Best Books Read in 2011
2. The Christ-Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction by Susan Ketchin
The Christ-Haunted Landscape takes its name from a quote by Flannery O’Connor: “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” Having grown up in the South, this rang true. Rarely do I spend so much time thinking about a book while reading it or take 5 months to do so. Comprised of interviews with and excerpts from the works of 12 authors, this book reminded me of where I am from. I recommend it to anyone interested in writing or in the interaction between beliefs and reality.
3. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
4. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Armchair / Shotgun No 2 by Marvin Shackelford
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
“The Kill Sign” by Marvin Shackelford is excellent in a way that is somewhat uncomfortable to read. It’s gritty, which is overused as a descriptor, but I am going to leave it here. It has that dark sort of griminess the South and any other rural, neglected area filled with neglected people has. The kind where you see it or read about it and it strikes you as reality on some deep level, but you don’t want to feel like you’re a part of it. The kind of place where incredible beauty or incredible ugliness can erupt from nowhere. The uncomfortable comes from realizing how like this sort of desperate broken person we all are on some level. Kind of a reminder of something largely forgotten which is also uncomfortable to admit. This and his other stories remind me of what the South is really like outside of the cities.
Disclaimer: Marvin Shackelford has been one of my closest friends for nigh 15 years. I don’t give the rating or review for that reason, but seemed like something I should mention.
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The Emo Bunny That Should: A Story For Demented Children by John H. Carroll
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
Does not in any way live up to its title. This is sad. I want to go lie in a dark corner and think about how sad it is. Not really.
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