I’ve read a lot of books in the last 2 years (43 – 120 if you include audio books, but who’s counting?), and I’ve enjoyed the vast majority. Part of this is because I enjoy the very experience of reading, so for most books I can find some aspect of it that I enjoy.
Some books are funny (Areas of My Expertise), some are sad (Firmin), and some are both (I Am a Cat). Some are weird (Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), some fun (Fablehaven, Percy Jackson and the Olympians) and some are, apparently, only for me (Botchan – sorry Nicole). I’ve enjoyed all of these, and I recommend them for various reasons and to various people.
There are some, however, that are so good that it’s hard to even discuss them. I love to read, and I enjoy talking about books, but how do you discuss a great book if you aren’t a great writer? How do I fit into a blog post or database entry the scope, the characters, or the beauty of East of Eden? How do I explain the moving, subtle, and amazing experience of reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Do I give you a brief overview of the plot? Or discuss the clarity and reality of the 9 year old narrator, Oskar Schell? Would these kinds of facts make you more likely to read this book? Because, trust me, you should want to read this book.
I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m honestly not. 2010 is going to have its work cut out for it to send another book my way that will be as good as this one. I don’t think I can say this is my favorite book of all time (I’ve only read it once, after all), but it gives me the same feeling I remember having the first time I read other books that do top of my list of all time favorites – Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, East of Eden, Ender’s Game, The Catcher in the Rye.
There’s just something about truly great books that changes not only the way you look at other books, but the way you look at everything. If you haven’t read this yet, please add it to your to-read list. And if you have, please gush with me in the comments.
"I didn’t want to hear about death. It was all anyone talked about, even when no one was actually talking about it" (295).