01 January 2010

2009: The Year in Books

Here's a list of the books I read in 2009. iPod and other audio books are noted with an asterisk (*), Kindle books (+) and books I'd recommend are listed in bold type. Happy reading!

1. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
*3. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
4. Jesus Wants To Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile by Rob Bell and Don Golden
5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Home by Marilynne Robinson
*8. Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
9. One Magical Sunday (But Winning Isn't Everything) by Phil Mickelson with Donald T. Phillips
10. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
*11. Imperium by Robert Harris
*12. The Mighty Johns And Other Stories by David Baldacci, Anne Perry, Dennis LeHane et al.
*13. Lirael: Daugher of the Clayr by Garth Nix
*14. The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education by Craig Mullaney
*15. Abhorsen by Garth Nix.
16. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
17. The Gunslinger Born: The Dark Tower Graphic Novels, Book 1 by Stephen King, Peter David, Jae Lee and Robin Furth
18. The Long Road Home: The Dark Tower Graphic Novels, Book 2 by Stephen King, Peter David, Jae Lee and Robin Furth
19. 24 Hours by Greg Iles
20. The Sandman, Vol.2: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean et al.
21. The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean et al.
22. The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean et al.
23. So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger
24. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
25. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
26. A River Runs Through It And Other Stories by Norman Maclean
27. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
28. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
29. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenberger
30. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre
31. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
32. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
33. Trinity by Leon Uris
34. The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean et al.
35. The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean et al.
36. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
+37. Ur by Stephen King
38. Under the Dome by Stephen King
39. Redemption by Leon Uris
40. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright.
+41. The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) by Robert Jordan
42. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Best Book of the Year: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. A close race between this one and Peace Like A River, Sawtelle gets the win by retelling an old story (Hamlet) so well I wanted to skip work to read. Absolutely incredible. Bonus points for generating a furious discussion in Facebook about violence against animals (which I understood, but given that the dogs were major characters from the Hamlet story, you had to know it was going to be a bloodbath at the end).

Best Revisit: Dolores Claiborne. I think this was partially due to the wonderful narration of Frances Sternhagen, who gives an inspired performance and became, for me, the voice of Dolores for all time. I really liked the movie version of this book, but the movie is far different than the book, as much as Kathy Bates is different than Frances Sternhagen. If you've only seen the movie, you should check out this audiobook, as it will give you a completely different picture of King's novel. Eye of the World comes in second here.

Most Enjoyable Read: Bonk. I generally expect to enjoy books I discover listening to NPR, and this was no different. Mary Roach was interviewed on NPR, and I was so intrigued by the interview I went straight to the library and checked out the book. It is not a book for the shy or prudish, by any means, but it is laugh-out-loud funny at times, and I enjoyed the whole thing. I'm looking forward to delving into her other books Stiff and Spook after I catch up on some stuff I've been promising to read for a while.

A Tragedy in Reading: the cancellation of PBS' Reading Rainbow. I was already a dedicated reader when Reading Rainbow came along, but it certainly didn't make me want to read less. Anything that promotes kids reading more should be supported, IMO, and I was sorry to see it go. I hope two things: they'll keep showing reruns as long as they can, and that Pizza Hut keeps the Book-It program going long enough that our girls can take part. I'd love to share that memory with them.

Looking Forward To List for 2010:
  • Reading a draft of an unfinished novel and adding my editing thoughts
  • Hopefully reading through the Wheel of Time series before the second of the final trilogy is published
  • Digging into the stack of free classics I downloaded onto my Kindle a few weeks ago
  • Reading Cathleen Falsani's The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers while watching the movies themselves
  • In general, reading more as the girls require less intensive babysitting (especially in the backyard this summer?)
  • Reading more theology for continuing education, because I'm cutting my Con Ed budget as a cost-saving measure for our ministry

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