Thursday, August 20, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Best (August 20, 2009)

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly event that poses a new book-related each week. Here is this week's question:

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

I am going to arbitrarily define "recently" as "since the beginning of 2009". That being the case, two books immediately come to mind; both affected me greatly, to the point that I would include them on my all-time top five list.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates: I do love mid-century American literature, so take that as a caveat, but I think Revolutionary Road is an underrated classic. Yates explores the American Dream in a nuanced and fresh way, and Frank and Alice are two of the most beautifully flawed characters in literature. (Incidentally, the movie version makes Yates' themes completely one-dimensional, although DiCaprio and Winslett are perfect as Frank and Alice.)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers: I admit, I judged this book by its cover--or, rather, its title--for a very long time. I think I expected a sappy, trite romance, and I was tremendously surprised to find one of the best examples of the Southern Gothic genre that I've ever come across. McCullers has an incredible talent for creating poignant yet supremely realistic characters, and I often find myself thinking about John Singer and Mick Kelly as I would real-life acquantiances.


  1. You are the second person who has listed The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as their most recent best read. I think I'll add this to my list of TBR's.

  2. Awesome choices! I haven't read "Revolutionary Road", but did read "Easter Parade" earlier this year which just made me hunger for more Yates.

    I also picked "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" for this question. Like you, I'd also had preconceived notions about it because of the title, but was so pleased to find I was wrong. Brilliant.

  3. Both sound like great reads!
    My picks are here:

  4. I know it's an oldie, but East of Eden by John Steinbeck blew me away. Couldn't put that sucker down, and it's loooong. Which was wonderful. It made him my new favorite author.