As of today, I've read 85 books this year. I probably, almost definitely will finish one more book before the year ends -- "When Everything Changed" by Gail Collins. It's less than last year's total, which was just above 100 (102? 103? My list is at home.), but it's an average of 7 books a month. Considering it was my first year with two children, I'm pretty damn proud of myself.
Here's are the highlights of my reading list in the last quarter of 2010:
- Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro -- Depressing but lovely book that, though it's set in a dystopian future, feels like it might be set in mid-century.
- Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta -- This is a self-contained (ONE BOOK!) young adult fantasy. Don't roll your eyes. It's really good. And more adult than young. And it's really about heritage and identity. Read it.
- Sellevision, Augusten Burroughs -- Don't read this. I normally don't mention books I hate, but this is so bad, you deserve to be warned.
- The Glass Castle and Half-broke Horses, Jeannette Walls -- The first is a beautiful, gut-wrenching memoir. The second is a fictionalization of Walls' grandmother's remarkable life. I love true stories. Makes my family seem normal.
- Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier -- I couldn't remember this one at first, so maybe it wasn't great, but when my memory was jogged, I recall really liking this novel. The writing didn't wow me, but the subject matter -- women and archeology -- is surprisingly fascinating.
- Just Kids, Patti Smith -- I am not a huge fan of Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe, but the buzz around this memoir intrigued me, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Smith's writing is spare and elegant and her tales of New York City in the late 1960s and '70s have the feel of a fairytale.
- All They Ever Had, Rick Bragg -- I would read anything Bragg wrote. He recently published an essay about mayonnaise that was laugh-out-loud funny. This is a sort of memoir about the mill town where he grew up and what the mill did and meant to them. Sad, funny and perfect.
What are you reading in 2011?