 92p
7. This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel - (2/2) - Jonathan Tropper 352p
8. Unwind - (2/6) - Neal Shusterman 352p
9. The Host: A Novel - (2/20) - Stephenie Meyer 656p
10. Tanglewreck - (2/26) - Jeanette Winterson 414p
11. Flight: A Novel - (2/27) Sherman Alexie 208p
12. Night - (3/2) - Elie Wiesel 120p
13. The Picture of Dorian Gray - (3/13) - Oscar Wilde 178p
14. We Have Always Lived in the Castle - (3/19) - Shirley Jackson 160p
15. Little House in the Big Woods - (3/20) - Laura Ingalls Wilder 256p
16. The Collector - (4/1) - John Fowles 320p
17. The Peach Keeper - (4/3) - Sarah Addison Allen 288p
18. Bossypants - (4/22) - Tina Fey 288p


1. Freedom - Jonathan Franzen 5/5 stars
2. All Clear - Connie Willis 3/5 stars
3. Dracula - Bram Stoker 4/5 stars
4. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race - Jon Stewart et al 4/5 stars
5. The Contortionist's Handbook - Craig Clevenger 5/5 stars
6. The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel - Michael David Lukas 3.5/5 stars
7. The Other Life - Ellen Meister 4/5 stars

A Stranger on the Planet - Adam Schwartz

A Stranger on the Planet - Adam Schwartz
5 stars

(Pub date: Jan 25, 2011)

"We'd be the happiest family in the world if no one remembered anything."

The dust jacket of this book gives really very little to go on, so choosing this book was sort of a shot in the dark for me. But this line "In 1969, twelve-year-old Seth lives with his unstable mother..." made me choose it. I was thinking "Summer of Love". I was thinking Woodstock. I was wrong.

When I first started the book I was pretty convinced I wasn't going to like it. I felt like I was reading a news article with facts just being thrown at me. The next thing I knew, it was midnight and I was 100 pages in.

It's not like this is a thriller. There's not a lot of action. It's a life written in a way that made it engaging and compelling.

Seth's life.

I've always been attracted to Jewish culture, so I think that's one of the appeals of this book. And I do mean the culture, not the religion. Seth is definitely a product of his environment. He's a fantastic character. Interesting, hurt, flawed, funny.

There were a few funny moments in this story. Mostly I found it sad, sweet, beautiful and authentic. I feel like I just read a true account of someone's life. The writing was stellar, those initial concerns immediately went away. The characters were quirky, relatable, interesting, human.

I loved it. I want to give it a big hug.

I know it's only the second day of 2011, but I have a feeling this book will make my top ten list for this year.