Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Best Books Read in 2003

My Previous Best Books: 2001, 2002.

I read seventeen books last year. Three of them were "graphic novels" (comics), which I read during the buzz of American Splendor. Two of the books, Mystic River and Matchstick Men, I read strictly because I knew I was going to watch their movies. These turned out to be terrific books.

My favorite book from 2003 was Empire Falls. This book is by Richard Russo, and it won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This is such a beautiful book, it's almost indescribable. Many times as I was reading it, I openly marveled at how lovingly the sentences were put together. They were rich with imagery.

One sample: "She gave him a smile in which hope and knowledge were going at it, bare-knuckled, equally and eternally matched."

Now how good is that? You don't even have to know the plot or the characters to see what her face must look like.

As a whole, the bookie story is about a man coming to terms with his own self, with his own dreams, with his own struggles. We spend a lot of time inside the main character's head, and I found myself pulling for him as I turned every page. This is a book I deliciously savored over the summer. I hope to devour this again!

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