Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best of 2011 Countdown: #8


The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes

I hope I don’t sound like too much of an idiot (I want to sound just enough like an idiot), but I absolutely love a well-done, compact novel. It's rare and it's incredibly hard to do. To write a well-developed original story with fully realized characters in fewer than two hundred pages is remarkable, yet Barnes has done just that.   This is a one sitting read, much like On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. I know what you're thinking, why shouldn’t you read such a short novel in one sitting Gianna? Well some don’t lend themselves to it, some you don’t want to, some you can’t, and some blow.

Julian Barnes,
Man Booker Prize winner
Barnes has been nominated several times for the Booker,  and there is something so right about him finally winning it for this book. Liz called this book a masterpiece and while I hate agreeing with her about anything at all…she got this absolutely right. It’s a perfect book.

I won’t go into plot here, we’ve written about this on the blog two or three times, but I will say that Barnes hits major themes here: love, loyalty, life and death. Have I mentioned this is a perfect book? 


The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

Words like "delightful" and "enthralling" best describe one of the biggest books of 2011.  Erin Morgenstern's first novel involving dueling magicians and the most incredible circus ever placed on paper has proved a sensation, and deservedly so.  I quite simply love this book.  I loved it when I first read it about 11 months ago, and I haven't shut up about it since then.  My booksellers love it.  My friends love it.  I want to visit The Night Circus.

Let's set the mood:

Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is so descriptively stunning that if I possessed any artistic talent at all I would have created my own illustrated edition.  The film rights were optioned to Summit Pictures and there's lots of Hollywood chatter and speculation.  And Erin Morgenstern wrote this book during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual writing challenge to create a novel during the 30 days of November.  This book is charmed.  It's magical.

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