Friday, December 28, 2012

Books Read in 2012

David Foster Wallace
This is one of my favorite posts to write. Please tell me what you read in the past year. What would you especially recommend. I host a book-broadcast program, and reading is a assion, radio or not.

Buzz and Zach Bissinger "Father's Day"
Your commnents to this post are much appreicate. Read on!


*= recommended

My list of vavorties is at the very end:
For the Indescribable, Brilliant, Maddening, Funny, Class By Itself Fategory:

Infinite Jest  David Foster Wallace

This was my year for James Baldwin and David Foster Wallce. The latter a favorite of superb poet, teacher ad radio guest Kevin Griffith. He assigns Infinte Jest to his college classes. I hope those left standing get a A.

Slaughterhouse Five    Kurt Vonnegut
The Sense of an Ending     Julian Barnes
Saint Louis Armstrong Beach   Brenda Cooper

*Drama     John Lithgow
Secret of Eden   Chris Bohjalian
Phillip and Elizabeth  Gyles Brandreth
*10,000 Saints  Eleanor Henderson

The Confession   John Grisham
The Associate   John Grisham

Broken Irish   Edward J. Delaney
Spencer Tracy   James Curtis
*11/22/63   Stephen King

The Third Queen   Carolly Erickson

The Obamas   Jody Kantor
*Open City   Tejo Cole
The Song Before it is Sung  Justin Cartwright

Life Itself   Roger Ebert
The Central Park 5   Susan Burns
*Watergate   Thomas Mallon

Tom Jones   Henry Fielding

The Darlings  Cristina Alger
Elizabeth the Queen  Sally Bedell Smith
*The Pale King   David Foster Wallace

Wallis Simpson, "That Woman"
That Woman   Anne Sebba
*Hope or Tragedy   Shalom Auslander
A Room of One's Own   Virgina Woolf

Betrayal: Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought to Bring Him Down   Robert Fitzpatrick
Radio My Way   Ron Della Chiesa

*By Blood   Ellen Ullman
The Serial Killer Whisperer  Pete Early

Shockaholic   Carrie Fisher
*Among the Missing   Dan Chaon
Nicky and Alix   Virgina Randing
Enchantments  Kathryn Harrison
Car   Henry Crews
Outside Valentine   Liza Ward
The Hawk is Dying  Henry Crews

*Defending Jacob  William Landay
My Years with Mrs. Kennedy   Clint Hill

Mr. Broadway   Gerald Schoenfeld
The Titanic Mystery Jack Steel

A break. I had a few advnetures on air with All Sides Weekend/Books. First were interviews with Martin Duberman, John Schwartz Matthew Pearl and Dennis Lehane.

Then there was the day I mouthed off (imagine!) and said that Moby Dick was overrated claptrap. Boring. How much blubber can you stand? Well, didn't the phones start ringing. A caller ID-ed herself as a college professor and ripped me the proverbial new one. She made me promise to read :"the greatest book of all". I said okay. The God of Small Things. Snore.

*Look Homeward Angel  Thomas Woolfe
*The Lady of the Forests   Dan Guterson
*The Variations  John Donatich

Mike Wallace  Peter Rader
After Camelot   J. Randy Taborirelli
1000 Small Cuts   Simon Lelic

The Winter King: Henry VII Thomas Penn
*Bring Up the Bodies  Hilary Mantel

My Extraordinary Ordinary Life   Cissy Spacek

Top of the Rock   Warren Littlefield
*Dropped Names   Frank Langella
*Father's Day   Buzz Bissinger

The Red Book  Deborah Copagen Kogan
The Child Who   Simon Lelic
*The New Republic   Lionel Shriver

Victoria and Albert: A Magnificent Obsession   Helen Rappaport

*In One Person   John Irving
Sister Queens: Catherine of Aragon and Juana La Loca  Julia Fox  
*Dickens   Claire Tomalin
His Illegal Self   Peter Carey

*Calico Joe   John Grisham
*The Good Father   Noah Hawley
Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero   Chris Matthews
*Giovanni's Room   James Baldwin
The Muses are Heard   Truman Capote

At Last   Edward St. Aubryn
The Queen's Lover  P.D. Gray
My Cross to Bear   Geg Allman
A Gay and Melancholy Sound  Merle Miller
The Receptionist  Janet Groth

A Good Man  Mark Shriver
Butterfly and the Typewriter, bio of John Kennedy Toole   Corey McLaughlin
*The Red House   Mark Haddon
The Voice   Thomas Quasthoff

James Baldwin
Go Tell it on the Mountain   James Baldwin
Mary Ann in Autumn   Armistead Maupin

The Sandcastle Girls   Chris Bohjalian

*The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Mystery of the Resurrection   Thomas De Wesselow

The Pope's Assassin   Luois Rocha
*Home   Toni Morrison

*Bleak House   Charles Dickens
Jack 1939  Francine Matthews
Leaving Home   Anne Edwards
The Queen Mother   Lady Colin Campbell

*Mission to Paris  Allan Furst
The Facility   Simon Lelic
12 Patents: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital   Erich Mannheimer, M.D.
What Comes Next?   John Katzenbach

*For Whom the Bell Tolls  Ernest Hemingway
Prague Cemetery  Umberto Eco
*Sharp   David Fitzpatrick
Abdication   Juliet Nicholson
Presumed Guilty  Jose Baez

*Yellow Birds   Kevin Powers
Yellow Birds is my "best of " for 2012.

That's How I Roll   Andrew Vaachs
Death in Italy: Amanda Knox    John Folian

Junot Diaz
*This is How you Lose Her   Junot Diaz
Shooting Victoria   Paul Thomas Murphy

Joseph Anton   Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton, Rushide's story of his years of hiding an exile. Didn't like it. It was self indulgent and selfish. His indignation grew wearying. His willingness to put wives and children in harm's way alarming.

"Live By Night   Dennis Lehane

Moby Dick   Herman Melville
The Technologists   Matthew Pearl
*Mortality   Christopher Hitchens
*Winter of the World   Ken Follett
The Dream of the Celts   Mario Vargas Llosa
*The Real Toscanini   Cesare Civetta
"When We Were the Kennedys   Monica Wood

*Telegraph Avenue   Michael Chabon
Inventing  Elsa Maxwell   Sam Staggs
*Elsewhere   Richard Russo

The Other   Thomas Tryon
The God of Small Things   Arundhati Roy
Jospeh Schwartz with his father, John, Oddly Normal
*Oddly Normal   John Schwartz 
*Howard Zinn, A Life on the Left  Martin Duberman
*The Marriage Plot   Jeffrey Eugenides

Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Biography of David Foster Wallace   D.T. Max
The Last Kind Words   Tom Piccirilli
The Prodigal Son   Colleen McCullough
The Patrick Melrose Novels  Edward St. Aubryn

Why I Left Godman Sachs   Greg Smith
The Digger's Game   George V. Higgins

*Infinite Jest   David Foster Wallace

Still with me? I hope so. From the above list, these were my favorites for 2012. I don't include Dickens, Melville, Hemingway or Wolfe since they don't need my help.

Bring up the Bodies--Hilary Mantel  written up everywhere, won every award. I'm not surprised. Elegant language telling a horrible story. The downfall of Anne Boleyn via Henry VIII's 'master secretary'  Thomas Cromwell.

Father's Day a memoir by sportswriter Buzz Bissinger, about his relationship with his mentally challenged son. You'll fall in love with Zack, and this sweet loving book, which  never makes such a relationship sound easy. 

The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Mystery of Resurrection by Thomas De Wesselow. 
As riveting as the best murder mystery, carbon dating be damned.,

Yellow Birds  Kevin Powers. Astonishingly, a first novel from a Vet. A solider promises to guard a younger buddy's life, and fails. Superb.

This is How You Lose Her  Junot Diaz a new collection of stories with authentic sounding street-Argo and its own brand of family values.

Oddly Normal   John Schwartz  This book begins with a suicide attempt by the author's young son. Therapy and healing reveal young Joseph is gay. My parents would have had two strokes a piece and dragged me to confession. John Schwartz and his wife, Jeanne Mixon love all of their children and the book glides lovingly-and amusingly! and very movingly!-to a happy ending. The last few pages are a book Joseph wrote about school. Read it. You'll never recover. And you don't want to.

When We Were the Kennedys  Monica Wood A large Isrish-Catholic family growing up in rural Maine in the 1950s and 60s. Everyone is at the mercy of the local paper mill.  You are THERE. Warm, funny and unsentimental.

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