Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Year in Books: 2009

And so here is my final tally! In 2009, I actually read fifty-THREE books! I feel quite accomplished, and it certainly was an arduous undertaking. I answered some specifics regarding books and how I read and what I choose to read in this post, but here I'll list all the books and my star ratings! The ones in bold have become a part of my all-time favourite books list. Leave a comment if you have any more questions or inquiries regarding the project or if you too love a book I loved or are even doing your own reading of fifty two books for 2010! I think we all know I love to talk about books!

01 A Clash of Kings, George R.R. Martin (01.05.09) ****
02 World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks (01.18.09) ****
03 Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer (01.20.09) *
04 The Road, Cormac McCarthy (01.22.09) *****
05 Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughn (01.27.09) ***
06 Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyers (01.31.09) **
07 Infinity Blues, Ryan Adams (02.12.09) ****
08 The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 (02.28.09) ****
09 First Love, Ivan S. Turgenev (03.08.09) ****
10 Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (03.15.09) *****
11 Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (03.16.09) *****
12 The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (03.24.09) *****
13 Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro Kazuo (03.29.09) *****
14 The Last Vampire, Christopher Pike (04.05.09) *****
15 Whisper of Death, Christopher Pike (04.13.09) *****
16 Monster, Christopher Pike (04.21.09) ****
17 A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin (04.30.09) *****
18 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Seth Grahame-Smith (05.15.09) ****
19 Crimson, Brian Augustyn (06.15.09) **
20 2666, Roberto Bolaño (06.07.09) *****
21 The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson (06.17.09) ****
22 The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett (06.19.09) ****
23 The Lover, Marguerite Duras (06.22.09) *****
24 The Sound of My Voice, Ron Butlin (06.25.09) *****
25 Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy (07.07.09) ***
26 L.A. Confidential (Film Criticism), Manohla Dargis (07.10.09) ****
27 Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea, Chelsea Handler (07.12.09) *****
28 Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card (07.18.09) *****
29 The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (07.26.09) ****
30 Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger (08.05.09) ****
31 Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion (08.09.09) *****
32 Seven (Film Criticism), Richard Dyer (08.15.09) ****
33 Delta of Venus, Anais Nin (08.17.09) *****
34 The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende (08.23.09) *****
35 The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters (09.05.09) ****
36 To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (09.10.09) **
37 White Teeth, Zadie Smith (09.27.09) *****
38 Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote (09.29.09) *****
39 Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Márquez (10.02.09) *****
40 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson (10.08.10) ****
41 Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson (10.12.09) ****
42 Perfect Fifths, Megan McCafferty (10.13.09) ****
43 The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (10.19.09) *****
44 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (10.27.09) ***
45 Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill (11.03.09) *****
46 Come Together, Fall Apart, Cristina Henriquez (11.09.09) *****
47 Daughters of the North, Sarah Hall (11.15.09) ***
48 Night, Elie Wiesel (11.16.09) *****
49 I, Lucifer, Glen Duncan (11.22.09) *
50 Delirium, Laura Restrepo (11.30.09) ****
51 1984, George Orwell (12.09.09) *****

52 Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (12.20.09) *****
53 The World in Half, Cristina Henriquez (12.29.09) *****

So what's next, then? What do I have planned for 2010? Well, as of January 1st, I began reading Tolstoy's behemoth War & Peace. I'm reading it with my fellow book club (FSJBCB) member, Sean, who you may remember read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina with me last year. Others have expressed their interest in our lofty goal and decided to join us, as well.

In related news: I've decided not to spend this year working towards reading another fifty-two books. Instead, I plan to read the gargantuan novels that reside on my shelves - the novels I was hesitant to pick up last year because they would take far too much time to read, really grasp, and enjoy. In 2010, I'm reading the big ones! I'm starting off with War & Peace, and will continue on through the year reading other novels like Bolano's The Savage Detectives, Steinbeck's East of Eden, and Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov - among other works. I'll continue to update my Goodreads page with my progress! I plan on keeping the same pace as I did last year in terms of how much reading, but my list will likely be much shorter because of the heavy tomes I've decided to take on.

Jesse really helped determine my goal this year - for Christmas, he got me a Kindle. He almost didn't get me one because I had railed against them in the past. I truly do love carrying a book, flipping it's pages, and sometimes studying it's cover. There's a tangibility there I cherish, and it's not available with e-books. However, I realized that with novels like War & Peace, it would be much harder to carry the 1800+ page book on the subway every day without feeling completely weighed down and burdened. Enter the lovely, beautiful, sleek and lightweight Kindle. I'll continue to buy actual books, but there are many reasons owning a Kindle is beneficial to my reading habits and future-library-planning. Besides having a much lighter version of a heavy book, there are some books I'd be interested in reading but not in owning (like certain best-sellers everyone is talking about), and the Kindle is absolutely perfect for travel. I don't have to lug a few books for a long trip like I did for the honeymoon (seriously, I brought like ten books, and books weigh so much!).

To everyone that is reading fifty-two books this year: GOOD LUCK! I'd love to hear about your own experiences doing so! Most are already my Goodreads friends, but if you're not, add me! I love hearing about what others are reading, and if you happen to be blogging about it - the better. Leave me a link!


  1. Ok I have been very anti kindle but you list some valid reasons to use one. I've been leaving my large heavy books for weekend reading and lighter books for subway reading, it's kind of a pain.

  2. Haha, this list proves to me that we have very different taste in books - you are far more into your literature than I am - although I have read a few (emphasis on "few"!) on your list in the past.

  3. I really wanted to do the 52 book challenge, but now that I'm back in school I'm finding it difficult to get through one. I'm afraid 2666 might take me the whole of the semester to finish. I'm pretty sure I read at least 40 last year, so maybe I'll just have to be satisfied with an honorable mention.

  4. I'm doing a 60 book challenge this year, inspired by your 52 book challenge! I see it as, even if I'm in school I shouldn't have problems finding time on weekends and off time to read!

    And I've been so anti-Kindle for so long but the idea of not having to carry around those larger books is very appealing!

  5. 52 books is one of my many 2010 resolutions! I am still working on the first one... but I know I can do it. My books are focused on non-fiction and books that help me grow as a person. I'm sure some others will sprinkle in there as well :) Thanks for sharing. I hope you like your kindle!!!