Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just the beginning

Here are books I read in 2009:
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
Good Omens Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
Affinity by Sarah Waters
Fool by Christopher Moore
It Sucked and then I Cried by Heather Armstrong
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
The Last Time I Was Me by Cathy Lamb
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Conner Browne
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Testimony by Anita Shreve
Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Vigil by Cecilia Samartin
How Do I Tell the Dog? by Miles Kington
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
The Physick of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Embers by Hyatt Bass
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
American Shaolin by Matthew Polly
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Boomsday by Christopher Buckley
Run by Ann Patchett
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
Straight Man by Richard Russo
Caribbean by James Michener
Garnethill by Denise Mina
The Box by Richard Matheson
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
When She Flew, by Jennie Shortridge
The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith
Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
What Wendell Wants by Jenny Lee
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard

It’s pretty satisfying, seeing the list of books for 2009. I’ve never kept track of what I read (and in what order, not that that matters, but if you’re interested, the books I read starting in January 2009 are at the top…).

Some of them will stick with me more than others…The Help was one I really enjoyed. There is a reason it is still on bestseller lists. Told from the point of view of three women in the South in the 1960’s, it really captured (it seemed to me) what was going on in the 60's with civil rights, etc. It told a larger story on a personal level. At first the first narrator’s ‘voice’ didn’t feel/seem authentic to me, but I went with it and ended up loving it.

There are several on that list by Christopher Moore…one of my ATF’s (All Time Favorites. I just made that up). Sometimes his stuff can be really wacky, too wacky for me, though I really liked Coyote Blue and The Stupidest Angel. My favorite of his is Lamb…these were good too. I’d been part of a bookring by mail for Coyote Blue and I had to buy a copy for myself after I sent it on.

The Art of Racing in the Rain…really really enjoyed that one, told from the point of view of Enzo, the dog, the story was engaging, funny, touching, sad…a wonderful read.

A Mountain of Crumbs…I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of this, it's just been released. In it, Elena tells the story of her childhood in Russia…great to get a glimpse into a childhood that was so different than mine. Somewhere (in some of the promotional literature maybe?), it described it at a Russian Angela’s Ashes…um, maybe, though I enjoyed this one more than Angela’s Ashes.

A couple of them made me laugh, really laugh, which is just the best. Heather Armstrong’s It Sucked and then I Cried was one, this is her book version (from her blog) of getting pregnant and having a baby. I’m sure part of my enjoyment was the distance I have from being pregnant and having babies, which is just fine with me. Also Jill Connor Browne’s Sweet Potato Queen’s Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit was very funny. I first heard about the Sweet Potato Queens when I (almost randomly) chose her first book on audio at the public library for a road trip I was taking. I had no idea what to expect, figured if I didn’t like it, I could stop listening to it. She is the reader on the audio version and there were times I was laughing so hard I was crying. I read this one all by myowneself, though she is great on audio.

Oh, by the way, WELCOME TO THE BLOG. Obviously, this is not the New York Times Book Review, this is written by a person (or maybe 2) who loves books, buys them, sells them, reads them and maybe even writes them.

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