Monday, December 30, 2013

Books: the year's best titles

I'm not kidding when I say the best titles, as that's exactly what I'm talking about. A few of these are books I've read, but truthfully, one of them is a book I've never even held in my hand (or, for those who prefer the world of e-life, downloaded).

I would have loved to include Words the Dog Knows, only it was published way back in 2008, so I can't really count it, even though I only got around to reading it this year. It's a fabulous title and a pretty darn good book inside as well.

I think a lot of authors were inspired to better titles after Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time came along (an excellent read, by the way, worth digging for).

Still, contenders for this year's Best Title include:

The Oil Man and the Sea -- not only for its delightful punniness, but for its timeliness and courage, speaking out about the precarious times we are experiencing in BC and exactly how much is at stake.

We Are Born with the Songs Inside Us -- it's hard to beat the sheer beauty of these words in combination. Besides, this book holds some good news for a change, as it's Katherine Gordon's gathering of hopeful words for the future of First Nations Peoples in our country.

Another book with a beautiful title and wonderful insides is Stephen Reid's A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden. A collection of Reid's writings from prison, it's a book you won't soon forget.

One that I still hope to get to is Milk Spills and One-Log Loads (and we think traffic is hazardous today), written by a fellow who began his career as a truck driver when he turned sixty. This guy's life sounds like one that won't be repeated unless something puts us back into horse-and-buggy mode.

And my list wouldn't be anywhere near complete without the inclusion of Douglas Coupland's latest, a title distinguished by its use of punctuation. Worst. Person. Ever. Despite the fact that not everybody likes this book, Coupland continues to hold appeal for me. Sometimes, with his irreverence and steady pointing out of the world's ridiculous ills, I think he's become my Kurt Vonnegut surrogate. The book was one of my Christmas presents, and I've purposely made it last to today, which happens to be the author's birthday, and he's turning the magic number, 42. (Er, no, bad arithmetic. Make that 52.)

Read any good titles -- or, for that matter, books -- lately?


hg said...

And wow, what a birthday present for Douglas Coupland. The Order of Canada. Better even than a new pair of Stanfield's.

DGreebe said...

I love Douglas Coupland but have not read this latest addition. My best book of 2013 was The Windup Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi. A science fiction novel / dystopian fiction about a post-oil world where "calorie-men" are the new "oil-men".
A fantastic read. Good title too.

hg said...

Oooh, that sounds like a good one to track down.
Right now, I'm reading Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Supposedly the future, but gosh, its world doesn't sound far enough away.