List: And The Nominees Are…

In honor of the Sant Jordi holiday, I’ve compiled a list of literary Marian awards. My favorites in a variety of genres, broken down and spewed back out in all their Brain Barf glory. And the winners are… 

The Honorable Mention goes to Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife, which dramatizes the history and complexity of Laura Bush’s life, including the mysterious death of her high school boyfriend. In a freakish way, it also helps to humanize the George Bush character. Sittenfeld has a way of writing so dryly that it’s almost exhausting to read. I devour her books and then am basically comatose for days. They are emotionally draining probably because they are so realistic. Either way, when I finished this book and belatedly realized that it was based loosely on Laura Bush, I started googling her like a madwoman. Turns out she’s everything I respect in a woman: educated, poised, compassionate. She just ended up with a goof of a husband.

Best Chick Lit goes to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Call me cliché, but this was a hard category. I just don’t read all that much chick lit. But what is more chick-litty that a classic like Pride and Prejudice? It’s got the scandal, the romance, the wit, the comedy. The town beauty and the brainy sister. Everything is there to fulfill the chick lit category, so I’m sticking with it. 

Best Beach Read goes to Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, which for some reason unbeknownst to me is never on the “contemporary classics” table at bookstores. This book is addicting. It’s disgusting and gritty and pulls the reader in from every angle. When I was analyzing it in high school, I noticed Fitch’s numerous references to music when describing people. It would be casual… Like, as she’s describing what someone is wearing, she mentions the song playing in the background. But when I nerdily (not a word. Whatever) looked up the songs, they capture each character’s personality perfectly. I dub it a beach read because the heat of the sun will make the Santa Ana references throughout the book that much more believable. You can stimulate you senses by both feeling the sun and listening to the music, and drown in the story. Bahh it’s amazing. 

Best Self Help goes to Laura Kipnis’ Against Love, which I admittedly never finished—Not because it wasn’t good, but because it takes a while to digest and I have too many books to read right now. But I like the message that Kipnis argues in her polemic: that love doesn’t exist. Not really, at least. Because love wouldn’t compel us to hurt others. I call it a self help because I think it’s liberating. I consider myself a romantic, which can be immobilizing at times. It’s best to be a little removed from the romance, at least to protect myself, no? For now, at least… 

Best Travel Writing goes to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (duh). This book is almost too obvious, but I take it with me everywhere so I need to mention it a little. Gilbert’s story captures so perfectly her sense of self. With her stories broken down into short little anecdotes, they are digestible. There’s variety because she travels through three different countries. Liz Gilbert made me want to be a writer. I stole her book from my mom, who got it for a book club. And I’ve hoarded it ever since. My copy (or mine now) is worn and torn and loved. It’s my bible, so to speak. It’s perfect. 

Best Historical Fiction goes to Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin, which dictates the story of numerous New Yorkers and their various reactions/involvement in the 1974 tight rope walk between the twin towers. The basis seems relatively simple, but then McCann reveals how each of the seemingly unconnected characters influence one another’s lives. It’s Six Degrees Theory meets the Vietnam War meets some super awesome French acrobat. I bought the book on a whim in the Netherlands and didn’t put it down. Ahh-mayzz-ing.

Best Dystopia goes to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve never read any of Atwood’s other books, but I definitely will now. While it takes too long to summarize this baby, suffice to say that Atwood’s feminist rant definitely has an impression on any female reader. The leading lady is name Offred. Meaning “of Fred.” Sad, sick, and twisted. You won’t put it down.

Best Laugh-Out-Loud Comedy goes to Hilary Winston’s My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me. Comes out May 3, more info about it later. But I basically peed my pants. It’s made for any woman who has had her heart broken, has ever dated someone who turned out to be gay, anyone with a sense of humor, and especially those of us who own/love cats. Hilarious, hilarious, hilarious. Pre-order it from Amazon stat.

Best Gritty Memoir goes to Margaux Gragoso’s Tiger, Tiger, which I can’t bring myself to put down. It’s like watching a car crash, only instead of witnessing a massive, unfeeling ball of steel mash into another, I’m witnessing a young girl die inside and wither away. It’s both gross and engrossing and probably one of the most mind-numbing (in a good way) books I’ve ever read. It’s sad to see the manipulation of the modern Humbert and the raw emotion of the young Lolita-slash-Margaux. It’s dirty and gritty and sad, but what’s sadder is that the young Margaux truly does love her pedophile, in the simplest, sickest way imaginable. Oof.

Happy (early) Sant Jordi!

Post a comment

Hi, I'm Marian.
By day, I'm a PR maven with a nerdy affinity for research and branding. By night, I'm an explorer; I delve into books, food, design, and the murky waters of my own psyche, then share my musings here.





Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: