With December’s meetup quickly approaching and January’s novel already selected, we’re now ready to vote for our February book! This month our feature member making the selections is….ME! In case you’ve forgotten, each member who was present at the very first meetup back in September 2010 gets to choose a month in 2012 and choose the books we vote on! February is the perfect month for me since I was born on a cold February morning nearly 28 years ago. You’ll be receiving your voting emails shortly, but I thought I’d augment the simple synopsis provided by enlightening everyone on why I made the selections I did.
I really thought this would be a simple task, but didn’t turn out that way at all. I made numerous lists of books I love or would love to read. I emailed Victoria my selections to get her opinion and had my final list approved and ready to go! But then I got to thinking – which is always dangerous. Three of the four books I had selected were typical Brooke reads – all living comfortably inside my comfort zone which generally means written long ago. So I slashed the list and tried to come up with a theme that challenged me – or at least took me out of my reading rut. Only one of the four novels was something I wouldn’t normally read – contemporary fiction. I run screaming from bestseller lists and firmly keep my face planted in 19th century literature or wacky sci-fi/fantasy stuff. Don’t know why – perhaps it’s the hype/buzz that frightens me. I prefer a book that has stood the test of time. Anyway, my four selections challenge that notion – all have been major bestsellers, award winners, critically acclaimed novels from the the past 5 years.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was published in January 2010. It’s a novel written by a doctor and partially takes place in Ethiopia – so definitely something a bit different than I’ve ever read. I mainly selected this novel because in the world of book blogging and word-of-mouth book praising, this story always garners high praise. Even other readers as jaded with book critics as myself love this lovely little paperback! Another plus, it’s probably the only book on my list that will be available in paperback. I think I just scored it several economically driven votes.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is both a novel and author I’ve been meaning to read for some time – and it’s in paperback as well (I feel bad for getting Cutting the Stone’s hopes up). Published in 2006, there’s a movie version coming out starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock which seems intriguing. This particular novel was the only original selection to survive off my first list – why? I have a weird obsession with post-9/11 fiction that actually deals with that day. There’s very little literature written yet about those tragic events so when a book pops up proclaiming to offer some sort of insight, theory, or just humanized depiction I need to read it. Plus, I think many Americans are still trying to figure out what that day means to us – a great discussion could easily be born.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach is brand spanking new and still all hard and shiny. Touted by many people who claim to know these things as one of the top 10 books of 2011. Amazon.com named the book it’s number 1 novel of 2011 – high praise, indeed. I have a special place in my heart for baseball and many other team sports (Go Dawgs!!). To me, team sports connect people from all different walks of life, teach valuable lessons to the young and old, and promote a sense of community so often lacking in today’s society. In my head, I’m fairly certain this is a novel about baseball like Friday Night Lights was a television show about football – which means mostly not at all. It’s a book about one sport, one event, one central current bringing together people in the same way that the most mundane objects and events can bring us together in a sweetly profound way. I sure hope I’m right!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline made it’s sparkly debut in August to the cries and cheers of critics worldwide. I selected this one for myriad reasons – namely it’s sci-fi which I love. For those haters out there, science fiction provides such a creative outlet for commentaries on the world we live in today and the world we hope to live in tomorrow. I’ll also be honest and tell you that the catchphrases ‘nerdy romance’ and ’80s nostalgia’ kind of made me love the book’s description in an almost embarrassing way. Definitely my more light-hearted selection.
Okay – go forth and vote, Litwits! Or comment to tell me my selections suck.