Monday, December 31, 2007

Books Read, 2007

So, in the waning hours of the old year, it looks like 61 books for 2007. That's a little bit down from 66 in 2006, but since I'm partial to the number 61, I can deal with it nicely. Someday though, I hope to achieve my goal of 100 books a year. The impossible dream? The unreachable star?

In 2007, 38 books were fiction and 23 were non-fiction. I wish that the numbers could be a little more even. That'll surely happen in 2008, as I participate in the In Their Shoes Challenge.
I read 3 children's books and 2 Young Adult books.
I was surprised that I only read 4 graphic novels this year, since that's rapidly becoming a favorite category. That number should go up in 2008 since I'm also in the Graphic Novel Challenge. [I'm so close to buying a graphic biography of Emma Goldman, which would fit perfectly for both of these challenges.]
There's always the resolve to read books from as many different countries as possible, and once again my resolution, while not broken, is badly and sadly bent: [My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is all over me for this; she thinks that since I'm an expat, my reading should be a hell of a lot more global. What about that book of contemporary New Zealand short stories that TechnoKiwi brought back after last winter break? Gathering dust on Mt. TBR! I hang my head and sigh; the bitch is right this time]

Australia: 2
Brazil: 1
Canada: 1 [extreme guilt pangs, since I now know so many of my neighbo(u)rs to the North]
England: 15
Malaysia: 1
South Korea: 1
USA: 40

Books written 1700-1799: 1
Books written 1800-1899: 3
Books written 1900-1999: 24
Books written 2000-2007: 33

Books written by men: 30
Books written by women: 31

DNF: 3
Re-reads: 1

Pulitzer Prize Winners: 2 [I know there's a Pulitzer Challenge, but it's more fun for me just to chip away at the list here and there with no great plan]

Here's my complete list for 2007. The books that were standouts for me are highlighted in red.

1. The Good Earth - Pearl Buck [One off the Pulitzer Fiction list, and she deserved to win]

2. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray [I'm still haunted by that big question about Becky: Did she?]

3. Malcolm X - Randy Helfer and Chris DuBurke

4. Murder In Coweta County - Margaret Anne Barnes [also an excellent 1982 TV movie]

5. Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte

6. A Pound Of Paper - John Baxter

7. Shirley - Charlotte Bronte

8. Gilgamesh -Joan London [I hope to read more by this Australian author]

9. Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot Of Professor Poopypants -Dav Pilkey

10. Captain Underpants And The Invasion Of The Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space - Dav Pilkey

11. All Creatures Great And Small - James Herriot

12. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss [Fun, English teacher-style]

13. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time - Mark Haddon

14. Three Days In That Autumn - Wanseo Pak [I resolve to delve more into Korean Literature]

15. The Secret Life Of The Lonely Doll: The Search For Dare Wright - Jean Nathan

16. The Colour - Rose Tremain

17. The Measure Of A Man - Sidney Poitier

18. Confessions Of A Failed Southern Lady - Florence King

19. Outsider - Diana Palmer [I'm sure it wasn't the author's intent, but I laughed like hell]

20. The Laments - George Hagen

21. How To Cook A Wolf - M.F.K. Fisher [Wow. MFK rocks my culinary socks! I'll be going back for seconds]

22. The Annotated Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Peter F. Neumeyer [Also included are some of White's essays. "Death Of A Pig" is close to perfection]

23. How To Talk To Anyone - Leil Lowndes

24. Down And Out In Paris And London - George Orwell [I know it's hopeless with him being dead and me being married, but I can't help having a crush on him; I love his writing so much!]

25. Notes On A Scandal - Zoe Heller

26. My Side Of The Mountain - Jean Craighead George

27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac

28. My Brother's Keeper - Marcia Davenport [Davenport is a neglected author who needs to be rediscovered for this novel as well as some of her others]

29. Road To Perdition - Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner [Even better than the movie]

30. Slackjaw - Jim Knipfel

31. Who Put That Hair In My Toothbrush? - Jerry Spinelli

32. Anne Of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery [Glad to finally meet you, kid]

33. The Secret Life Of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

34. Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay [Looking forward to reading the sequels and seeing the TV show]

35. The Witch Of Portobello - Paulo Coelho

36. The Prize Winner Of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan [I gulped this one down. It's strange -- written in that sprightly 1940s-50s housewife humor style popularized by Shirley Jackson and Jean Kerr among others, but with a dark undertone]

37. American Splendor: Another Day - Harvey Pekar [Oh Harvey...I love you. Just love you. You're my geezer crush]

38. A Conspiracy Of Paper - David Liss

39. Summer Of '49 - David Halberstam [I will be reading more Halberstam]

40. Terrorist - John Updike

41. You Remind Me Of Me - Dan Chaon

42. Fun Home - Alison Bechdel [Bechdel is on my list for 2008, thanks to the Graphic Novel Challenge]

43. Andersonville - MacKinlay Kantor [One off the Pulitzer Fiction list. Not an easy or enjoyable read, but worth the time]

44. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel DeFoe

45. We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver [I admire how Shriver so deftly walked the tightrope between nature and nurture, and also admire her portrayal of Eva, Kevin's mom and the unreliable narrator of this novel]

46. Comfort Woman - Nora Okja Keller

47. James Tiptree, Jr: The Double Life Of Alice B. Sheldon - Julie Phillips [What a life! If you like biographies, give this one a try]

48. The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins [I've never read anything like this in my life. I found it exhilarating]

49. Lisey's Story - Stephen King

50. Fearless Interviewing - Marky Stein

51. The Memory Of Running - Ron McLarty

52. Book Lust - Nancy Pearl [I know it's hopeless, with me living in Korea and Nancy living in Seattle and both of us married not to mention both of us female, but I can't help having a girl-crush on her; I just love her reading lists so much!]

53. Kadazan Folklore - Rita Lasimbang, editor [A small book of folklore from Malaysia with tales of how the earth and sky came to be, the origin of land and water leeches, and why mosquitoes make a buzzing sound in our ears, among other tales. Very entertaining]

54. Breakout! Escape From Alcatraz - Lori Haskins [A good non-fiction children's book about the big escape from Alcatraz in the early 1960s. Well-illustrated with drawings and photos]

55. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini [Believe the hype. This is a well-told story of two women and their families and Hosseini deftly weaves in 30+ years of Afghanistan's troubled history]

56. Letty Fox: Her Luck - Christina Stead [A long and difficult read. An almost-unlikeable heroine who often had me grinding my teeth. Somehow, I find myself thinking of her often with great affection]

57. Funny, But Not Vulgar - George Orwell [See #24 comment above...sigh...]

58. The Dance Of Intimacy - Harriet Lerner, Ph.D [One of CanadaBoy's friends moved and left behind all the books in his apartment --around 100-- that were accumulated from at least the last 3 occupants. I grabbed this one because my beloved (I mean Nancy Pearl) had mentioned that The Dance Of Anger was a good self-help book. Ordinarily, I don't like this kind of stuff, but Lerner's approach to intimacy won my respect, because she advocates thinking and planning to build honest intimate relationships, and doesn't just cover everything with a gooey blanket of "emotional honesty". I also like what she said about distancing; it doesn't mean that the person doesn't care -- it's the person's way of managing feelings that are extremely strong]

59. Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham [Maugham's writing style is so beautiful and clear -- how could he have ever fallen out of style? Even though he had to adhere to the strict conventions of the time, (this novel was first published in 1915) and the reader has to sometimes infer what's going on, he's able to spell it out pretty plainly. Terrific characterizations -- they may get a little extreme, like slutty, grasping Mildred or Philip, in the wretched throes of his unrequited love, but they're unforgettable. I'll try another novel by Maugham but don't know which one yet]

60. Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen [Excellent novel about a second-rate train circus in the early 1930s. Can't wait to see the movie]

61. In The Company Of The Courtesan - Sarah Dunant


Eva said...

I'm very impressed at how close your fic and non-fic numbers are! Much closer than mine, anyway. ;)

John Mutford said...

61's a very respectable number.

1 Canadian, not so much ;)

Oh well, you signed up for the Canadian Book Challenge, so hopefully 2008 will introduce you to more canuck writers.

Suey said...

Fun post. I plan on doing a similiar one shortly. I LOVE doing the number crunching thing at the end of the year. I got to an even 100 this year which blew me away! But that's because I read so much YA... so up that number and you too can get to 100 easy!

Sam said...

Very nice list, bybee.

Is your favoritism for the number 61 baseball related, by any chance?

Literary Feline said...

I think you managed to come very close matching the fiction with the nonfiction, at least the most I've seen so far. I hope you have a terrific year in reading this year!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I looked at this post. I almost sent you How to Cook a Wolf as a surprise. I love MFK Fisher. There is a great story written about her in Maya Angelou's cookbook she did a few years ago.

Bybee said...

Thanks...some year, I'd like the nonfiction to be higher. It's come close some years, but I guess I'm a fiction-head.

You know I feel bad about the one Canadian, but at least it was LM Montgomery! I'll do better this year, eh?

I am so jealous of your 100. Thanks for the tip re YA.

'61 is my birth year, but I've also been very pleased about *61 in '61 as well!

Thanks...and good luck with all your challenges..I don't know how you do it.

Ruby Canary,
It's so nice to hear from you again! I have wondered how things are going with you and your music, not to mention your reading. Thanks for thinking of me re: MFK Fisher.

Joy said...

Oh Bybee - this is a GREAT list! No need to be green. Happy 2008 Reading! :)

BTW - I put you on my blogroll and google reader. I don't understand why you weren't on there already. ???

Tara said...

I love the image you've included here! Is Water for Elephants going to be a film? Great news.