Archive for January 1st, 2010

And So It Begins…

January 1, 2010 @ 8:43 pm | Filed under:

“For some weeks now I have been engaged in dispersing the contents of this apartment, trying to persuade hundreds of inanimate objects to scatter and leave me alone. It is not a simple matter.”

—”Good-bye to Forty-eighth Street,”
Essays of E. B. White, page one

Can you say, ‘had me at hello’?

2009 Booklist

January 1, 2010 @ 1:08 pm | Filed under:

Gosh I read some good stuff in 2009.

I’ve been tinkering with this post for days and am just going to give up and post it, despite some screwy links. I’ll fix it later, maybe. Or I might be too busy reading.

Updated 1/2/10: Links fixed. I think. Let me know if you find any errors. Also: I added a couple of titles I missed, including the Lizzie Skurnick book, and took out the “books I haven’t finished yet” section because I realized there were many more titles to add to that list and it ought to be its own post.

Fiction I especially enjoyed:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (notes)
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (notes)
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (notes)
The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope (notes)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (notes)
Lost by Jacqueline Davies (notes)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (discussion)
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (notes)
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (discussion)
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett (notes)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Books written by real-life friends (I hit the jackpot here this year):

The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher
Chocolate Unwrapped by Rowan Jacobsen (notes)
Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen (notes)
The Rosary by Karen Edmisten (notes)
Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor by Mike Costa and Fiona Staples
Damosel by Stephanie Spinner (post)
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby
Alphonse Issue 1 (comic book by Matthew Lickona, illustrated by Christopher Gugliotti)

Classics I’m glad I made time for:

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (a favorite re-read)
Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Washington Square by Henry James (notes)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (yes, again)
• “The Sisters” by James Joyce

Books about books and culture:

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (notes)
Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby (notes here, here)
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (notes)
The Film Club: A Memoir by David Gilmour (notes)
The Twilight of American Culture by Morris Berman
Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick

Middle-grade and YA fiction:

Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (notes)
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace (notes)
Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace (notes)
Meet the Malones by Lenora Mattingly Weber
Beany Malone by Lenora Mattingly Weber
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiana
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (notes)
Rules by Cynthia Lord (notes)
The Plain Princess by Phyllis McGinley
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde (notes)

Adult fiction:

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale (notes and discussion)
Strangers and Sojourners by Michael D. O’Brien (one of his best)
Plague Journal by Michael D. O’Brien
Eclipse of the Sun by Michael D. O’Brien (not one of his best)
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (notes)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall (notes)
The Moving Finger (Miss Marple Mysteries) by Agatha Christie
The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer (notes)
World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler (notes)

Harrowing memoirs:

The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland
George & Sam: Two Boys, One Family, and Autism by Charlotte Moore (brief notes)
Night by Elie Wiesel


Taming of the Shrew
A Man for All Seasons


Yeats, Heaney, Frost, Dickinson, Van Duyn, Collins, Baggott, Milne, Stevenson, Longfellow, and others

I can’t help but notice that I didn’t read a great many of the books I thought I was going to read. Declaring my readerly intentions on the blog seemed to be a particularly dooming act; the contrarian in me quietly rearranged my TBR list every time I posted one. And yet I have just as strong an urge as ever to fill up this space with Lists of Books I Intend to Read, No Really, I Mean It This Time, in 2010. Starting with…no, no! I must be strong. No TBR lists.