"Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures. They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. But I confess they would have no charms for me. I should infinitely prefer a book." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, David Walsh: I fell in love with this book on page six, when Walsh described his stories of the Tour De France as "a Canterbury Tales in Lycra." I've been fascinated by the Armstrong story for years and Walsh's behind-the-scenes look at his 13-year fight to take him down was riveting.
American Boy, Larry Watson: A kind of gloomy but atmospheric tale of small-town, 1960's, western Minnesota boyhood...adultery, first love, and sin all wrapped up in heartland values. I loved it for the way it captured an era and for the beautiful writing, but the story itself didn't do much for me.
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway: I love Hemingway's stark, pure, sparse prose and the vivid but unadorned worlds he creates. This wasn't my favorite of his (that title's held by A Farewell to Arms), but it was a great read all the same. (#5 on my 101 in 1001 #70!)
A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Fiction, Suzette Field: This was a really cool book at times, and was a concept I was definitely intrigued by...basically the who/what/when/where/why of forty different parties in various books. I loved reading about the parties from the books I'd read, mostly because I could contextualize them, but it was dull and uninspiring to read about books I was unfamiliar with. Good excuse to add them to my reading list, I guess!
The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice, Jennifer Paynter: I'm always a sucker for a good piece of P&P fan-fiction, but this one fell perilously flat for me. I was intrigued at the thought of Mary Bennet repainted as a sympathetic character, but I just can't get behind a book that turns my beloved Elizabeth Bennet into a lying, bitchy slut. Too far, Jennifer Paynter, too far.
The Gift, Cecilia Ahern: This book bills itself as a Christmas/holiday novel, and I forgot that I was sorely disappointed by its gloomy tone the first time I read it. It's a riff on "It's A Wonderful Life," but it's pretty negative and, frankly, I had to go watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to get back in the holiday spirit after the depressing ending. DO NOT recommend, for the record.