well i don't know about most grown-ups, but for me it was a little bit scary when i realised these three books were probably the only 2010-release grown-up books i read this year. they were all fabulous, at least.
our tragic universe, scarlett thomas
scarlett thomas' third book was sort of about nothing, but was also a wonderful story all about stories. about writing and ideas, coincidence and relationships, knitting, the beast of dartmoor, taking the dog for a walk, kissing married friends on ferries - this is an absolute must-read for all writers (and readers).
read my review here.
the hopeless life of charlie summers, paul torday
i've relished each paul torday book since his brilliant 2007 salmon fishing in the yemen. you never know what his next book will be about. this one is actually narrated by hector 'eck' chetwode-talbot who is in finance in the city, but it's also about eck's doppleganger charlie summers, whom he meets by chance. eck works with money in the million, the billions, the squillions. charlie sells weird dog food and has lots of hairbrained schemes. eck's about to find out just what makes him so different from charlie. now i don't pretend to know a snit about $ or finance, but this book played on my unease regarding stocksbondsinternetbanking:
'then, somewhere, someone asked a new question. it was: "can i have my money back?" we didn't know it then, but the money that had come out of nowhere was about to return to exactly the same place.' (p8, uncorrected proof)
eleven, mark watson
at once hilarious and tragic, i loved eleven. xavier ireland is a late-night talk back radio dj in london, his sidekick murray a more laconic version of murray from flight of the conchords, but xavier was once chris cotswold and lived in melbourne. this book is about why he left. at first i was concerned this book was mere dick-lit and was hesitant to get on board with the omniscient narrator that told me all about a series of other people whose lives were getting increasingly difficult. but he pulls it off! however, it's marketed as a funny book by "one of britain's best-loved comedians" but THIS BOOK HAS A HARROWING, HARROWING MOMENT. my blood ran cold and i cried. read it, this one is worth it.
here's a photo from the launch at the sun bookshop (actually held in 'the grand' at the sun theatre due to massive attendance):
i did also read some grown-up classics, including (but not limited to):
- keep the aspidistra flying, george orwell
- nausea, jean-paul sartre
- pursuit of love, nancy mitford
- the great gatsby, f scott fitzgerald
but here's to a new years resolution to read more contemporary fiction. anyone read anything amazing this year i should go back and explore??