Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Best of 2009: books

This was an embarrassingly light reading year for me. The reasons for my lack of motivation were twofold. First, in the spring I got an Xbox 360, which heavily competed for my free time. Second, I was unable to attend the annual family get together in Hilton Head over the summer, where I normally knock out 4 or 5 books. So, as my reading pile grew (I was still buying books), my time spent reading dwindled.

It should be noted that I rarely reads books the same year they come out. I'm a slow reader and I seem to buy so many that I tend to get behind. Add to that all of the older books that I never got to and those recommended by others, it's hard to keep current. So my list does not reflect a true "Best of 2009", but these are the best that I read this year, in no particular order:

Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S.G. Browne - Once you've read a certain number of zombie books, you find that they become formulaic and tend to run together. One needs a hook to distinguish itself. World War Z had one by matter of factly filtering the zombie apocalypse through an oral history text. Browne does it by crafting a romantic comedy told through the undead's point of view. This was a fun read, though a certain overused literary device got very grating after about the third use. You'll never look at venison the same again. The good: it's being developed into a film. (Yay!) The bad: Diablo Cody's attached to it. (Boo!)

Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition - Exactly what you'd expect from the Onion: hilarious commentary and general ridiculousness. Only this time their comedic tools are maps, stats, facts, figures, and history. Highly recommended if you need a good laugh.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - I can't believe it took the then-highly anticipated feature film adaption to get me to finally read this. And I'm glad I did because you practically have to have a working knowledge of the story in order to follow the movie. But I'm even happier that I gave it a go simply because Moore and Gibbons somehow made a work about costumed vigilantes during the Cold War seem timeless. I don't know how I made it this long being a self-respecting comic book geek without having read it.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown - Another "read it before the movie comes out, yo" book. Better than The Da Vinci Code, Brown created yet another intense page turner. (Short chapters! Abundant cliffhangers!) Sure, some parts were groan-inducing, but overall it was a nice way to spend my time at the beach.

See, I told you that it was a light year. But I'm hoping that I'll be more of a bookworm in 2010.

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