Book #49 was "A Map of the World" by Jane Hamilton. Apparently this made a lot of "best of the year" lists in 1994 when it first came out. The subject matter and themes are pretty depressing -including the death of a child, charges of child molestation, being abused in prison, and adultery - but her writing is lyrical and her insight into her characters is deep. I noticed a lot of the same themes in this book as in "Bleeding Kansas" by Sara Paretsky, which was my #5 read this year, which was interesting. I'd like to read more by Hamilton- she's really talented.
Year in review:
Well, this is the first year since I started tracking in 2006 that I did not complete at least 50 books. I finished 49, and ended the year with 3 books in progress, all of them at least 80 percent completed, so I don't feel too bad about that.
I thought of a few reasons why I didn't get to 50 this year:
a) I challenged myself to some fairly lengthy reads this year. For instance, book #13, a biography of Salvador Dali, was more than 700 pages, and #31, Neal Stephenson's Anathem" was nearly 1,000 pages in hard cover and was more than 20 CDs as an audiobook.,
b) I had a lot fewer audiobooks in my total.
c) I challenged myself to emphasize non-fiction, and nonfiction books are almost always a slower read for me.
I did OK on my sub-goals as well. They were:
1. Read at least 19 nonfiction books. DONE. I read 20!
2. Read at least 12 books by people of color and make an effort to read at least 2 books by GLBT authors and at least 2 by disabled authors. Didn't make this one - only did 7 books by authors of color, and only one by a disabled author, though I did meet the goal of reading at least 2 books by GLBT authors. I also requested my library order a book written by a hearing-impaired author from Michigan and hope to read that in 2011.
I'm still formulating my reading goals for 2011.
1. Kiss of the Spiderwoman [fiction]- Manuel Puig
2. The Garlic Ballads [fiction]- Mo Yan
3. The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World [non-fiction]- Michael Pollan
4. Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood [non-fiction/memoir]- Jennifer Traig
5. Bleeding Kansas [fiction]- Sara Paretsky
6. The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas [non-fiction]- Jerry Dennis
7. The Last of Mr. Noris [fiction]- Christopher Isherwood
8. Goodbye to Berlin [fiction]- Christopher Isherwood
9. The Golden City [fiction]- John Twelve Hawks
10. The Scarlet Pimpernel [fiction]- Baroness Emmuska Orczy (unabridged book on CD)
11 Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies [non-fiction/memoir]- Stewart Copeland
12. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan [fiction]- Lisa See
13. The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali [non-fiction]- Ian Gibson
14. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life [non-fiction]- Barbara Kingsolver (unabridged book on CD)
15. The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup [non-fiction]- Susan Orlean
16. Bee Season [fiction]- Myla Goldberg
17. Kiss Me Like You Love Me [fiction]- Wednesday Lee Friday
18. The Buffalo Soldier [fiction] Chris Bohjalian
19. 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs - The Election that Changed the Country [non-fiction]- James Chace
20. Thirteen [fiction]- Richard K. Morgan (unabridged book on CD)
21. The Waters of Babylon: A Novel About Lawrence After Arabia [fiction]- David Stevens
22. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior [non-fiction]- Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Roscio and Barry L. Beyerstein
23. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love [fiction]- Oscar Hijuelos
24. Metatropolis [fiction/novellas]- Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi and Karl Schroeder (unabridged book on CD)
25. Under the Eye of the Clock [non-fiction/memoir]- Christopher Nolan
26. Iron and Silk [non-fiction/memoir]- Mark Salzman
27. Ventus [fiction]- Karl Schroeder
28. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin [non-fiction/memoir]- Benjamin Franklin
29. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life [non-fiction]- Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey.
30. Ancient Puzzles: Classic Brainteasers and Other Timeless Mathematical Games of the Past 10 Centuries [non-fiction]- Dominic Olivastro
31. Anathem [fiction]- Neal Stephenson (unabridged book on CD)
32. Almanac of the Dead [fiction]- Leslie Marmon Silko
33. No Surrender: My Thirty Year War [non-fiction/memoir]- Hiroo Onoda
34. Brideshead Revisited [fiction]- Evelyn Waugh
35. Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders [nonfiction]- Mary Pipher
36. The Confessions of Nat Turner [fiction- William Styron
37. Bag of Bones [fiction]- Stephen King (unabridged book on CD)
38. The Merry Recluse [non-fiction/essays]- Caroline Knapp
39. Drown [fiction/ short stories]- Junot Diaz (unabridged book on CD)
40. Unholy Ghosts [fiction]- Stacia Kane
41. A Fistful of Charms [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged book on CD)
42. Rebecca [fiction]- Daphne DuMaurier (unabridged book on CD)
43. Surreal Lives: The Surrealists 1917-1945 [non-fiction]- Ruth Brandon
44. When We Were Orphans [fiction]- Kazuo Ishiguro
45. The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao [fiction]- Junot Diaz (unabridged book on CD)
46. Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning [non-fiction/biography]- Julia Markus
47. Shanghai Girls [fiction]- Lisa See
48. The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases [non-fiction]- Michael Capuzzo
49. A Map of the World [fiction]- Jane Hamilton