10. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
*Read in May 2008*
Part historical fiction (you'll find I love it) and part present-day "ripped from the headlines" murder mystery, this book is steeped in American religious history. Ann Eliza Young was the "19th Wife" of polygamous Mormon Church leader Brigham Young when she broke with the church and began speaking out against the plural ways of its leaders. Jordan Scott is a young former member of the FLDS who returns to his secluded hometown of Provo, Utah after his mother is accused of murdering his father. Not only did the Oprah watching, tabloid reading, sensational story hound in me love this book, I was glued to all the "research" Ebershoff did. Then I discovered the Wikipedia entries, news articles, etc. were all penned by Ebershoff himself and added another layer to this complex and addicting story. I also had a chance to meet the author who regaled his audience with stories of the lengths he went to researching this book. Impressive, beginning to end!
9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
*Read in June 2008 as part of my book club*
This guy puts my nerdiness to shame! Oscar is overweight, he loves Star Wars, he's obsessed with girls and he's Dominican. Poor guy. He dreams of being the next Tolkein but he just can't get it together. And he really just wants to find love. Who can't relate? His family is dramatic and the generation-old "fuku" curse isn't helping matters either. Junot Diaz is a wonderful story teller. The book is infused with Dominican history as well in nice little end notes that at first are lovely and entertaining but when they are longer than the book's actual text, they get annoying. Here's a hint: you can skip them for the most part.
Anyone read anything good lately?