"The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje
Booker-prize winner story of the intersection of the lives of four damaged people in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. If you've seen the movie, it follows the book closely. Which is to say that this is hard book to keep track of as Ondaatje goes back and forth in time with each of the characters, Hana (a nurse), Caravaggio (a thief), Kip (an Indian sapper), and the hideously burned, unnamed English patient. This book is simply beautiful and poetic.
"Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders" by Neil Gaiman
This group of short stories alternatively intrigued, bored and confused me. I quite enjoyed some of the stories and thought I might want to read more Gaiman. Then the next story would leave wondering "what the heck?"
I know a lot of you out there are big Gaiman fans. Please tell me why I would want to risk spending the time reading an entire novel. Because I saw enough to convince me that Gaiman can write a good story; just not enough to convince me that all of them are.
"Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert
The synopsis of this book on BN.com calls this book "a brilliant portrayal of infidelity." Huh?
A motherless, dreamy young woman marries a country doctor but soon becomes disillusioned with her life and yearns for passion in her life. She begins having affairs and running up massive bills. See, I think I was supposed to feel sorry for Emma Bovary. But I didn't. I thought she was whiny, and needy and selfish. I get that for a woman of that time, in those circumstances, her options were limited. But I still think she could have made choices that would have made her life more fulfilling. Which made me not really care whether or not the book was well written.