35. Foundation - Isaac Asimov (282 Pages) B- (September 1-13)
From here the book lost me. Asimov uses a series of improbably "coincidences" that show this group of scientists predict almost to the day when conflicts would arise that would put their community at risk and he always had a way for them to thrive because of the threat. All in all, the book had great promise, but it did not leave me open to reading the next chapter in the series since this one book became redundant quickly that I couldn't imagine he had much else to say. But with all of these faults, this book did lead itself to one of the better book club discussions of the year.
36. The Shining - Stephen King (658 Pages) B (September 14- September 25)
The final page had a very poignant paragraph about grief that I look hope to remember whenever I am in a situation where I am grieving for someone and I will recommend it to anyone. It could help put things into perspective.
37. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King (531 Pages) B (September 26-October 9)
The book is very well written including the trials and tribulations one goes through as an alcoholic and going through the 12 steps. As always, King excels at writing children and the character of Abra is one of the best he's ever written. Her relationship with her parents as well as Danny is just perfect and I loved almost everything about her (except for the forced reveal about her heritage).
I almost wish this wasn't a sequel to a popular classic because a) King doesn't need the money and b) the parts that he tried to "sequelize" feel forced. Most especially with the location of the climactic finale as well as a cheesy reveal near the end. And my biggest criticism lies in the villain(s) in this book. A story really is only as good as its villains and these villains are simply not very scary or threatening. Maybe I expect better from the self-proclaimed "Master Storyteller", but the True Knot felt like they could be defeated by almost anyone and that shouldn't be the case.
This book still gets a positive recommendation for the simple fact that while reading it I was so into the book one day that I actually missed 2 subway stops on my way home and had to backtrack from near the end of the F Line. If a book can draw you in to the point that you don't only miss your stop by another one after that, I must have enjoyed it.
38. What the Family Needed - Steven Amsterdam (272 Pages) D+ (October 10-October 15)
This was the problem I had with the book. I'm pretty sure all of the "powers" these family members had were actually metaphors for how they were able to deal with their situations around them and not actual "super powers", but it was such a lazy premise and wasn't written in a satisfying way that I wanted to just stop reading the book. In the end I finished it, but could never really get into the voice of the characters.
39. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith (493 Pages) A- (October 16- October 29)
40. Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino (165 pages) C (October 30- November 1)
This is a little too artistic for me. Although I appreciate books being well written, I prefer them to have an entertaining story that makes me think. How will the character get out of this situation? Books about relationships to people that I can relate to myself.
One funny story about this is when I checked it out from the library the guy behind the counter told me it's his "favorite book". So if you ever want to talk to the hipster librarian dude on 23rd and 7th, just bring up this book and he may have more insightful things to say than yours truly.
41. Falling Man - Don Delilo (265 Pages) C (November 5- November 6)
I tried this one because I have interest in 9/11 due to being a New Yorker and actually being in Tower 1 when the first plane hit so these stories do interest me. But the fallout that these people went through just didn't resonate with me. I can understand how a traumatic situation can have personal repercussions, but this book just didn't do it for me.
42. Drive - James Sallis (176 Pages) D (November 7-November 11)
43. John Dies at the End - David Wong (466 Pages) D+ (November 12- November 24)
The imagination behind the story is great, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. From my research after reading the book, it seems the author used to write for Cracked.com and I guess that makes sense. The humor is there but it reads like a first book with little to no future for the author. I could never fully get into the book and found myself feeling forced to finish it.
44. I Wear the Black Hat - Chuck Klosterman (200 Pages) B+ (November 25-November 27)
I also feel like since we are similar in age, we have many of the same view points. He had a chapter about how when he was younger he adamantly hated certain celebrities and rock bands, but now that he is older he just doesn't have the energy anymore to hate (a point of view that I've noticed about myself lately). He writes how he used to actively HATE the band The Eagles. But now that he's older, he realizes they are just a group of people that figured out how to make a living playing music. As consumers, we really shouldn't hate or love any of these people, but we all put these celebrities in these categories of "we like them or hate them" without ever knowing them.
Klosterman writes intelligently about these media villains and he didn't use too many of his writing "tricks" that get on my nerves of talking about things that are "Important" or how they "Matter" too much. He often falls back on these lazy categories without really ever explaining what makes someone like Andrew Dice Clay "Matter". If you ever read one of his books, this previous paragraph will make more sense to someone that has never read a Klosterman book. But in the end, this was a fun book about things that actually interest me no matter how much none of them actually "Matter".
45. Floating City - Sudhir Venkatesh (278 Pages) B+ (November 30-December 5)
Because many of the characters in this book had regular "day jobs" while at night they were drug runners, prostitutes or pimps it made me look at everyone I passed in the city in a different light. How many of the women dressed up in regular clothes going to work on the subway may have been paid for last night's "Date" they went on? How many of the bartenders in I've gotten drinks from have a deal with the women in the corner booth to send over prospective clients?
Like with many of these "non-fiction" books, I have a hard time believing it all. He claims everything he wrote was true, but I was literally living in the East Village while these stories were happening around me and I find it surprising that there was a huge latina prostitution ring trying to break into the young, rich, "white world". It is definitely a book worth reading, but the question remains how specialized was his sample set of data? If what Venkatesh says is true, then it seems at least one friend of mine has slept with a potential employer in order to get a job. I find this hard to believe, but I guess anything is possible.