As I look over the books and movies I saw in 2012, I have to say it was a pretty good year in this regard. These are a few of the older books I read. And a few of the movies that may not be on your radar.
MEMORY, Donald Westlake. This was a recent publication of Hard Case Crime, but it certainly would top my list any year. The protagonist, an actor, is beaten senseless by the husband of a woman he beds for one night. The rest of the book follows him as he tries to remember who is, what he is, how to solve this dilemma. If you want to learn how to plot, how to climb inside someone’s head, this is the book for you. Not a boring page in the book.
MONTANA, 1948, Larry Watson. A small book, full of pain, full of graceful writing. A dying Sioux woman will not allow her employers, the town sheriff, to call for the town’s doctor, his brother. Powerful stuff as we watch events unfold through the eyes of a boy.
RED BAKER, Robert Ward. I can’t say enough good things about this story of man who loses his job and everything else when he can’t come to terms with the loss. Just terrific. Newly available as an ebook.
THE SILENT LAND, Graham Joyce. What if you woke up at a ski lodge and everyone else was gone. This book explores that notion through a young couple.
Haunting and it shows that white can be as dark as black.
Five Best Short Stories I read this year
The Babysitter, Robert Coover
Things I Learned in Fairy Tales, Roxanne Gay, PROTECTORS
Tetanus, Joyce Carol Oates, GIVE ME YOUR HEART
Girls in Their Summer Dresses, Irwin Shaw
A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor, THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF THE 20th CENTURY
LE HAVRE, A great little movie that shows that community is everything for an African boy who turns up in a small French town.
THE DEEP BLUE SEA-The wife of a judge falls in love with an air force pilot during the Second World War. He is not worthy of her love, which makes it all the more interesting. Rachel Weisz is brilliant in this moody little piece.
A SEPARATION. When an Iranian couple wishes to separate, it turns out to be almost impossible. Insightful, sad, complex.
AUGUST 31, OSLO. A day in the life of a recovering drug addict as he leaves his treatment facility to interview for a job.