What I read last year

Some brief statistics on the books I read in 2009. This is the first year that I have kept a thorough reading list and as such I have no baseline comparison. This was an average year, and I expect I will probably read like this for most of my life to come. I am a better reader today than I was in January 2009.

71 books over 12 months equals just under six books per month. My friend Renee tells me that I am allowed to read until I am 30, at which point I will need to stop reading and start writing. I will be 30 in 40 months, counting January 2010. Assuming my current rate, I have 280 books left to go.

Of 71 books in total, I read:
38 Fiction / 33 Non Fiction
30 Novels / 7 Short Story collections / 1 Play
7 Memoirs

By decade of initial publication:
1930s – 3
1940s – 1
1950s – 5
1960s – 1
1970s – 5
1980s – 5
1990s – 18
2000s – 33

Excluding anthologies:
48 Men / 20 Women

By country of origin, excluding anthologies:
Canada – 23
US – 27
UK – 13
Other – 5

My most-read authors are Keith Maillard and Joan Didion, at nine apiece.
I only re-read three books in 2009: Arthur C Clarke, ‘Imperial Earth;’ Keith Maillard, ‘Alex Driving South;’ and Don DeLillo, ‘Underworld.’

January
Terri Jentz – Strange Piece of Paradise: A Return to the American West to Investigate my Attempted Murder and Solve the Riddle of Myself (2006)
Dennis Love – My City Was Gone: One American Town’s Toxic Secret, its Angry Band of Locals, and a $700 Million Day in Court (2006)
Richard Wolfson – Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology (1991)
Elizabeth Hay – Small Change (1997)
Bill Gaston – Gargoyles (2006)

February
Ross Klein – Cruise Ship Blues (2002)
Arthur C Clarke – Imperial Earth (1976)
Pico Iyer – The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home (2000)
Don DeLillo – Valparaiso (1999)

March
Joan Didion – Where I Was From (2003)
ed. Lee Gutkind – The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 2 (2008)
Michele Stenhejim Gerber – On The Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site (1992; 2nd ed. 2002)
Alastair Gordon – Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure (2004)
Joan Didion – Political Fictions (2001)
Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca (1938)

April
Keith Maillard – Running (2005)
Keith Maillard – Morgantown (2005)
Keith Maillard – Lyndon Johnson and his Majorettes (2006)

May
Keith Maillard – Looking Good (2006)
Joan Didion – Play It As It Lays (1970)
John Nichols – The Rise And Rise Of Richard B Cheney (2005)
Joan Didion – The Last Thing He Wanted (1996)
ed. Mike Davis – Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism (2007)
Keith Maillard – Two Strand River (1976)

June
Steven Heighton – The Shadow Boxer (2000)
Elizabeth Hay – Late Nights On Air (2007)
Michael Ondaatje – Divisadero (2007)
Graham Greene – Our Man In Havana (1958)
Evelyn Waugh – Men at Arms (1952)
Keith Maillard – Alex Driving South (1980)
Joan Didion – The Year Of Magical Thinking (2005)

July
Don DeLillo – Underworld (1997)
Rick Perlstein – Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008)
Keith Maillard – He Was A Good Dancer – excerpt (2010)
Alan Sillitoe – The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (1959)
Joe Jackson – A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage (1999)
Joan Didion – After Henry (1992)
Cleo Birdwell (Don DeLillo) – Amazons (1980)

August
Elizabeth Hay – The Only Snow In Havana (1992)
Alan Weisman – The World Without Us (2007)
John McPhee – The Control Of Nature (1989)
V.S. Naipaul – A Bend In The River (1979)
Ronald Wright – Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas (1992)
ed. Kevin Smokler – Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times (2005)

September
Joan Didion – Salvador (1983)
Graham Greene – The Quiet American (1955)
Ann Patchett – Truth and Beauty: A Friendship (2004)
Sean Nelson – Court and Spark (2007)
Joan Didion – Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)
Mike Davis – Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (1998)
ed. Lee Montgomery – Absolute Disaster: Fiction from Los Angeles (1996)
Keith Maillard – Hazard Zones (1995)
John Banville – The Sea (2005)

October
Don DeLillo – The Body Artist (1999)
Steve Paikin – The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics (2001)
Judi Tyabji Wilson – Daggers Unsheathed: The Political Assassination of Glen Clark (2002)
Robert Kaplan – Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History (1993)
Joseph Roth – The Radetzky March (1932)
Alan Sillitoe – Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)
Graham Greene – Brighton Rock (1938)

November
Suzanne Antonetta – Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir (2001)
Brian Fawcett – Local Matters: A Defence of Dooney’s Cafe and other Non-Globalised People, Places, and Ideas (2003)
Nick Hornby – High Fidelity (1995)

December
JM Coetzee – Disgrace (1999)
Vladimir Nabokov – Bend Sinister (1947)
Joan Didion – A Book Of Common Prayer (1977)
Paul Auster – The New York Trilogy (1985-6)
Keith Maillard – The Clarinet Polka (2002)
Alice Munro – Hateship Friendship Loveship Courtship Marriage (2001)
Patrick Lane – There Is A Season: A Memoir (2004)
Peter Hopkirk – The Great Game: The Race for Empire in Central Asia (1990)

The best books I read this year:
Terri Jentz – Strange Piece of Paradise: A Return to the American West to Investigate my Attempted Murder and Solve the Riddle of Myself (2006)
Joan Didion – The Year Of Magical Thinking (2005)
Rick Perlstein – Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008)
Elizabeth Hay – The Only Snow in Havana (1992)
V.S. Naipaul – A Bend In The River (1979)
Ann Patchett – Truth and Beauty: A Friendship (2004)
Robert Kaplan – Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History (1993)
Joseph Roth – The Radetzky March (1932)
Alice Munro – Hateship Friendship Loveship Courtship Marriage (2001)

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1 Comment

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One response to “What I read last year

  1. reneethewriter

    Cool website. way to go. Send me email prompts and I’ll read it regularly but need those reminders. Tx RQ

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