- Florida – Lauren Groff (Fiction)
- A Life of My Own – Claire Tomalin (Non-Fiction)
- My Sister, the Serial Killer – Okinkan Braithwaite (Fiction)
- Speaking in Tongues – Jeffrey Deaver (Fiction)
- At the Jerusalem – Paul Bailey (Fiction)
- How to Write an Autobiographical Novel – Alexander Chee (Non-Fiction)
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (Fiction)
- Sick – Porochista Khakpour (Non-Fiction)
- Legacy of Spies – John LeCarre (Fiction)
January Reading Blitz
A couple of snow storms, a polar vortex, and a month of abstaining from alcohol allowed me time to read 9 books (actually 9 3/14) in January. That puts me on a trajectory to read over 100 books this year. I mean, I’m not going to read that many books, but it’s always good to get out of the gate so fast.
So far, I recommend My Sister, the Serial Killer and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. If I’ve already read two really good books, I have great hope for the rest of my 2019 selections.
10. The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost – Peter Manseau (Non-Fiction)
11. Blown – Mark Haskell Smith (Fiction)
12. Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic – Sam Quinones (Non-Fiction)
13. The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson (Fiction)
14. Friday Black: Stories – Nan Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Fiction)
15. Disoriental – Negar Djaved (Fiction)
16. The Flamethrowers – Rachel Kushner (Fiction)
17. The Lost Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific With a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life – Doug Bock Clark (Non-Fiction)
18. An American Marriage – Tayari Jones (Fiction)
19. This is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper (Fiction)
20. Anatomy of a Scandal – Sara Vaughn (Fiction)
21. Pachinko – Min Jin Lee (Fiction)
22. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (Fiction)
23. The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving – (Fiction)
24. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton (Fiction)
25. The Heart – Maylis De Kerangal / Translated from French by Sam Taylor (Fiction)
26. Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien (Non-Fiction)
27. Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
28. Adua by Igiabe Seego
29. The Animators by Kale Rae Whittaker
30. Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
31. Sing to Me by L.A. Reid
32. Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
33. Survival Math by Mitchell S. Jackson
34. Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker
35. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
36. Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior Palmer
37. Ulysses by James Joyce
38. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin
39. Mother: An Unconventional History by Sarah Knott
40. Any Human Heart by William Boyd
41. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
42. The Moors Account by Laila Lalami
Non -Fiction = 13
Fiction = 29
Male Authors = 24
Female Authors = 18
Non-American Authors =16
Year End Wrap-Up
This year I read 42 books totaling 14,150 pages (that’s 1050/331466 since I’ve been keeping track). American authors took up slightly more than half of my reading this year at 26 books and 18 of the 42 books were written by women.
My fiction book of the year (and one of the best books I’ve ever read) is The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, an intensely moving story of a young man’s parents dealing with the accidental death of their son and the swirl of activity and emotions they go through to donate his organs. Runner up is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, the epic story of a Korean family living in Japan that spans the 20th century. The murder mystery Bluebird, Bluebird by Attika Locke and The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami were also well-well written stories led by very likable characters.
Non-Fiction reading wasn’t as stellar this year as in years past but I greatly enjoyed Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior Palmer, a slim book about an obscure horse race and a young woman’s desire to finish. I thought The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life provided great insight into how the last actual primitive tribes are being integrated, slowly, into the world at large. And finally, I very much enjoyed Alexander Chee’s treatise on writing How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. If you’re interested in reading or writing, it’s a very good book.
I read more light stuff this year than usual. The bank heist book Blown by Mark Haskell and the dysfunctional family comedy This is Where I leave you were very entertaining.
I revisited the 80’s with back to back readings of Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Stay Gold!
And I finally tackled my White Whale of reading and made it through James Joyce’s Ulysses. I had spark notes open the whole time, but I did it!