Best Books Read in 2011
7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
I neglected Raymond Chandler for far too long. The Long Goodbye hit that home with a vengeance. What a beautiful, heartbreaking book. I love Los Angeles, but the setting was mere backdrop to the complex, dark, and brilliant story which unfolded. It is rare that I immediately put a book on my favorites list, but this deserved it.
8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Worst Books Read in 2011
10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
I first encountered The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher in a review a few years ago and loved the idea. Unfortunately, came nowhere near living up to its potential. While the underlying story was fascinating, its telling was dull, had polemic tendencies, and overall fell far short of the English fiction it is said to have inspired.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I began reading The Maltese Falcon with every expectation that I would enjoy it. I have heard so many comparisons of Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler that anything else seemed impossible. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Try as hard as I can, I cannot see where the brilliance supposedly lies. All of the ingredients are there: beautiful, lying and tragic woman; hard-boiled detective; copious amounts of booze and coffee; evil men slapping the beautiful women in the face. (Seriously, what is up with all the slapping in noir?) Somehow, despite everything, it came off less compelling than a third-rate Alistair MacLean. What’s up with that?
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