Tuesday, December 28, 2010

While we wait -- Off-topic: Books

So, while we wait for Michelle's big news, I thought I would offer the last of this year's "Off-topic: Books" posts.

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.
If you're interested, here are the first three quarters.

What are you reading in 2011?


Gerbicks said...

i read 'never let me go' a few months ago. yep, utterly depressing but loved it. thanks for the book lists--i need much help to find new books to read...

~she~ said...

Wow...I'm impressed! I'm more on an average of 1 book every 7 months! :) It's a shame too because I love to read. Good for you!

Hillary said...

I also should have mentioned "Faithful Place" by Tana French. It's her third novel and I think her best. Set in Ireland, like all of her books, it's a detective story about family and class. Very very good.