2006 Books 66 - 70

66.The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale, Summer And Smoke and Orpheus Descending with Battle of the Angels, all by Tennessee Williams - Each of these short books contain two versions of well known plays by Williams. There's more melodrama the second time around for each story, and the female characters come into their full eccentric selves. It's interesting to read them side by side, to see how Williams edited himself, each time creating shorter plays that were more intense.

67. Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed and The Knightly Quest and Other Short Stories by Tennessee Williams - In the short story form, Williams can go even further with his eccentric charters than he can in his plays. I'd strongly recommend the novella The Knightly Quest to anyone who thinks they know the style of Tennessee Williams.

68. Running With Scissors by Augesten Burroughs (Audiobook, read by the author) - I've always been of the opinion that a memoir is not entirely true (or why not call it an autobiography?), so I have no problem thinking that Mr. Burroughs is looking back at his life through a filter of the bizarre. That doesn't make this any less funny or sad or just plain mind boggling. I don't care if everything happens as he said, I had a good time listening to him tell the story.

69. The Night Watch by Sarah Walters - I am in awe of Sarah Walters' ability to research her time period so well and not lose her story in the process. The sense of place in this book, WW II London, is worth the read, all by itself. Add some intriguing characters, crossover relationships, and one of the better uses of telling a story backwards than I've read in fiction in a long time, and this is a really good book. No wonder it was short listed for this year's Booker Prize.

70. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson - More of a set of characters studies than a group of short stories, this collection reads like a primer for Southern Gothic. Anderson wrote a prologue titled "Grotesque" and it's the unifying theme for all the chapters - the grotesque that's inside everyone.

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