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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not my Best Year

It is January.  This is a book blog.  Therefore by association I feel compelled to write a Best of 2009 list or acknowledgement of lists post.

I can't.  Why?  I've been so out of the mainstream, I hardly knew the lion's share of the books listed in all the lists of lists that I perused.

I can tell you that my "To be read" list grew to Mount Everest proportions.  If I ever make it to the top, I'm mounting a plaque.  Here set the foot of a book lover whose eyes gave out.  Well, hopefully I won't be crying at the eye doctor too soon.

According to my records, I finished exactly fifteen books last year.  Oy the feebleness.  I did manage to start about double that.  But that doesn't count.

So I am challenging myself this year.  Including the books we read, I'm aiming to read at least one book a week.  (Or in the end, the average of such by the end of the year.  I'm not disillusioned enough to overlook the fact that some weeks just go to hell).

Some of the books I'm hoping to sink my teeth into include:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - The winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal for outstanding children's literature, a story of middle school years, coming of age in New York city by a girl obsessed with A Wrinkle in Time.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - I've never read it, and if I want to read the above, I figure I really ought to read this one first.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - another I must read before I do something else.  I'd like to see the film Peter Jackson, in spite of the scathing reviews so far.  I want to read the book first.  This one has actually been on my radar for quite some time, but I shied away from it.  No more.

Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent - as Amazon puts it: "an investigation into psychiatric practices and questionable diagnoses" and "a personal exploration of mental stability".  To be honest I just happened to stumble on to this one, one of those click click click and suddenly I'm somewhere I never expected to be.  Quite a rabbit hole indeed.

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre - a humorous expose of all the science and medical scams we're inundated with from media.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman - almost completely off my radar, the recommendation I read for this felt like a slap on the back of the head.  "Why haven't you heard of this book?" was the thought running through my head.  And as far as I've read, don't let the fantasy aspect of it fool you.  It is a serious novel clothed in fantasy.

I won't bore you by going on and on.  But these were some of the highlights of things that jumped out of the Best Of lists I've read so far.

So now, you tell me:  What sort of challenges are you setting for your reading year?  What are the books you've added to your to be read list from the Best Of lists?  What books would you say are the top books of 2009?


meno said...

I HATED the Lovely Bones. Yuck!

And i didn't know that Norah Vincenr had a new book. I loved Self Made Man.

Gordo said...

I have The Magicians on my Goodreads to-be-read list, but I'd completely forgotten about it! Thanks for the reminder. :-)

I'm not a mainstream book reader either, so don't look to me for any best of lists.

jaded said...

I haven't checked any best of list for this year, so I'm out of the loop.

On my To read shelf, I have a copy of the The Lovely Bones, from a book sale, I'n not sure I would have chosen it under ordinary conditions. I also have Lunar Park (Bret Easton Ellis) and The Distinguished Guest (Sue Miller).