Jeremy Elsberg’s Best Reads of 2014

spoonerMy name is Jeremy Elsberg, and I’ve lived and worked in Evanston for the past couple years.  I work as a remodeler and handyman mostly in Evanston as About Space Remodeling & Construction.  I have no more hobbies; I have 2 kids under 4.

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1) Spooner by Pete Dexter (2009)

Throughout the book, I was drawn into the events that the main character (Spooner) experienced, constantly wondering if they really happened the way he explained it (I believe its somewhat of a memoir) but also wondering how he ended up getting handed the plate he did.  I found myself wanting to read on probably because of the same reason there are gapers’ blocks on the Edens but also because, through it all, Spooner comes out not only alive but maybe even a little more resilient.

2) The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (2013)

At first, I was slightly annoyed at being interested in the lives of the aging group of camp friends Wolitzer writes about.  They seemed self-centered and not interesting at all.  Soon, however, I discovered that most of the characters (not all) were actually uninteresting.  I think being allowed to enter the lives of “uninteresting people” and see how they related to what most would describe as interesting people, let me ponder the same questions that Jules – one of the aging camp friends – pondered (e.g. What is success and happiness, and how do we achieve them?  Who do we call “friend” and why?).  It also helped reinforce for me the idea that everyone is actually interesting.

GoodAmerican.indd3) A Good American by Alex George (2012)

I liked the way George tied together the generations of characters he writes about, taking their stories over the years and highlighting the relationships that created the family this story is about.  Each time the author revisited an event, it was engaging to see how the narrator got a clearer picture of how he and his family members affected each other and how they came to be who and where they were.

4) The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling by Charlie Wing (2009)

It’s like a Richard Scarry book for builders- all that’s missing is Goldbug.

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