Reading list: books read in 2006

Once again, as is the tradition, here is my annual listing of the books I read in the year just ended:

  • Dispatches from a Sporting Life, by Mordecai Richler
  • Andorra, by Peter Cameron
  • The Revolution Script, by Brian Moore
  • Paradise, by Donald Barthelme
  • Rene Levesque; The Fascinating Life of a Separatist Icon, by Megan Durnford
  • Crazy About Lili, by William Wientraub
  • Saturday, by Ian MacEwan
  • My Invented Country, by Isabel Allende
  • Working Identity, by Herminia Ibarra
  • Secrets and Lies, by David Southwell
  • The Curse of the Appropriate Man, by Lynn Freed
  • A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, by Gil Courtemanche (translated by Patricia Claxton)
  • Ascension, by Steven Galloway
  • The Woman Who Waited, by Andreï Makine
  • V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • The Age of Longing, by Richard B. Wright
  • Saving Rome, by Megan K. Williams
  • Night, by Elie Wiesel
  • Dawn, by Elie Wiesel
  • Day, by Elie Wiesel
  • Insatiable, by Gael Green
  • Brick Lane, by Monica Ali
  • 30 Days in Sydney, by Peter Carey
  • A Splinter in the Heart, by Al Purdy
  • The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
  • The Bug, by Ellen Ullman
  • Cuba and the Night, by Pico Iyer
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Man in my Basement, by Walter Mosley
  • The Quitter, by Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel
  • DeNiro’s Game, by Rawi Hage
  • Rememberance of Things Paris, edited by Ruth Reichl
  • Solo, by Wright Morris

That’s 33 books, up from 29 last year. The list can be broken down as follows:

  • 22 works of fiction, five works of non-fiction, and six memoirs (which are sort of a mix of fiction and non-fiction).
  • 24 books by men and nine by women. (Last year it was 24 by men and five by women, and I made a mental note to read more books by women. I guess it worked.)
  • Two “graphic” books (one a serialized novel, one a memoir).
  • Eleven of the books had “place” as a major theme.
  • Two were about food.

So what can I learn from this? Who cares? I just like making lists!

22 thoughts on “Reading list: books read in 2006

  1. I bow my head in shame, you are the master. I thought I was doing good with about 1.5 books per month. I read only non-fiction. I’ve read maybe 5 books of fiction in the past 7 years. And none of these books listed are remotely familiar to me. Goes to prove what I always say. To many books, not enough time.

  2. Wow, this is really impressive! I am amazed that you’ve managed to read this many books, let alone such a diverse list. How about giving us quarterly updates next year?

  3. I used to keep a list of books read, but stopped doing so, because it seemed narcissistic. “Oh, look how smart and literate I am.” But now I really miss it, because I try not to keep too many books around (a losing cause), and it would be nice to have a record of that, and DVDs watched.

  4. Oh yeah, this year, check out W.G. Sebald. Unfortunately, he’s pretty dead now, but his books are amazing. Novels, but also portmanteaus of interesting information and people he’s met or heard about. Very post-modern in ways, but fun, and well-written.

  5. There is a part of it that seems narcissistic, but I do it primarily for myself. This blog serves many purposes, and one of them is that of a personal record — for myself. It’s not uncommon for me to wonder about if or when I read a particular book, so all I need to do is go to my blog and check. (Yes, sometimes I forget whether or not I’ve read a book…)

  6. That happens to me sometimes. I`m at Indigo or Chapter looking at a book and I cant remember if I`ve read it or not.

  7. Hmm…I thought I had posted this comment this morning. Well, here it goes again:

    If you enjoyed V for Vendetta, give Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell a try – is an intricate look at the Ripper murders as a microcosm of Victorian London.

    Moore got the idea from Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.” In order to solve a crime holistically, Moore once said in an interview, you’d have to solve the society in which it occurred.

  8. Steve, I don’t know why, but your comment got spam filtered. I started using Askimet a couple of weeks ago. So far it has filtered over 1700 comment spams, and only three were mistakes.

    I saw the film adaptation of “From Hell” and quite enjoyed it. I also just saw the film of “V for Vendetta” a couple of days ago, and really enjoyed that. I enjoyed the graphic novel a bit less — perhaps it was because it was serialized, but I found myself losing patience about half way through. (But I finished it anyway.)

  9. (1700 spam comments! Yowsers!)

    Not only was V for Vendetta serialized, but there was a lengthy hiatus mid-series as the title changed publishers. I think that’s why the series wanders a bit in the middle.

    I was surprised at how well V turned out as a movie. I’m glad it wasn’t a rigidly literal translation of the graphic novel. It kept the basic themes and rearranged everything else to suit the needs of cinema.

    The difference between the film and graphic novel version of From Hell is even more striking. The movie is a whodunit, but the graphic novel is more of a “whydunit”…with footnotes! I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing that book.

  10. That’s a lot of Elie Weisel for a year. I hope it didn’t depress you much…

  11. Hmm, maybe I’ll get “From Hell” after all.

    You’re right about the serialization and it’s hiatus causing a stalling effect. I was also a bit annoyed that the female protagonist (I forget her name) was such a doe-eyed innocent in the book. It seemed like the relationship between her and V was just endlessly her with the deer-in-the-headlights expression and him lording over her all iconic-like. You get that in the movie too, but it was balanced off. She (Natalie Portman) was much better developed in the film, I think, and I also got a better sense of V.

    Thomas, don’t worry, they’re all short. but once I read one I felt compelled to read more. And to recover, I followed them with “Insatiable” which is all about food and sex. ;-)

  12. Which were your favourite(s)? No credit for evasive answers featuring the phrase “apples and oranges” :)

  13. (This is my Akismet-thwarting experiment.)

    I like how Natalie Portman’s Evey (Alan Moore went crazy with his puns in that book) was was much stronger than the comic book version. She was able to reject V’s methods and yet accept his ultimate goal. It was one of those thematic changes made for the film that worked for me.

  14. Well now, that’s just showing off. Myself, I’ve been downright pathetic in 2006 on books read. This year, though… this year will be different. :)

  15. This year is always different, Zura. :-)

    Jack: no Proust for me!

    DM, I generally don’t rank or review the books on the list for various reasons. But I’ll say this: a few of this year’s reads really stuck with me long after I finished them. In particular (and for different reasons), I’d say that was the case with the following: Crazy About Lili; Saturday; Ascension; The Woman Who Waited; Brick Lane; 30 Days in Sydney; The Human Stain; The Great Gatsby; and The Man in my Basement.

  16. A very impressive list … makes me want to run home and make a list of all
    the books on the floor beside my bed that I have been “reading” over the last
    year – maybe 20 books, all of them wonderful books I desperately want to read. I think I have actually finished 5 of them! What about journals? Those suckers take up valuable book reading time, but I can’t resist the lure of a freshly unwrapped Times Literary Supplement!
    p.s. Proust is available in a Bande Desinee format – (A La Recherche… in 3 volumes) and it is a pretty good read, not kidding!

  17. Impressive list! btw, have you heard of ? I’m positively addicted myself. It’s an online catalog for books you own and/or have read. What’s cool is it gives you suggestions based on what people who liked the same books as you have also enjoyed.

  18. Hey, I might look for those B.D. Prousts! And thanks for the Library Thing link, Kelly.

  19. i didn’t know you could count graphic novels as part of the reading list. otherwise i would have read more than 80.

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