Best Books - 2005

I'm gonna post my "Best" lists on the upcoming Fridays. I'll start today with books.

5. A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin
What can I say? I didn't read a lot of books this year--plus, I'm a total nerd. This book might not be his greatest (due to forced publication and splitting the book in half), but Martin is still able to spin a yarn that is endlessly entertaining and imaginative. My biggest hope for the series, however, is that it does, indeed, end. I've been invested in this series since 1999 and I'm just hoping that it winds down soon. If the inclusion of all the new characters in Feast is any indication, there are still at least 5 more books in the series.

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
Murakami is far and away my favorite contemporary author. His novels are subtle and textured and strange and beautiful. Kafka on the Shore is no different. It is different in its voice. There is a different translator and I tried to put a lot of my misgivings for the novel on that, but its not just that--for the first time, Murakami characters are uniformly expositing their actions. It made for a strange read, but I'll be honest, it took me a long while to get through the book. Still, Murakami's worst is still better than most authors' best.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon
It won the Pulitzer in 2001, but it took Keith loaning it to me to read it. Kavalier and Clay is deslightful--and I'm generally someone who uses that word insincerely. The story of cousins who ink a comic book in the 40's that becomes wildly successful is a joy to read. Chabon meticulously reconstructs New York at the brink of World War II and gives his characters a depth that is believable and emotional. Overall, a great read!

The Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell The Cloud Atlas
Mitchell is the real deal and he proves it in spades in this book. Some critics found it to be to showy. I say fuck that! If you can tell a story, nay, 6 stories each with a unique voice and entrenched in genre fiction each interlocking and spanning over a thousand years, you're a fucking genius. I was intrigued by Mitchell with his debut novel, Ghost Written. His second novel Number9Dream was easily the best thing I read two years ago, and this novel is the penultimate po-mo mashup all the while maintaining a real sense of story. Eat that, Don DeLillo!! (My review at Copacetic.)

Mysterious Skin - Scott HeimMysterious Skin
It took an
Araki film to make me aware of a talented writer. I never thought that would be the case. Heim's novel is scary, sincere, sentimental, and honest. He never panders to the audience and definitely doesn't pull any punches. The story of Brian and Neil is unforgettable in a way that few stories are. The prose is liquid and ethereal while simultaneously concrete. If I had the novel with me, I'd pull a sentence or two to show you what I mean. This book definitely isn't for everyone (my mom would probably physically get ill when reading some passages) but while reading it, I felt like this book was meant especially for me. One helluva debut, Scott!
Now for me-time:
New article up on Seattlest.

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