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Thread: Best Reads of 2004

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyGills
    I really enjoyed the DaVinci Code and Dan Brown's other 2 books as well, they are very well researched, have excellent suspense and are just this side of incredible. First novel: Digital Fortress and 2nd novel: Angels and Demons. You get a sense of how he develops as a writer. I'm looking forward to more from him.
    Actually, his first novel is called Deception Point. Then he wrote A&D, then Digital Fortress and finally DaVinci Code. Hollywood's suppose to be making a movie out of DaVinci Code, starring Tom Hanks (that guy's *everywhere*!).

    Anybody read When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? yet? And I would have to say my best read for 2004 is Jon Stewart's America.
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  2. #22
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    Man, I've been wanted to read Stewart's America for a while now, but I ordered it online and it got lost in the mail, so I was issued a refund, but just never got around to re-ordering it, and when it's around Christmas I feel to guilty to spend money on myself, and yadda yadda. Anyway, I see it's mentioned a couple of times in this thread, and I can only hope Santa got it for me this year, because I'm dying to read it.

    Okay, here's the list of the books I had the most fun reading in 2004. Iím not sure a single one was published this year, so guys can tell Iím not up on my bestsellers/current releases.

    1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman Ė Iíve praised this book a million times in various threads around the FORTóif I gush any more about it, youíll think Gaimanís publishing company was paying me. But theyíre not, itís just that good.

    2. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace Ė crazy, labyrinthine, post-post-modern magnum opus that will blow your mind but keep you laughing. MmmÖThomas Pynchon-y.

    3. White Noise by Don DeLillo Ė arch satire of a commercial, consumer, media-obsessed American culture, that, although written in the 80s, is just as spot-on and relevant today.

    4. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares - the source material for one of the most influential French art films (Last Year at Marienbad) is better and more satisfying the film it inspired.

    5. Haruki Murakami & The Music of Words by Jay Rubin Ė loving paean to one of my favorite all-time authors, Haruki Murakami

    6. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami Ė irreverent, disturbing, nihilistic punk rock lit from Japan

    7. Kabuki: Circle of Blood by David Mack - beautiful art work, topped only by even better writing; a top notch graphic novel that should change the minds of people who think comics are for kids

    8. Global Women by Barbara Ehrenreich - moving non-fic about the exploitation of third world female labor. Try reading this and not caring about what these women go through.

    9. I hate to admit it, but Da Vinci Code was incredibly fun to read. Phat was right on when he said, "I knew it was no good for me, and yet, I couldn't stop myself."

    10. And though I just started Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon I already know it's going to be one of my favorites of the year.
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  3. #23
    waiting for summer owlie's Avatar
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    I too love Jasper Fforde.
    I don't like Margaret Atwood much, but another good Canadian author that I've read this year is Richard Wright. Clara Callan is one of my new favourites. His newest book, Adultery, is pretty good too (but Clara is better, I think).

    Lots of titles here that I look forward to reading! Thanks!

  4. #24
    Scrappy Spartan Broadway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    Don't I know it. A day after making my list, I realize I forgot the His Dark Materials trilogy I'd read earlier this year, and it had knocked me back through a wall. (Do yourselves a favor and read it if you haven't.)
    Ooooh, I had put Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy on my Christmas list about a month ago.

    My cheesy reason? Kate Beckinsale highly recommended these books and took several of her readings from her wedding from The Amber Spyglass. Her description of these stories sounded beautiful... so it was an immediate must and I cannot wait to open them next Saturday.

  5. #25
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman Ė Iíve praised this book a million times in various threads around the FORTóif I gush any more about it, youíll think Gaimanís publishing company was paying me. But theyíre not, itís just that good.
    Don't be shy about heaping praise on it. Last year at our annual Christmas party, I ran upstairs, grabbed American Gods and shoved it in the hands of a friend I'd been talking to about books.

    At the risk of sounding like a fanboy ("fanperson"?), I think AG will be one of my top ten reads of all time, even when I'm 70.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    3. White Noise by Don DeLillo Ė arch satire of a commercial, consumer, media-obsessed American culture, that, although written in the 80s, is just as spot-on and relevant today.
    A prof recommended it to me back in college, but I never finished it. Funny you should mention it, SfG, because it's never far from my mind and one I've always meant to find and finish. I will in '05.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    7. Kabuki: Circle of Blood by David Mack - beautiful art work, topped only by even better writing; a top notch graphic novel that should change the minds of people who think comics are for kids
    Kabuki is your top graphic novel for the year, huh? Interesting. Maybe I should start picking it up. (You and I should pick up and read The Originals together and entertain ourselves, even if no one else does.)

    By the way, if you like Morrison, may I recommend we3. Bonus: It's illustrated by Frank Quitely. Morrison's written better, but c'mon, it's Morrison. It's like "bad pizza"--even when it's bad, it's pretty good. (Reminds me a little of the Frank Miller/Geoff Darrow The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot--more superficial than what I know the writer is capable of.)

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    9. I hate to admit it, but Da Vinci Code was incredibly fun to read. Phat was right on when he said, "I knew it was no good for me, and yet, I couldn't stop myself."
    DVC was basically Dogma...in book form.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    10. And though I just started Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon I already know it's going to be one of my favorites of the year.
    Cryptonomicon can be a dense read. (I work in IT, and I didn't understand half of the techno-babble.) Still, I loved it.

    If you like it, though, don't miss Snow Crash. The Diamond Age was a pretty good read, too. (Victorian Futurism? Come on. Right up your alley.)

    J. made Stephenson's The System of the World an early Christmas gift to me. Finally, I have all the books of his "Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, The System of the World), and I can get cracking as soon as the holidays are over. (Like me, you like a bit of the steampunk, don't you, SfG?) I haven't gotten more than 50 pages into Book I, but if nothing else, best...book...titles...ever!
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  6. #26
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    I dread what Hollywood is doing to His Dark Materials. They've cut out the hearts of the books, but otherwise, yes, good read--highly recommended.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  7. #27
    I'm bacckkk LiVvV's Avatar
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  8. #28
    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman Ė Iíve praised this book a million times in various threads around the FORTóif I gush any more about it, youíll think Gaimanís publishing company was paying me. But theyíre not, itís just that good.
    I read so many good books this year I didn't really think I could make a list, but this is one of my favorites, too. I was fascinated by the subject. I would say this is one of the most original books I've ever read. I also loved Coraline.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    9. I hate to admit it, but Da Vinci Code was incredibly fun to read. Phat was right on when he said, "I knew it was no good for me, and yet, I couldn't stop myself."
    I really enjoyed this, too, but my enjoyment was tempered by reading that Brown had probably plagiarized the book. It did open up a new way of thinking about the Holy Grail. The best books are usually the ones that stretch your viewpoint in some way and give you new things to think about. Those are the books I remember, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    10. And though I just started Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon I already know it's going to be one of my favorites of the year.
    This looks interesting. I checked it out on Amazon and read the first few pages. Although the reviews were mixed, I can see myself enjoying this. I'll probably get it after Christmas, since it's too late to add to my Christmas list now.

    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    ... A day after making my list, I realize I forgot the His Dark Materials trilogy I'd read earlier this year, and it had knocked me back through a wall. (Do yourselves a favor and read it if you haven't.)
    I hadn't heard of this at all, and after reading the reviews (and the controversy) about the books I'll be heading out to Hastings today to get these with my giftcard I received from the office Christmas party.

    I would also like to add Jasper Fforde's The Well of Lost Plots and The Eyre Affair. Lucy recommended them, so I have her to thank!

    And once again, THANK YOU to all my literate FoRT friends for recommending the best reads of the year, ones that I would never have found without them!
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  9. #29
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    I read so many good books this year I didn't really think I could make a list, but this is one of my favorites, too. I was fascinated by the subject. I would say this is one of the most original books I've ever read. I also loved Coraline.
    If you really get into Gaiman, do consider trying his Sandman graphic novels. Start with Preludes & Nocturnes* and work your way up.

    By the way, they are:

    Book 2: The Doll's House
    Book 3: Dream Country
    Book 4: Season of Mists*
    Book 5: A Game of You
    Book 6: Fables and Reflections
    Book 7: Brief Lives
    Book 8: World's End
    Book 9: The Kindly Ones
    Book 10: The Wake*

    (I put an asterisk by my personal favorites, although if read out of order, they can be confusing to the beginner.)

    From the FoRT Bleeds into Real Life Dept.: With all the Cryptonomicon talk on this board, I re-dedicated myself to Quicksilver yesterday and knocked out about 50 pages. So far, so good.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  10. #30
    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    If you really get into Gaiman, do consider trying his Sandman graphic novels. Start with Preludes & Nocturnes* and work your way up.
    I'm showing my ignorance, but what exactly is a graphic novel? Is it sort of like a comic book? Does the author also illustrate or does someone else?

    I loved the two Gaiman books I've read and would probably consider these also. What is the general plot line, and can you get them at a bookstore? <---That seems like a dumb question, but I went to Hastings this morning with my gift card in hand and they didn't have His Dark Materials(well, they had the 3rd book but I wanted to start at the beginning), OR Cryptonomicon! I get so disgusted with books stores that don't really carry anything except the most popular authors,and then only one or two of their books! It's like ending up at McDonalds when you wanted a Chinese buffet.
    Well I was born in a small town
    And I can breathe in a small town
    Gonna die in this small town
    And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

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