2009 reading list
It's been quite a while since I've posted and I thought I'd sum up my year with my reading list.
I read some books I really loved in the last year and had some strange serendipitous pairings. I read two books back to back that had main characters named Penelope and I read two books where the main characters grew up on a commune in New Mexico.
I have a long list of books I hope to get to soon, that I didn't read in 2009, and will see if I can get to them in 2010. I'm optimistic about a new year of reading great things! If you have suggestions that I shouldn't miss out on feel free to leave them in the comments!
In order of reading....
Up for Renewal by Cathy Alter. This seemed like a good read to start the year and it was and enjoyable read about a girl who I didn't really like at first, but loved the story of her crazy challenge to better herself via magazine advice.
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich. I love her crazy characters and even though they are getting repetitive, they still make me laugh.
Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg. This is one long strange book. I loved it. Circus performers, giant man made earthquakes, world wide espionage plots and nuns.
Spade and Archer by Joe Gores. This is a prequel to the Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I loved the way it gave insight into the Sam Spade character that you see in the Maltese Falcon. Joe Gores did a great job of capturing the tone and pace of Maltese Falcon. It might not have hurt that I read this by the pool in Mexico.
The Condition by Jennifer Haigh. I picked this up at PLA in 2008, but didn't get around to reading it until 2009. This is the story of a family falling (fallen) apart. Each character is interesting, if not likeable and I particularly like the character with 'the condition'.
All True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I loved this book. I listened to it on audio book read by the author and loved his reading. This book deserves all the awards and attention it's gotten. I also loved meeting Sherman Alexie in April. He's as charming and brutally honest in person as he is in the book. He aslo told a great story about reading the masturbation chapter out loud at the Bush White House.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This is a fascinating look at success. Malcolm Gladwell thinks about things differently and is so easy to read. I loved it and still think about the chapters on math, airlines and hockey players. I've got another of his books on my ipod for 2010.
The Hypocrisy of Disco by Clane Hayward. This book was sent to my by Kathy. She was intrigued by the name and noticed the main character was born the same year as me. I loved this book of the most disfunctional 'family' I've ever read about. The amazing story of Clane Hayward is heartbreaking and funny and the fact that she lived to write it makes me believe in the amazing power of an individual to overcome amazing circumstances.
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. I thought this might be along the lines of Outliers and in a way it was. It was more about the difference between right brained and left brained individuals and the direction our society is moving. It isn't as fun to read or nearly the concept as well demonstrated as Outliers but it was an interesting read.
Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks. I liked the characters in this book about a woman's world turned upside down. It was an interesting read.
Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn. This was a pure escapist read. Chick lit set in New York. It was a fun read.
Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This is one that has been on my list for quite some time because I love to read about librarians in fiction. This was an interesting premise and although I thought it got bogged down in dark stuff a few times I loved the characters and the very end.
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich. Another pure fun, escapist read.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I chatted with this author at PLA and got a signed copy of this book. The racing part didn't really interest me so I waited too long to read it. It was a great read and I wish I had talked a bit more with the author about it when I had the chance.
The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I loved Gentlemen of the Road and Kathy recommended this book to me long ago. I loved the characters, time period and the amount of ground this book covers. I love the way Michael Chabon writes and thinks. I'm looking forward to his other books.
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. I read a review that said this was a cross between Mark Twain and Charles Dickens so I had to give it a try. Orphans, con men, a dwarf, giant, evil factory owner, grave robbing, kind hearted rooming house lady all wrapped up in a fun and sometimes funny read.
Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry. Also known as Crazy Aunt Purl on her knitting blog, Laurie Perry is very funny. I love her blog and although much of the material in the book was familiar, it was different than I expected and still made me laugh. Her new book is called Home is Where the Wine is, and it's on my list for this year.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. This is a fascinating look at a women's lives in China in the 1800's. The relationships and social constraints seem alien and fascinating. It's much like a Jane Austen novel in that much of it takes place in the upstairs rooms where women gather.
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I avoided reading this for the longest time because I had the mistaken idea that this was the tale of a perfect women, methodically ticking off the recipes in Julia Child's book. I couldn't have been more wrong. It's so much more interesting and crazy. I heard Julie Powell speak and she's just as crazy if not more so than she comes across in her book. I have her next book, Cleaving, loaded on my ipod.
Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford. The subtitle of this book is " an inquiry into the value of work". I was intrigued by the title of this book and as someone who loves to make things with my hands thought I would love it. Although I agree with many of the arguments in this book I didn't really like it. Most of them seemed self evident and not very interestingly made. If this subject interests you, then Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one I could recommend. Although it's fiction, it makes the same arguments in a more interesting and compelling tale.
The Feasting Season by Nancy Coons. Writers, travel, cooking, France, passion, festivals, food, what more can you want in a novel. I really enjoyed this book.
Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. I love this writer. Her books are well researched, beautifully written and never predictable. This one is set in a convent in Italy in the 1700's and deals with one novice resisting and then adapting to a life she didn't chose and never expected to have. I haven't finished it, but am more than halfway through so it goes on the 2009 reading list.
Looking forward to a great year of reading in 2010! Happy New Year.