Thursday, December 18, 2008

swoon as chaperone

This is premature since I'm currently reading some books I'll likely finish before the end of the year. Nevertheless, here are the books I read this past year, excluding e-books and art books without much text. It seems like a lot (to me) but some are poetry chapbooks that I read in an afternoon.

The 17 books that are bold and asterisked are those that I found especially worth the time. I threw in one-word reviews at no extra cost. But many others on the list are also very good. For instance, why did I leave out "Mothers of Invention" and "The Slaves of Solitude?" Sometimes I just have to stop asterisking.

It would be easier to talk about those I wouldn't recommend, such as "Moravagine," which would earn the bottom spot. A shame, and a surprise, since I love Blaise Cendrars' poetry. Love. Top of the list would be "Stoner," which reads like soul food.

I probably reviewed half of these at GoodReads, if you go there.

1. Schindler’s List – – Thomas Keneally (Jan)* -- heartening
2. The Color of Blood – Brian Moore (Jan)
3. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink (Jan)
4. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro (Jan)* -- worrying
5. Novels in Three Lines – Felix Feneon
6. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (Jan)* -- uncanny
7. From the Hidden Storehouse – Benjamin Peret (Feb)* -- wild
8. Rule of the Bone – Russell Banks (Feb)
9. Last Orders – Graham Swift (Feb)
10. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion (Feb)* -- devastating
11. Elegy on Toy Piano – Dean Young
12. Eclipse – John Banville (march)
13. A Dangerous Friend – Ward Just (march)
14. Post Meridian – Mary Ruefle (march)
15. This Republic Of Suffering – Drew Gilpin Faust (mar)* -- fascinating
16. Talk Poetry – Mairead Byrne (apr)* -- refreshing
17. The Floating Island - Pablo Medina (apr)
18. Poet’s Choice – Edward Hirsch (apr)
19. The Kiss – Kathryn Harrison (apr)
20. The Way Birds Become – Joseph Bradshaw (may)* -- delightful
21. Language for a New Century: Poetry From the Middle East, Asia & Beyond (may)
22. Stoner – John Williams (May)* -- perfect
23. Epitaph of a Small Winner – Machado de Assis (June)
24. The Lost – Daniel Mendelsohn (July)* -- soulful
25. The Gathering – Anne Enright (July)
26. The Nature of Things – Francis Ponge (July)* --pointed
27. Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegman (July)
28. The Best Short Stories of 2002 (july)
29. Instructions from the Narwhal – Allison Titus (summer)
30. Divisadero – Michael Ondaatje (july)* -- different
31. The Room Where I Was Born – Brian Teare
32. Perfumes – Luca Turin & Maria Sanchez
33. Remarkable Trees – Thomas Parkenham (aug)
34. Moravagine – Blaise Cendrars (aug)
35. The Thirteenth Month – Inge Pederson (aug)
36. I Feel Bad About my Neck – Nora Ephron
37. Recovering the Body – Nicole Cartwright Denison
38. Orange Girl – Simone Muench
39. The Animal Husband – Christine Hamm
40. See Also Electric Light – Jen Tynes
41. The Traffic in Women – Kristina Marie Darling
42. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls (aug)* -- endearing
43. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Jean-Dominique Bauby (Aug)
44. Mothers of Invention – Drew Gilpin Faust (Sept)
45. But What – Judith Herzberg (Sept)
46. The Catastrophist – Ronan Bennett (Sept)
47. The Alphabet in the Park – Adele Prado (Sept)
48. Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange – Kevin Griffith (Sept)
49. The Great Enigma – Tomas Transtromer (Oct)
50. The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton (Oct)
51. Decoy – Elaine Equi (Oct)
52. The Door in the Mountain – Jean Valentine
53. Samuel Coleridge Is Indignant – Lydia Davis (oct)
54. German Twentieth Century Poetry – ed. Michael Hoffman (oct)* --smorgasborgish
55. The Road – Cormac McCarthy (Oct)* -- essential
56. Photography Past/Forward: Aperture at 50 (Oct)
57. Ooga-Booga – Friedrich Siegel (Oct)* -- truthful
58. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami (Nov)* -- wildflowery
59. In the Kingdom of My Familiar – Julie Platt (Nov)
60. Astonishing Splashes of Color – Claire Morrall (Nov)
61. Books v. Cigarettes – George Orwell (Dec)
62. The Art Lover – Carole Maso (Dec)
63. The Pilgrim Hawk - Glenway Wescott (Dec)
64. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga (Dec)


Talia said...

I've been wanting to read "The Year of Magical Thinking" for some time. I forgot about it.

SarahJane said...

I loved that one. Sad and at the same time analytical. I hope you'll like it. Some people find it a turn-off.

Valerie Loveland said...

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is one of my favorites!

I also keep track of every book I read each year. Maybe I'll post my (much shorter) list too.

Anonymous said...

you're a machine sarahj!
missing you in the 30insanity. come back sooooooooon!

SarahJane said...

I'm surprised how many books I read this year. And I'm sure to add at least two more to the list before 2009.
I think it helped that I joined a "challenge" at the beginning of the year to read six Booker Prize winners or nominees. That was a mixed bag, truly, but I got the Ishiguro out of it, and am happy there's still one book of his I haven't read. Gives me something to look forward to.

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