Posts Tagged ‘books’

What I read in 2016

January 1, 2017


At left, photo of The Windup Girl, a book set in Thailand, next to fried rice at a Thai restaurant (Bamboo); because every once in a while my reading matches my eating.

Past editions of this list: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. This list is also available in pictorial format at Pinterest.

It was a good year for reading here! Thirty-three books finished, including books read at the Grand Canyon and in London on family trips, and at least one I read in the hospital (kidney stones). I’m a slow reader who likes long books, so anything over 30 books finished is a pretty good year for me. Also, I stop reading books without guilt; so assume I also didn’t finish a dozen or so titles.

BG=Book Group selection. I’m in two book groups, so a lot of my reading is driven by that.  Just because I read a book and listed it here doesn’t mean I liked it or would recommend it.  Female author/male author ratio: 19/14; Fiction/nonfiction ratio: 28:5.

These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.

1. Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

2. Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

3. Rachel Adams, Raising Henry BG

4. Barry Unsworth, Morality Play

5. Kimberly Elkins, What is Visible BG

6. Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins

7. Magnus Flyte, City of Dark Magic

8. M. R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

9. Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe

10. Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project BG

11. Angela Carter, Heroes and Villains

12. Laline Paull, The Bees

13. Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette BG

14. Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members

15. Lisa See, China Dolls

16. David Finch, Journal of Best Practices BG

17. Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account

18. Hannah Kent, Burial Rites BG

19. Gregory Sherl, The Future for Curious People

20. Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Liebowitz

21. Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle

22. Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took my Dog

23. Sam Kean, Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons BG

24. Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves BG

25. Carol Rivka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

26. Paolo Bacigalupi, Windup Girl

27. Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride BG

28. Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

29. Tommy Wallach, We All Looked Up BG

30. Kit Reed, Where

31. Ashok Rajamani, The Day My Brain Exploded BG

32. Mark Salzman, The Soloist

33. Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants BG




What I read in 2014

January 3, 2015

Past editions of this list: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. This list is also available in pictorial format at Pinterest.

It was a good year for reading here! Thirty-eight books finished. Some illustrated books, some YA novels, one academic book read for review. BG=Book Group selection. I’m in two book groups, so a lot of my reading is driven by that.

This year in books (for me) was shaped by the closing of Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach in the late spring, the first of several local business closures this year that upset my routines–RIP Cork’er, Neighborhood Grinds, Soup Bar, and soon, Harmony Works.

These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.

1. Jo Walton, Farthing

2. Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

3. Kirsten Miller, Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers

4. Meg Wollitzer, The Ten-Year Nap BG

5. Hanya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees

6. Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump

7. David Handler, Runaway Man

8. Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam

9. Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea BG

10. Helen Dunmore, The Greatcoat

11. Colum McCann, Transatlantic

12. Jessica Ellen Sewell, Woman and the Everyday City

13. Andy Weir, The Martian

14. Jeff Vandermeer, Authority

15. Lauren Groff, Arcadia BG

16. Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves BG

17. Gerbrand Bakker, Ten White Geese

18. Rupert Thomson, Divided Kingdom

19. Jane Jeong Trenka, The Language of Blood

20. Octavia Butler, Fledgling

21. Paul Auster, Book of Illusions

22. Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch BG

23. Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

24. Tana French, Faithful Place

25. Natalie Danford, Inheritance

26. Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being BG

27. Jeff Vandermeer, Acceptance

28. Cory Doctorow, Little Brother BG

29. David Gerrold, The Martian Child

30. Hari Kunzru, Transmission

31. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland BG

32. Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations BG

33. Jo Walton, My Real Children

34. Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers

35. Jonathan Auxier, The Night Gardener

36. Kenny Fries, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory BG

37. M. L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans BG

38. John Scalzi, Lock In

What I read in 2013

December 31, 2013

Past editions of this list:  2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.  This list is also available in pictorial format at Pinterest.

It was a good year for reading here!  Thirty-nine books finished.  Some illustrated books, some YA novels–and I counted 1Q84 as THREE books, because it is. 😉 BG=Book Group selection.  I’m in two book groups, so a lot of my reading is driven by that. Also, I’ve been getting a lot of advanced reader copies from Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, so some of these were read in that format (one of the books listed, Annihilation, won’t be published until February 2014, for example).  Finally, this was the first year I read any books on a Kindle (starting with The Age of Miracles).

These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.

1.  Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (BG)
2. Jo Walton, Among Others (BG)
3. Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
4. Cory Doctorow, Eastern Standard Tribe
5. Lisa Genova, Left Neglected
6. Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins (BG)
7. Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
8. Melanie Gideon, Wife 22 (BG)
9. Katy Gardner, Losing Gemma
10.-12. Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 (three volumes)
13. Cheryl Strayed, Wild (BG)
14. Kirsten Miller, Kiki Strike:  Inside the Shadow City
15. Erik Larson, Thunderstruck (BG)
16. Marisha Pessl, Night Film
17. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
18. Jim Knipfel, Slackjaw (BG)
19. Kirsten Miller, Kiki Strike:  The Empress’s Tomb
20. Jim Knipfel, Quitting the Nairobi Trio
21.  Karen Thompson Walker, The Age of Miracles
22. Peter Heller, The Dog Stars
23.  Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden
24. Susan Nussbaum, Good Kings Bad Kings (BG)
25.  Kirsten Menger-Anderson, Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain
26.  Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum (BG)
27.  Nick Bantock, The Forgetting Room
28.  Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
29.  Amy Gail Hansen, The Butterfly Sister
30. Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation
31. Nick Bantock, The Venetian’s Wife
32. Lisa Brackmann, Hour of the Rat
33. Thrity Umrigar, The Space Between Us (BG)
34.  Tana French, In the Woods
35.  Julian Barnes, England, England
36.  Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog (BG)
37.  John Scalzi, Redshirts
38.  Tana French, The Likeness
39. Ann Patchett, The Patron Saint of Liars (BG)

What I read in 2009

January 2, 2010

BG=Book Group selection.  I’m in two book groups (and sometimes a third), so a lot of my reading is driven by that.  These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.  I don’t read very fast, and I don’t read a lot of short books, so 23 books in a year is kinda good for me.

1. April Witch (Majgull Axelsson)

2. People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks) BG

3. Planet of the Blind (Stephen Kuusisto) BG

4. A Fraction of the Whole (Steve Toltz) BG

5. Idiocy: A Cultural History (Patrick McDonagh)

6. Out of Joint (Mary Felstiner) BG

7. The Book Borrower (Alice Mattison) BG

8. The Unheard (Josh Swiller) BG

9. The Diagnosis (Alan Lightman)

10. Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri) BG

11. The Air We Breathe (Andrea Barrett) BG

12. A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You (Amy Bloom)

13. When We Were Orphans (Kazuo Ishiguro) BG

14. Black Snake Green (David Mitchell)

15. The Peppered Moth (Margaret Drabble)

16. Franklin Flyer (Nicholas Christopher) BG

17. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Steig Larsson) BG

18. The Monsters of Templeton (Lauren Groff)

19. The Fig Eater (Jody Shields)

20. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows) BG

21. Hippolyte’s Island  (Barbara Hodgson)

22. The Confessions of Madame Psyche (Dorothy Bryant)

23.  Up in the Air (Walter Kirn) BG

Quote for a birthday weekend

April 25, 2009

From a recent book group read:

“The most terrifying words you could hear in our house came out of Anouk’s mouth when you had a birthday coming up. ‘I’m making you something,’ she’d say, and no smile was wide enough to conceal the oceans of dread bubbling beneath.”
–Steven Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole (p. 367)

What I read in 2008

January 7, 2009

BG=Book Group selection.  I’m in two book groups (and sometimes a third), so a lot of my reading is driven by that.  These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.  I don’t read very fast, so 29 books in a year is pretty good for me (but several of them are very short novels, and a few were revisits).

1. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories (Susanna Clarke)

2. The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)  BG

3. Ghostwritten (David Mitchell)

4. The Ship Captain’s Wife (Martha Hodes) BG

5. Passing for Normal (Amy S. Wilensky) BG

6. Triangle: The Fire that Changed America (David von Drehle)

7. Kindred (Octavia Butler) BG–re-read.

8. Mapping Fate (Alice Wexler)  BG–re-read.

9. Don’t Let’s Go Down to the Dogs Tonight (Alexandra Fuller) BG

10. Memory Keeper’s Daughter (Kim Edwards) BG

11. Anil’s Ghost (Michael Ondaatje) BG

12. The Center Cannot Hold (Elyn Saks) BG

13. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay (Michael Chabon) BG

14. Sarah Canary (Karen Joy Fowler)

15. Lying Awake (Mark Salzman)

16. The Bookshop (Penelope Fitzgerald)

17. The Museum at Purgatory (Nick Bantock)

18. Moving Violations (John Hockenberry) BG

19. A Guide for the Perplexed (Jonathan Levi)

20. The Sensualist (Barbara Hodgson)

21. Wheeling the Deal: The Outrageous Legend of Gordon Zahler, Hollywood’s Flashiest Quadriplegic (Chip Jacobs)

22. Daughter of Fortune (Isabel Allende) BG

23. My Body Politic (Simi Linton) BG

24. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz) BG

25. Memoirs of a Spacewoman (Naomi Mitchison)

26. March (Geraldine Brooks)

27. Sister Moon (Karen Joy Fowler)

28. Riven Rock (TC Boyle)  BG

29.  Eavesdropping (Stephen Kuusisto)  BG–re-read

We’re in the New Yorker–er, kinda…

November 7, 2008

There’s an old picture of me and Nell dressed as Hester Prynne and baby Pearl from the Scarlet Letter at the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog–click through the slideshow of literary Halloween costumes, we’re hard to miss!  We won best mother-child costume at our very first MOMS Club meeting in those costumes, in 2000.  The dress on Nell was her baptismal gown; the Scarlet Letter on my chest was embroidered by my mother when I was in high school, which tells you how long I’ve been dressing as Hester Prynne, every few years…


October 30, 2008

I love that sound around 11am, when little boxes get delivered by the postal carrier to my doorstep.  Today’s little box held three copies of a new book I’ve got a chapter in.  Very nice-looking paperbacks, all shiny, good size and shape, nifty cover illustration (see at left)–yup, I’m in there, chapter 15.  Cool.

My segment is about disability history archives and museums online (adapted from an article I wrote a few years back for a special issue of Public Historian), but the other chapters are really diverse, with fun titles like “Collecting Eyewear on eBay,” “Tales from the Thrift,” and “I Want my MP3s.”   I’m really looking forward to checking some of them out.

Unread books meme

May 11, 2008

Apparently these are the books most frequently listed as “Not Read” on librarything. You’re supposed to bold the ones you’ve finished, italicize the ones that you’ve started but not finished, and star the ones you also have on your tbr shelves…

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
*The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

The ones I’ve read are mostly things I read for a book group or for school–like I don’t think I would have picked up “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” on my own. There are a lot I haven’t read, but have seen in multiple film adaptations (like the Jane Austens). I’ve heard parts of Freakonomics in Peter’s car on CD, and I have all of the Librivox version of Pride and Prejudice on my iPod, so I listen to bits of that when the mood strikes. Peter has read Dune, Watership Down, Catch-22, 1984, and The Hobbit, so he’s got those covered. Oh, and we saw an exhibit based on Jared Diamond’s Collapse at the Natural History Museum, and he’s on the radio a lot here–local professor. I think Peter read Guns, Germs, and Steel, too, come to think of it.

Julie, consider yourself tagged.