The Best/Worst Books of 2001
By KNS Maré
2001 was a year in which I tried to dislike every book I read.
Because The World was "too much with me, late and soon" and books, like kids and pets, seem to have an uncanny ability to demand that very part of you that you don't have the time or the will to give. I gave in, though, and ended up treasuring every minute I spent reading -- just to be reading. I ended up liking every book I read this year.
Yet as painful to read as The Worst Book of 2001 was, the endorphins kicked in halfway through, and I found myself strangely content -- almost euphoric, actually -- with having survived such a thoroughly corrupt hack job .
This year began on a somber note, struck by the funereal tone of the Inauguration of another monarch named George. And it just kept getting worse. As the national discourse became more incoherent with rage, terror, and grief, some people became born-again readers. They turned away from the pervasive and controlling electronic media and began searching the printed page for consolation or for clues. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? These are the eternal questions asked and answered by all great writers during troubled times. I hope you agree that 2001 reflected the promise of some very fine writers, indeed.
Titles marked with * indicate upcoming reviews
Titles marked as hyperlink refer to previous reviews
* Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold: 2001 Hyperion, hardcover $ 24.95
After the Plague and other Stories by T.C. Boyle: 2001 Viking, hardcover $ 25.95
Flights of Love – Stories by Bernhard Schlink: 2001 Pantheon Books, hardcover, $ 23.00
The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa: 2001 Farrar, Straus and Giroux, hardcover, $25.00
The School of Beauty and Charm by Melanie Summer: 2001 Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, hardcover, $23.95
A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals by Tim Flanning and Peter Schouten: 2001 Atlantic Monthly Press, hardcover, $34.95
* Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency by James Bamford: 2001 Doubleday, hardcover, $ 44.95
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal by Eric Schlosser: 2001 Houghton, Mifflin, hardcover, $25.00
Somehow Form a Family: Stories That Are Mostly True by Tony Earley: 2001 Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, hardcover, $22.95
The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and The Cult of Human Power by Travis Culley: 2001 Villard $19.95
The Worst Book of 2001
* Dot.Bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliathby J. David Kuo: 2001 Little, Brown; hardcover, $25.95
© Copyright 2001 by KNS Maré