Three Notable Books Read in 2013

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Roddy Doyle, The Guts.

Dublin novelist Roddy Doyle returned to his Barrytown stories with this follow-up to The Commitments. Twenty-some odd years after founding The Commitments, Jimmy Rabbitte is 47 years old and living in the suburbs and has just found out he has bowel cancer.  He spends his days running a website devoted to reuniting old Irish punk bands from the the 1980s and he has no time for that “fiddley-eye shite.” He also says “grand” a lot.

While times have changed – “D’yeh do the Facebook?” his father asks him – men, apparently, don’t as he embarks on an affair, chemotherapy, and a prank on the whole of Ireland. I generally enjoyed it, even if the women characters were a bit cardboard.

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Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

I have to admit I picked this up after his hilarious interview with Foxnews.com in which the interviewer seemed incredulous that a Muslim could write about Jesus. The interview went viral and it did wonders for his book sales.

The biography attempts to put Jesus’ life in its proper historical and cultural context and does a good job separating the Jesus Christ from the Jesus of Nazareth.

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Robert J. Sawyer, Red Planet Blues

I’ve read just about every Robert J. Sawyer book he’s written and I’ve always enjoyed the way he blend big ideas and personal dynamics and often through an optimistic point of view. These new novel, which revolves around a fossil hunt on Mars and consciousness uploaded into new robot bodies, is written in the hard boiled detective style. Perhaps this is a genre I don’t read very often but boy, it really didn’t work for me. I think between this and Triggers, he’s been coasting a bit. I’m sad to say this is the first Sawyer I’ve absolutely hated.

I didn’t read as much this year, mainly because I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and because I’m normally a slow reader, it takes me ages to finish them. Fortunately, as there is little chance he’ll finish The Winds of Winter anytime soon, I’ll should have more reading time in 2014.

(I don’t think that’s really his account)

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