Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Aimee Bender

By posted at 3:00 pm on December 8, 2010 4

coverHome, Marilynne Robinson: I loved Gilead, and it is a pleasure and feels like a gift to spend time with this prose.  Reading Robinson, for me, takes a lot of focus, and I find myself rereading lines often, but the reward for this pace is a calmness lifting up off the pages, and a careful generous dipping into a deep and beautiful well.  She is the opposite and maybe even an antidote to fast-paced technology.

Big Machine, Victor LaValle: A wonderfully interesting and resonant read.  Two scenes in this book in particular are still so vivid to me that I could probably tell you about them in detail without glancing at the pages; they are etched on the brain.    

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead and The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins: Two satisfying, inventive, page-turning YA reads.

coverAbout a Mountain, John D’Agata: The momentum he builds, by the end!  The layering, the surprises, the way he does not use the double space break…  somehow this book feels like he’s thinking/dreaming up facts on the spot; they are that available to the prose, that effortlessly flowing along.

Dearest Creature, Amy Gerstler: There’s an amazing poem about a dog’s view on shit that is full of dignity and depth.  But I kept rereading the first poem– it took awhile to move past it, I found it so moving.

The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway: I’d never read this one before– still am thinking about what a simple, deep story he tells.  The story has the classic mythic feel of a long-lasting fable or tale, in how it’s hard to imagine it didn’t exist before– like he plucked it off a tree, or dug it from the ground.  But it’s also a complicated study of regret and disappointment and aging, so even though the plot movement is direct and unfussy, there’s real nuance in what lingers with a reader.

More from a Year in Reading 2010

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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4 Responses to “A Year in Reading: Aimee Bender”

  1. Neil Griffin
    at 4:07 pm on December 8, 2010

    I’m surprised Aimee Bender didn’t bring up Room, since she gave the novel such a great review in NYT. Big Machine definitely seems intriguing. This year in reading feature is filling up my wish list too quickly!

  2. Philip Graham
    at 6:38 pm on December 8, 2010

    Hmmmm, thank you. I’ve been on the verge of checking out LaValle’s Big Machine for a while now, I think you just pushed me over the edge . . .

  3. Edan Lepucki
    at 8:52 pm on December 8, 2010

    Philip, Big Machine is so much fun.

  4. Best Web Comments
    at 2:45 pm on December 11, 2010

    “The story has the classic mythic feel of a long-lasting fable or tale, in how it’s hard to imagine it didn’t exist before” – perfect.

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