Monday, November 2, 2015

Knopf 100--Day 15

It seems I'm in a dark book mood today.

53. Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace, originally published in 2007. David Peace is a great mystery writer and this mystery is unlike anything else I've read. It's set the year after World War II ended, in a broken Japan. The country is bankrupt which means that the Tokyo police force is bankrupt. When a killer unleashes horrors on the city, a detective is hot on his trail. What's special, though, is Peace's stream of consciousness writing that captures the underworld terror of the city and its war worn residents. Things like the nagging itch of lice become focal points for the characters and reader.

54. American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, originally published in 2005. I'm admittedly obsessed with atomic culture and the historic impact of the bomb on the 20th Century. That culture all begins with J. Robert Oppenheimer, the subject of Bird and Sherwin's award winning biography American Prometheus. Here is Oppenheimer's story, from Communist sympathizer to father of the atomic bomb to moral conscience of the nuclear era. Oppenheimer is fascinating because of his scientific genius and ability to lead the Manhattan Project, but he's also intriguing for his affairs, political beliefs, and how the people who revered him after the war ultimately destroyed him several years later. Yes Gianna, I do have a crush on Oppenheimer. I'm not ashamed.

55. In the Cut by Susanna Moore, originally published in 1995. Ooh, creepy, gothic, erotic, serial killer novel! I have to include this book on the list, and I need to grab it before Gianna snatches it away from me. When a woman is murdered in her neighborhood, Franny, an academic with a love of precise language, becomes obsessed with the crime and her darker desires. She begins an affair with the detective on the case, and this book becomes a twist of language, sex, risky behaviors, and distrust.

56. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, originally published in 1992. All the Pretty Horses was my first experience reading Cormac McCarthy, when I "borrowed" a copy off my boyfriend's shelf. I don't know what I was expecting that night, but I doubt I expected to be so sucked into a book that I ignored everything else for the rest of the evening. The story follows John Grady Cole, a 16 year-old kid who, spurred by the death of his grandfather, sets off on horseback. Accompanied by a couple of friends, the boys venture into Mexico and encounter love, bandits, and the desert. This novel deserved the National Book Award that it won.

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