1) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (audio) . Nerdy
Dominican kid into SciFi tries to fit in, fails, goes to Dominican
Republic to find roots and self. Pretty good, but I wouldn't
necessarily have given it the Pulitzer.
2) The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta (audio). By the guy that
wrote "Election" that they made the movie from. Health teacher in
public school gets new "abstinence-only" curriculum, all hell breaks
loose. Side plot with her butting heads with her kids' soccer coach, a
born again Christian, who leads the kids in prayer before a game
despite parental objection. Not as preachy as it sounds, and the
soccer coach is actually the most sympathetic character. I liked it.
3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (audio). the most popular YA series at
the moment about vampires in Forks, WA. Too many ridiculous premises
to accept, but okay. I didn't hate it.
4) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (audio) Sequel to above. While the
first one was okay despite some silly melodrama, this one was too
over-the-top even for me. I won't be reading any more of these.
5) Boomsday by Christopher Buckley- a generation X blogger posits that
there should be tax incentives for the families of aging Boomers who
will willingly commit suicide. Then a presidential candidate actually
make it part of his platform. Funny, but not as good as some of his
6) Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley (audio). State Department
lady goes to ficticious moderate Middle Eastern country to incite
democracy by starting an Oprah-like women's TV network. Probably the
only humorous post-9/11 novel about the middle east thus far. I liked
7) Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley (audio) - a secret
government agency is actually responsible for all those alien
abductions, mostly to keep the defense budget up. A peon in the agency
gets tired of targeting Iowa farmwives for abduction and instead goes
for a famous Tim Russert-esque TV pundit....twice.
8) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (audio) Lengthy modern
gothic about a youngster who discovers an obscure book and falls in
love with the story. As he tries to find out more about the author and
his other novels, strange things start happening around him, including
warehouses of the authors books being burned and old friends of the
author being silenced. Not my usual kind of book, but I liked it. May
be too long to recommend to most people. though.
9) Bad Monkeys- Matt Ruff - Jane works for a secret organization that
kills evil people, ie. " Bad Monkeys". When she gets arrested for
killing an innocent, she tells an amazing tale of conspiracy and
1) Our dumb World - the Onion - Onion makes a fake world atlas in the
style of the publisher Dorling Kindersley. Very funny and full of all
the intercultural stereotypes you'd expect from the Onion. Tip: Start
with the Europe chapters rather than the Africa and Middle East
chapters, as those get depressing really fast.
2) The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great
Books You'll Never Read by Stuart Kelly (audio) I would not have
finished this if it wasn't on audio. Should have been a scholarly
article rather than a book. Summary: lots of great writers have books
that used to be around and were mentioned by their contemporaries, but
now they're gone and you can't read them. A lot of these are old Greek
playwrights who you probably already knew had more than the 3
surviving plays you had to read in freshman year. Eh.
3) Working Stiff: The Misadventures of an Accidental Sexpert by Grant
Stoddard - virginal Brit comes to NY for a girl, stays to work at
Nerve as a sex columnist/guinea pig for sexual experiences. mostly
4) Revenge of the Donut Boys: True Stories of Lust, Fame, Survival and
Multiple Personality by Mike Sager - Collection of magazine pieces
from Esquire and similar mags. I really liked his earlier collection,
Scary Monsters and Super Freaks, this wasn't as good, but had some