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Books of 2009

As every year, January Magazine has a whole list of lists where the editors and contributors list enumerate the books that have impressed them during the year which is about to end:
children’s books
art & culture
crime fiction from A-G, by title
crime fiction from H-Z

I don’t claim to have read all the lists – let alone all the books on them. I don’t have enough time, and I probably don’t read quickly enough (or am not avid enough). Two Canadians, however, have (again) drawn my attention, as editor Linda Richards groups them together:

Generation A by Douglas Coupland (Random House Canada) 297 pages -
This is one of two important books with international implications and a strong presence of bees written by Canadian authors and published in the second half of 2009. The other is Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood. Interestingly enough, neither book received the attention it deserved at home: something I find inexplicable and, in a way, inexcusable. Both books have a lot to say and their authors manage to say it very, very well.

So, these two definitely go on my reading list.
At the moment, I’m still struggling with “The Time of Our Singing” – I expect to finish it in the next couple of days. It is fascinating, yes, but for me it’s also a strain, because it is so obvious from the beginning on that this is a tragic story, and we get the full menu – the poor, poor narrator/protagonist is really treated harshly by this world, and the fact that he realizes it may be (partly) his fault doesn’t really make it easier for him (or for the reader, and I’m one of those naive readers who suffer with the narrator). I loved the descriptions of how music worked wonders for the Strom family on the first three-hundred pages, but after that it gets rather repetitive. Oh well.

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