Authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall shared their “third annual cool stuff we read (and recommend) in 2014 list.” Check out sixteen great books.
Authors preamble: Requirements for this list: great prose and good storytelling for both fiction and non-fiction, and — when the last page is turned — something within us should be changed: an opinion, an understanding, a geographic point of view, a cultural appreciation, or if it’s really good, a revelation. These listed books — presented in no particular order — leap over one or all of these criteria. We don’t worry about when they were published, only that either Kathleen or the Cowboy read the book in 2014. We offer thanks (with a little wide-eyed envy, at least on Kathleen’s part, the Cowboy never gets jealous) to these sixteen writers.
Back to Back
Julia Franck, Grove Press
Sister and brother Ella and Thomas are innocent, young and happy children when post-World War II’s newly borne East Germany begins its descent into isolation, paranoia and institutionalized cronyism. Even as a translation from the German, a nearly perfect and wrenching book. Not to be missed.
The Other Alexander
Margarita Liberaki, Noonday
A thrift store special, Clark purchased this book, published in 1959, solely because of the blurb on the front cover from Albert Camus: “I am deeply moved by this book. It is true poetry.”Turns out, a war with one’s self is indeed mesmerizing and poetic. Thank you, Monsieur Camus, for the tip.
Limonov: The Outrageous Adventures of the Radical Soviet Poet Who Became a Bum in New York, a Sensation in France, and a Political Antihero in Russia
Emmanuel Carrère, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Truth is stranger than fiction. Through the lens of a single life story, an alternative everyman perspective on Russian history and culture, and a piercing glimpse into the country’s proud, contrarian, artistic soul.
Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison
Piper Kerman, Spiegel & Grau/Random House
Talk about a lesson-learned. Even with its uneven writing and unpredictable layering of anecdotes, this book still manages to sneak up on you. The prose is average, and that’s okay, because that’s not where the power rests. Kerman shines a light where it is so needed: the cumulative generational effect on women and children — and ultimately on society — of the misguided war-on-drugs. Take note: the book is deeper than the cool Netflix series, and the real Piper is an impressive advocate.
Read the full list at http://www.cowboyandvampire.com or click here.