Saturday, January 2, 2010

93 in 2009 - What's on your bedside table?

Last year was the first time in my whole life that I ever started to keep track of all the books I've read. It was an eye-opening experience for me, because I never considered how many books I read. It's not about quantity, but it is so interesting to have a record. And I must admit that it's a tiny bit satisfying to add a book to my list. In case you're wondering, I keep it over there on the sidebar of my blog but I also keep a Google Doc going to keep track of the number and the date added. Maybe next year I should keep in a spreadsheet so I could someday sort all the books I've read, but in truth, I'm not that crazy-obsessive about this! I am also not interested EVER in reading a book a day for a year. But wow.

Here's my list for 2009: (* = Library Books, ** = Young Adult...I'll explain at the end)
  1. The Girl from Foreign by Sadia Shepard*
  2. The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  3. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter*/**
  4. Bonk by Mary Roach*
  5. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy*
  6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows*
  7. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver*
  8. The 6 o'clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb*
  9. The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh*
  10. As A Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg (technically a re-read but I think there's a 10 year statute of limitations on that)
  11. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield*
  12. 3 Willows by Anne Brashares*/**
  13. Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
  14. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  15. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
  16. Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo
  17. The Spare Room by Helen Garner*
  18. Daemon by Daniel Suarez*
  19. Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn*
  20. Who By Fire by Diana Spechler
  21. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  22. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert*
  23. The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz*
  24. All Other Nights by Dara Horn
  25. The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chivaerini*
  26. The Guardian by Julius Lester*
  27. The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi*
  28. Food Matters by Mark Bittman*
  29. My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen*
  30. Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center*
  31. The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule*
  32. City of Thieves by David Benioff*
  33. Because I Said So edited by Kate Moses & Camille Peri*
  34. The First & Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich by Howard Reich
  35. World Made By Hand by James Kunstler
  36. Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling*
  37. Snapshots by Michal Govrin
  38. The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn
  39. Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix**
  40. Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman by Gary Morgenstein
  41. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  42. School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
  43. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
  44. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (okay this was a re-read. But how could I see the movie and then not re-read the book?)
  45. The Defector by Daniel Silva
  46. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan*
  47. True Colors by Kristin Hannah*
  48. Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman
  49. After the Train by Gloria Whelan */**
  50. Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli*
  51. Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein*
  52. Songs for the Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau*
  53. Rashi's Daughters Book 3 by Maggie Anton
  54. The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn
  55. Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (kindle)
  56. Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson
  57. Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman*
  58. Daughter's Keeper by Ayelet Waldman*
  59. Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn*
  60. Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin*
  61. Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
  62. Day After Night by Anita Diamant
  63. Table for Eight by Meagan Francis
  64. Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb
  65. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson**
  66. The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb*
  67. Bending Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie
  68. The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado
  69. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  70. Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian*
  71. Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel*
  72. The Last Ember by Daniel Levin*
  73. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld */**
  74. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins **
  75. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins**
  76. The Best Old Movies for Families by Ty Burr*
  77. Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose*
  78. Connected: Surprising Power of Social Networks by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler*
  79. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman (kindle)
  80. Sent by Margaret Petersen Haddix**
  81. Frindle by Andrew Clement (kids)
  82. Choosing Up Sides by John H. Ritter*/**
  83. Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith
  84. The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo */**
  85. Sword of the Lady by S.M. Stirling*
  86. What Happened to Anna K. by Irina Reyn*
  87. Book of Dahlia by Elisa Albert
  88. The Magicians by Lev Grossman*
  89. The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison*
  90. What's to become of the boy? or Something to do with books by Heinrich Boll*
  91. The Rabbi's Girls by Johanna Hurwitz**
  92. Delilah by India Edghill*
  93. Hunger: A Novella and Stories by Lan Samantha Chang* 
  94. Re-read of New Moon...doesn't really count but it made me happy - I considered ending the year by re-reading a whole bunch of books but didn't make it past New Moon on our year-end road trip...oh well!
So this year, for the first time, I decided to take a "challenge." I'm not sure why, because the two that I picked just reflect my reading style and therefore were not exactly a stretch for me. gotta start somewhere, right? Anyway, I decided to take on the Young Adult Challenge (read 12 Young Adult books) and the Support Your Local Library Challenge (read 25 books from the library). I nearly came up 1 short in the Young Adult Challenge but I slipped one in at the end of the year! I've actually read 51 books from the library, so I totally hit that one out of the park! When the librarians know you by name, you know you're doing fine in that department.

What did I like best this year? It's really hard for me to say. Some really great books came my way this year, and very few that I didn't like. I loved Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian and told a lot of people about it as I was reading it. Thanks to the librarian, actually, for handing me that one. I finally read The Book Thief, which the whole world was reading and I couldn't get into. It was great. You'll notice that I didn't count it as a "young adult" book. Many people said it fell into that category but I didn't agree. Definitely for grown-ups. I was haunted by The Mozart Question, a very short book that left me in tears. And of course, I could NOT put down Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I'm not-very-patiently waiting for Book 3 to come out! I've written a lot of book reviews this year, and I've led a lot of book discussions, and I'm sure some of that is reflected in my list. Do you think it's a well-rounded list?

(Someone asked me to tell them my favorite books, and so I put together this brief list of my favorites from the year....Animal, Vegetable Miracle; Shadow Divers; All Other Nights; School of Essential Ingredients; Bad Mother; Hunting Eichmann; Double Bind; Hunger Games/Catching Fire; NurtureShock...but truthfully, I'm really bad at picking "favorites" - I can't pick a favorite holiday, I can't pick a favorite Torah portion, I can't pick a favorite color for goodness sake!)

It's fun to read over the list and almost re-live the reading experiences of the year. For example, books 13-16 are four non-library books. Those are the four books that I read on my trip to Israel in February. Four books in 7 days but with 2 long plane rides...and book #42 was one that I borrowed from a friend while we were at camp. I had to finish it because she wanted it back before we left! Books 45, 53 and 62 were all pre-ordered from Amazon and I got that delicious thrill of forgetting that "today's the day" and arriving home to find the book! Book #85 was the most recent installment in a series of which I read in its entirety (up until now) last year!

Okay, enough analysis. What's on tap for next year? I'd like to read Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (isn't that a great title? My friend Eric recommended it), The Help (I've finally gotten my hands on a copy), Philippa Gregory's newest book, and....oh goodness, whatever comes my way, I suppose! I do have some non-fiction choices on my hold list at the library - Nicholas Kristof's book Holding up the Sky and also Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

What do you think I should read? What are YOU planning to read in 2010?

P.S. Have you hooked up the new Amazon Associates widget in Blogger? It's really an awesome way to link in all the books - I didn't feel like going back through the whole list but I went through all the other ones - it's a really neat system. Yay Amazon and Blogger!


Anonymous said...

My first book of 2010 is Songs for A Butcher's Daughter. I'm LOVING it.

I've never thought of keeping track of all the books I read, though it might keep me from accidentally checking out books from the library and then realizing I've already read them....

(BTW, almost ALL my books come from the library. The rest come from my mother. ( I thought it was kind of funny that you included a cookbook on your list...!)

nina said...

i'm reading "a story of a marriage" and I can't put it down. i'll give it to you when i'm done.

randy said...

What an inspiring list of books - and challenge for the new year! I'm trying to balance reading fiction and nonfiction books. The first great, well-written novel of the new year that I read is A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias. Looking forward to following your progress!

JanetheWriter said...

What an amazing list...I don't know how you do it.

I'm currently plowing my way through Emile Zola's Germinal, which I hope to finish before the new semester begins in February.

Some of the unread books on my shelf that I hope to get to in 2010 include: For the Thrill of It by Simon Baatz, The Woman with the Worm in Her Head by Pamela Nagami M.D., Stiff by Mary Roach and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present by Michael Oren.

Happy reading to us all!

Melissa said...


I am thinking about studying Jewish studies on-line.

Do you know of any reputable on-line universities to look into?

Anonymous said...

What a list!!!

I am in the midst of "Save the Deli" by David Sax -- which is wonderful!!!

I am simultaneously reading Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook. And yes, I am counting this because there is quite a bit of history and narrative!

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is on my nightstand, waiting patiently for me...

I definitely want to get to "The Girls from Ames" in the earlier part of the year.

Are you doing the challenge of 100 in 2010???

BTW, "....Guernsey" was my all-time fav read this past year. Might have to reread it again. And "Animal, Veg., Miracle" was high on my list as well!

Danielle said...

I just discovered your blog and I love it! I'm also an avid reader and I enjoyed going through your list. We've read many of the same things, but you did have some suggestions that I hadn't heard of. I look forward to my next trip to the library!