Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 in review: Books

Last entry I reviewed my 2009 in travel. This time (for the fourth year), books. Here's a list of the books I read in 2009, followed by some stats:

1. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
2. Once Removed - Neil Finn & Mark Smith
3. The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
4. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
5. Stuart Little - E.B. White
6. Sad American Mythology - Ryan Adams
7. The Little Book - Selden Edwards
8. Feathers - Jacqueline Woodson
9. Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins - Emma Donoghue
10. Stalking Irish Madness - Patrick Tracey
11. Scattershot - David Lovelace
12. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate DiCamillo
13. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
14. Voluntary Madness - Norah Vincent
15. The Trumpet of the Swan - E.B. White
16. R.E.M.: Hello - David Belisle & Michael Stipe
17. The World in Six Songs - Daniel J. Levitin
18. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
19. Long Way Down - Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
20. Three Willows - Ann Brashares
21. When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson
22. King Dork - Frank Portman
23. Coop - Michael Perry
24. A Day on Skates: The Story of a Dutch Picnic - Hilda Van Stockum
25. That Lass o' Lowrie's - Frances Hodgson Burnett
26. The View From Mount Joy - Lorna Landvik
27. The Americans - Robert Frank
28. Amsterdam - Ian McEwan
29. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
30. Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
31. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
32. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
33. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
34. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
35. In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom - Qanta A. Ahmed, MD
36. Hands of My Father - Myron Uhlberg
37. Snark - David Denby
38. The Girl Who Could Fly - Victoria Forester
39. And Both Were Young - Madeleine L'Engle
40. An Acceptable Time - Madeleine L'Engle
41. Travels With Charley - John Steinbeck
42. Do Polar Bears Get Lonely? - NewScientist
43. The Small Rain - Madeleine L'Engle
44. A Severed Wasp - Madeleine L'Engle
45. Hiding in the Spotlight - Greg Dawson
46. The Crow Road - Iain Banks
47. Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas
48. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
49. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
50. The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb
51. The Host - Stephenie Meyer
52. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
53. A Corner of the Universe - Ann M. Martin
54. Angels & Insects - A.S. Byatt
55. The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet - Neil DeGrasse Tyson
56. An Echo in the Bone - Diana Gabaldon
57. Agnes Cecelia - Maria Gripe
58. A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
59. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
60. Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
61. Voyager - Diana Gabaldon
62. Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon
63. Fiery Cross - Diana Gabaldon
64. A Breath of Snow and Ashes - Diana Gabaldon
65. A Widow for One Year - John Irving
66. Nothing But Ghosts - Beth Kephart
67. Everything Beautiful in the World - Lisa Levchuk
68. The Mistress's Daughter - A.M. Homes
69. The Areas of My Expertise - John Hodgman
70. The Birthing House - Christopher Ransom
71. Twilight Children - Torey Hayden
72. Joys of Love - Madeleine L'Engle
73. American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson
74. Julie and Julia - Julie Powell
75. Moon Palace - Paul Auster
76. A Gate at the Stairs - Lorrie Moore

Total books read: 76. 
I read one fewer book in 2009 than I did in 2008.

By male authors: 30 (40%) 
By female authors: 45 (59%) 
By both: 1 (0.1%)

Previously read: 15 (20% - up from 2008's 4%)
Marketed for children/teens: 20 (26% - yow!)
Fiction: 55 (72%) Nonfiction: 21 (28%)
In 2009, unlike 2008, fiction ruled.  

Looking at these statistics, it's clear: for much of 2009 I was in the mood for light, simple, familiar, made-up stories.  Interesting.  (Of course, I didn't count all the New Yorkers I read.)  Maybe the busier I am with other things, the less I want to think deeply about what I'm reading.  Or, my patience is growing shorter as I get older?  I'm going to try to challenge myself a little more in 2010.  

You should definitely read: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Coop by Michael Perry.  I was a bit late getting to The Poisonwood Bible, and I'm sorry I waited so long to read this enthralling book.  It is fiction, but not light or simple.  Coop is an excellent memoir; the latest in a line of excellent memoirs by Michael Perry.   He's one of the folks who make me glad to be a Wisconsinite, even if my hometown an hour's drive from Chicago bears little resemblance to his. 

Don't bother reading: The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  I mean, unless you have a sneaking suspicion you might enjoy it.  Then go ahead, but be warned that they're like crack.  If crack included some awesomely horrible dialogue.  Also, prepare to spend a good week or two afterward supremely frustrated because Meyer has no current plans to finish her draft of Midnight Sun, which is Twilight from Edward's perspective.  Arg!  

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