fiction five. [five things.]

As much as I might want to, I don’t have time to write detailed posts about all the books I’ve been reading this year, not even just the ones I loved. So, here are short bits about five books, with the hope I’ll do another five in the near future.

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1. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon

A detective story set in an alternate version of our world in which Israel dissolved after it’s creation post WWII, and the US government temporarily allotted a portion of Sitka, Alaska for Jewish settlement.

Out of the 26 books I’ve read so far in 2011, this has to be in the top three. As Chabon’s follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize winning effort in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, it’s more proof that Chabon is on a very short list of the greatest living writers.


I normally just show a picture of the cover, but I couldn’t resist a photo of Chabon and Gaiman together. There can’t be more talented best friends in the world.

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2. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Another classic that I finally got around to reading. Hilarious, smart, and readable enough to consume the whole thing without putting the book down.

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3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

A beautifully written story of one Dominican family, set both in present day US and three generations in the DR, most notably under the terrible reign of El Jefe during the Trujillo era.

The voices of the narrators, especially the primary narrator, are wildly original. By the end of the novel I cared deeply about these characters. This is one everybody should read.

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4. The Forever War – Joe Haldeman

One of my favorite things, both as a story device, and as a part of actual reality, is the theory of relativity. The Forever War is about what war would be like if it was taking place all over a universe where light speed travel was possible. While back on earth centuries would pass, the soldiers would have lived only four years or so if they’d been traveling light speed during that time.

Haldeman does a really great job playing with all the potential actualities stemming from this light speed war taking place over countless generations of two species. It’s a really fun read.

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5. Graceling and Fire – Kristin Cashore

Young adult fantasy, the second book is actually a prequel set in the same fictional world with only one character who figures into Graceling. To make  a long story short, without spoilers, each book is about a young woman with extraordinary abilities, in a world where it is common for people to have abilities, but those who have them are feared and often hated.

I really enjoyed these books, the Fire even more than Graceling, and I can’t wait until the third book in the trilogy comes out this August.

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