Saturday, December 06, 2008

And Thus Has It Happened Again

Well, my friends, for the second year in a row, I have completed 100 books. As of this writing, I have closed the cover on #102. The full list is (and in no particular order other than the order Good Reads decided to stack them in):

1. A Man Named Dave by David Pelzer
2. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
3. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
4. Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander
5. Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
6. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
7. About Alice by Calvin Trillin
8. The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
9. The Winding Ways Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
10. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer
11. Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian
12. Hat on the Hall Table by Jean Davis
13. Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen
14. Beyond Charles and Diana: An Anglophile's Guide to Naming Your Baby by Linda Rosenkrantz
15. Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig
16. Persian Girls by Nahid Rachlin
17. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
18. Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff
19. R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
20. The Broker by John Grisham
21. Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
22. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
23. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
24. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
25. Come Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine
26. Take It Back by James Carville and Paul Begala
27. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
28. The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi
29. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jacalyn Moriarty
30. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
31. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost
32. How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman
33. If I am Missing or Dead by Jeanne Latus
34. The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
35. Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
36. TTYL by Lauren Myracle
37. Footnote Washington by Bryson Rash
38. The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell by Loraine Despres
39. Don't Kiss Them Good-bye by Alison DuBois
40. Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie
41. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
42. Secrets of My Suburban Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
43. The Last Summer (Of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
44. The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
45. Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey
46. I'm Proud Of You by Tim Madigan
47. Flirting With Pete by Barbara Delinsky
48. Roses are Red by James Patterson
49. The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg
50. What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg
51. Mortified by David Nadelberg
52. Mortified II: Love Is a Battlefield by David Nadelberg
53. A Very Brady Guide to Life by Jennifer Briggs
54. The Other Woman by Jane Green
55. The Mystery of Mr. Nice by Bruce Hale
56. Please Stop Laughing At Me by Jodee Blanco
57. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Lemony Snicket
58. Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnick
59. Ghost Girl by Tori Hayden
60. Uglies by Scott Westerfield
61. Name All the Animals by Alison Smith
62. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
63. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve
64. Queen of the Oddballs by Hillary Carlip
65. Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis
66. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
67. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
68. Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern
69. Good Grief by Lolly Winston
70. Lucy Crocker 2.0 by Caroline Preston
71. My Goodness: A Cynic's Short-Lived Search for Sainthood by Joe Queenan
72. Bobbie Faye's Very (Very, very, very) Bad Day by Toni McGee Causey
73. The Year My Life Went Down the Loo by Katie Maxwell
74. Back When We Were Grown Ups by Ann Tyler
75. How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers by Karen Salmansohn
76. The 7 Lively Sins by Karen Salmansohn
77. Honeymoon With My Brother by Franz Wisner
78. Jesusland by Julia Scheeres
79. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
80. Smashed: Story of A Drunken Girlhood by Karen Zailckas
81. Songs Without Words by Ann Packer
82. The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
83. Miss American Pie by Margaret Sartor
84. Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
85. Bitsy's Bait & BBQ by Pamela Morsi
86. Better Off by Eric Brende
87. 84, Charing Cross by Helene Hanff
88. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
89. High Five by Janet Evanovich
90. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
91. The Circle of Simplicity by Cecile Andrews
92. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
93. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
94. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
95. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
96. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
97. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
98. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
99. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
100. Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik
101. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
102. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

It's been another fun and eclectic reading year. Obviously, I revisited a lot of old favorite books and authors (Janet Evanovich, Philip Gulley, Elizabeth Berg, Bet Me, and Last Days of Summer), but in going back over the list, I was happy to see so many new choices. If you could see my "to be read" shelf, you would know I have "miles to go before I sleep" reading-wise--something to the tune of 300 books waiting to have their spines opened and pages thumbed through.

I tackled some books this year that I had always held up as pieces of literature that were somehow beyond me. These included A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Bell Jar, In Cold Blood, and On the Road. I loved, loved, loved Brooklyn and Bell Jar, tolerated Blood and hated On The Road. I'm not sure what it was about each of these books that made me think they'd be impossible, but I suppose hearing names like Plath and Capote and Kerouac, you get it in your mind that maybe you're not cut out for this reading stuff. I was happily surprised to be proven wrong.

Some new favorites emerged as well. I was delightfully surprised to discover how much I truly loved reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Stuff White People Like made me laugh out loud. J. Maarten Troost and The Sex Lives of Cannibals likewise--I nearly had to pull off the road to regain my composure. And I've of course already blogged my love for Guernsey and The End of the Alphabet. Nahid Rachlin's memoir of growing up in Iran brought tears to my eyes, and speaking with the other by phone caused them to overflow. Beyond Charles and Diana helped Michael and I pick a name for our daughter, should we get a girl. Jennifer Traig made me realize I'm not so alone in the world with some of the crazy things, albeit on a far more limited scale, that I do.

And new villains emerged. I trudged through Annie Proulx's The Shipping News till I thought it was either me or the book--we weren't both coming out of this ordeal alive. Likewise Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Holy crap, what a boring book (Sorry, Sarah and Lesley! Note to Lesley: I'll be sending your copy back to you shortly!). Tori Hayden made me want to rip her book into a thousand million billion little shreds and burn it.

Some books, I honestly can't remember reading at all. Jane Green's The Other Woman must not have been so great, but I rated it four stars, so I must have liked it at the time.

I read many memoirs and non-fiction, and a good number of young adult books this year. Notable among the memoirs besides Nachlin was the Mortified series, which had me laughing until I screamed. I tried reading the 4-H cotton judge's entries to my husband, but every time I tried to say "F*** cotton", I just totally lost it. Read it, you'll see what I mean. Young adult fiction has come a long way and some of the books are absolutely fantastic. I especially enjoyed The Year of Secret Assignments by Jacalyn Moriarty.

People have been asking me how the heck I have so much time to read so much. The General and I were discussing this this evening, as I told him I'd done the calculations and had reached 100+ this weekend even before we start our holiday reading. The answer we came up with was pretty simple: I don't watch TV. I watch 2 shows per week, and they're both on on Wednesdays. The rest of the time, my evening way of unwinding is to read. I love my computer, and I love my Wii, but as The General will tell you, more often than not, when playing games on the Wii, I wind up yelling at the games I'm trying to beat, and I don't find it very relaxing--I have to be in the proper frame of mind. Of course, we do our work outs every night around 7:00, but once that's over, what is there to do when you don't really like TV? Or much noise for that matter? Cracking open a book can introduce you to a million different characters and take you to a million different places around the world and beyond. It's much more active and engaging than tv, which don't get me wrong, I love in its own way (Top Chef? Project Runway? Pushing Daisies? Lost? anyone? Hell yeah!). And after last year, when I thought that this year there was no way I would read that many books, I started reading with the intention to read just 50, and when I got there, I thought, "Well now what the heck am I supposed to do with myself?" I really don't know what I'd be doing if I wasn't reading. So for what it's worth, that's the "how" to the how I do it.

I plan to read 4 or 5 more books this month, putting my total to somewhere around 110 hopefully. I like to read Christmas stories this time of year, and have several waiting on me, so I'll be starting them soon. Of course, the holidays are busy, so I don't know how much I'll get done, but I'll definitely be reading The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg, The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, and Where Angels Go by Debbie Macomber. If there's time, I'll try to squeeze in David Baldacci's The Christmas Train and revisit The Christmas Scrapbook and Christmas in Harmony, both by Philip Gulley. I'm quite confident I'll get to the Gulley books, as they are quite short, about 100 pages or less each.

So happy reading, and I'll start counting again come January to see what 2009 brings. Hopefully we'll have a little one arriving and I won't have time to read, but just in case, it's a nice distraction while waiting, and waiting, and waiting. :-)

2 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Loraine Despres said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my novel, THE BAD BEHAVIOR OF BELLE CANTRELL. It took me three years to research and write it. I do hope you enjoyed it. I write for readers like you.

Loraine Despres

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Congratulations on finishing your 100th book!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Ch. 1 is online!