S.G. Browne

Fiction Friday: Favorite Reads of 2011

Okay, so I’m a month late. And I’m sure there’s a pregnancy joke in there somewhere but I just can’t find it. Which is probably a good thing.

In any case, below is my list of favorite reads of 2011, with a brief description about the book or why I enjoyed it. To be clear, this is a list of favorite books I read in 2011. Not books that were published in 2011. In no particular order, but all well worth my time:

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Okay, this one’s first for a reason. A beautifully written story about the power of words, told from the point of view of an empathetic Death. One of my favorite books of all time, not just of 2011. A must read for any fan of the written word.

Gator A-Go-Go, Tim Dorsey
They say you never forget your first time, and this was my introduction to Tim Dorsey. A wild, bizarre, slapstick ride through Florida’s spring break scene that includes federal agents, Girls Gone Haywire, and vigilante serial killing. Fun for the whole family!

The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
A literary novel filled with wonderful characters. It’s a story about love and relationships and what people mean to one another. It’s about finding what you need, even if it’s not what you set out to find. A poignant, touching, heart-breaking, funny work of art.

Bite Me: A Love Story, Christopher Moore
The continuing darkly comic love story about a pair of San Francisco vampires that includes an Emperor, turkey bowling, and a giant shaved vampire cat named Chet. The third in the Bloodsucking Fiends series, this is classic laugh-out-loud Christopher Moore.

Little Bee, Chris Cleave
Rich characters, a brutal history, death, humor, politics, and social commentary are all interwoven into an unforgettable story about what happens when people make mistakes and what happens when they try to fix them.


Fiction Friday – The History of Love

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is a poignant, touching, heart-breaking, and funny work of art. There. That’s all you need to know. Now go out and read it. What? You need a little more to convince you? Okay, fine.

“When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, LEO GURSKY IS SURVIVED BY AN APARTMENT FULL OF SHIT.”

So begins The History of Love, a literary novel told in alternating chapters from the POV of octogenarian Leo Gursky, teenager Alma Singer, and, to a lesser extent, Alma’s would-be Messiah younger brother Bird and a tormented writer named Zvi Litvinoff.

The beauty of the novel lies not only in the prose but in the deft manner in which Krauss seamlessly weaves together the story lines of her characters. You feel for them. You root for them. You imagine running into them on the street. And in the end, you’re sad to see them go.

If you’re looking for plot and action and are one of those readers who needs to have something happening by page 50, you’re not going to get that here.  What happens is what transpires as you get to know the characters and you discover what they’ve loved and what they’ve lost and how they go about trying to get it back.

Without giving too much away, The History of Love is about a book within a book. It’s about what that book meant to the people who read it and the person who wrote it.  It’s about love and relationships and what people mean to one another.  And it’s about finding what you need, even if it’s not what you set out to find.

Filed under: Fiction Fridays,Movies and Books — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 9:21 am