2006 Books 96 - 100

96. Saturday by Ian McEwan - Covering one eventful day in the life of a London neurosurgeon, this book allows McEwan to do what he does best: leave no thought nor detail unexposed. In a lesser writer's hands, the microfocus would become tedious, but McEwan seems to know just when to pull back and give the reader a chance to see the bigger picture.

97. Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Indident by Eoin Colfer (read half, half on Audio book read by- I read this first book in this series when it was published and liked it quite a bit. Colfer had come up with a way to make dwarves, fairies, sprites, and all the other usual suspects of fantasy fiction original and earthy. In this second book, he's made them too earthy, in my opinion. They've become warriors and soldiers with little of the original personality showing through. Artemis is reduced to reacting and waiting, something he never did in the first book, unless it was a part of some complicated orchestration of evil. I did enjoy hearing the book read, the Irish accents gave some depth to what otherwise was a flat and repetitive story.

98. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - An excellent read for social customs of the wealthy in early 20th century New York written by someone who knew people just like the characters she created. The plot develops at the same pace those characters lived...slow and self consciously.

99. Reading Like A Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Prose - At the heart of this book is the author's belief that the most certain way for a writer to become a better writer is to read the works of better writers. Following that theory, she uses examples of published authors to show that there is no one right way to write a good story, and that by using what she calls "close reading" (paying attention to the framework of a story as much as enjoying it for the art that it is), aspiring writers will improve their craft. You have to concede she has a good point when you consider that many of the great authors never took a formal writing class, but instead were tutored by their own reading choices.

100. Eragon by Christopher Paolini - Yes, the author borrows from the great stories of adventure and fantasy. But there's plenty of original work here too, especially with the young hero's attitude towards his destiny. As young adult fantasy fiction written by a young adult, this is a good read.

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