Best 5 Books I Read in 2001
While the books I read during 2001 had little to do with the publishing history of 2001 (none of these books were published
that year), they still had enormous impact on my mindset for those 365 days & beyond. Consider this an early
attempt at supplementing the old Best 100 Books of All-Time (More or Less), circa the end
of my high school career. Regardless of which, I read some excellent books in 2001. In this particular order:
Jailbird (Kurt Vonnegut) ~ one of those books I wish
I'd written myself. I sometimes think I did. While it doesn't go everywhere I wanted it to go, it alludes to
enough to make it the best book I read, in a pretty daunting field. Great quotes all over the pages, too.
Tomcat in Love (Tim O'Brien) ~ while this book runs the
risk of being about a bad person & by a bad person (the author's voice, not the actual author), it's immaculately
written & refers to so many themes in an emotionally accurate way. Even if one doesn't relate to the protagonist,
one has to relate to his problems. More fantastic quotes here, with lines that simply kill me.
A Widow for One Year
(John Irving) ~ I read both "Garp" & "Hotel New Hampshire" in 2001, but the Irving that
stuck with me was this more recent work. The imagery & emotion is ever painful, but reflective of the way people
feel & thus meets many similar criteria to the #2 book on this list. Sorry Irving fans, I think this beats his
more classic works, only losing to "Owen Meany".
Crome Yellow (Aldous Huxley) ~ I first tried reading this
book about 3-4 years earlier, & it left me utterly cold after 10 pages. In the summer of '01, I turned back to it
& while I still found the early chapters rough going, it was well worth the perseverance. Conversation novels
aren't for everyone, but this one is high quality.
Girl with Curious Hair (David Foster Wallace) ~ I love
short stories. I read few collections thereof in '01, so this one beat out a narrow field of said works. However,
some of these stories still haunt me long after reading them. Hit & miss, but mostly hit.
Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut)
Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut)
The Hotel New Hampshire (John Irving)
Loosely Based (Storey Clayton)
The Nuclear Age (Tim O'Brien)