Monday, February 16, 2009

15 Bucks or Less

The economy...enough said. So I thought I would start out with the top ten paperback fiction books that I read from February '08 to February right now. (I will give a small disclaimer on the $15.00 part of this. Most of these books will cost a little more then that with the addition of tax.) There is no particular order here & no real order that you need to read them in. They are a fairly eclectic collection but if you are looking for a great read, read on:

1) Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell ($14.95): I was very close to putting Ghostwritten on here as well. It is rare for me to read two books by the same author in a row but Cloud Atlas was so amazing that I immediately read Ghostwritten. But to make things easier I say start with this.

2) Zazie in the Metro - Raymond Queneau ($14.95): I read this book on my way to Chicago last October & it was the most enjoyable flight I have ever had (though people do look at you a little strange when you laugh out loud on an airplane). This book is funny & brilliant & unique. It is also one of my Staff Favorites.

3) Book of the Unknown - Jonathan Keats ($13.00): Local author Jonathan Keats' first book is an incredible reinvention of Jewish folklore. These tales have already had me rereading them multiple times & the book was just released.

4) Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson ($14.00): This is just a beautifully written book. I was on a three hour bus ride to Santa Rosa & arrived all too soon. This was also Green Apple's best selling paperback fiction book last year. If you haven't read this book yet you must do so.

5) Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson ($14.00): When George Albon told me, "this books kicks your ass," he wasn't kidding. This is now one of my favorite books I have ever read. It is a haunting, small miracle of a book. It is the kind of book that you wish went on forever.

6) Motel Life - Willy Vlautin ($4.98): This book is a real & visceral novel. Willy's voice is one of a kind & makes Reno, NV come to life. This is a fun, gritty novel.

7) Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer ($10.00): I feel like most everyone has read this book already but I just read it for the first time last year. & it was awesome. So if you haven't read it do so & if you have you should still buy this edition that Harper Collins recently put out for only ten bucks.

8) The Bathroom - Jean-Philippe Toussaint ($12.95): This is a fascinating novel. It is written in short chapters that play out like mini scenes in a movie. I started reading it & could not stop. It's a quick read so if you feel like you don't have much time to read these days, this is a great book for you.

9) The End of Vandalism - Tom Drury ($5.98): This has been a long time Staff Favorite & now we have it on remainder for only $5.98! Tom Drury has now become my favorite living American author, everything I have read by him is effortless & beautiful.

10) The Way Through Doors - Jesse Ball ($13.95): To be honest I am only halfway through with this book. I am really enjoying it & loved Jesse Ball's last book Samedi the Deafness. This book is a strange & wonderful story that winds back & forth through the mind. So even though I haven't finished & am pretty certain that it is one of the top ten books that I read in the past year.

Looking at this stack of books in front of me I am pretty happy that I got to read so many great books. There are of course others but those can wait for another time.

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