Friday, December 18, 2009

Year-End Roundup: Books Read in 2009

Every year I tell myself that I'm going to keep scrupulous track of the books I read, and every year I manage to keep an accurate list for about the first four months and then my scruples abandon me and it all goes to hell. So here's what I can remember in the way of books I read (or, in many cases, re-read) in 2009. Certainly Mr. Melville and I spent quite some time together this summer, but even so I know that this list should be longer and that there are missing titles. For the life of me I can't think of what they are. Anyway, a pointless list of books for you:

Paradise Lost John Milton
The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov
The Uncommon Reader Alan Bennett
Literature and the Gods Roberto Calasso
Transmission Hari Kunzru
A History of the Devil Gerald Messadie
Primitive People Francine Prose
Hamlet Had an Uncle James Branch Cabell
A Preface to Paradise Lost C.S. Lewis
Song of the Crow Layne Maheu
Grendel John Gardner
The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
The Boys on the Bus Timothy Crouse
March Geraldine Brooks
Bridge of Birds Barry Hughart
Moby Dick Herman Melville
Finn Jon Clinch
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
The Turn of the Screw Henry James
The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Diaz
All About Lulu Jonathan Evison
Big World Mary Miller
The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri
The Art of Subtext Charles Baxter
Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America Thomas A. Foster
Early American Dress: The Colonial and Revolutionary Periods Edward Warwick, et al
American Colonial Prose Mary Ann Radzinowicz (ed.)
Common Whores, Vertuous Women, and Loveing Wives Debra A. Meyers
Everyday Life in Colonial Maryland George Schaun
New World Faiths: Religion in Colonial America Jon Butler
Lectures on Literature Vladimir Nabokov
Technique In Fiction, Second Edition Robie Macauley, George Lanning
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight Vladimir Nabokov
The Art of Fiction John Gardner

If I were to make a list of books I'd intended to also read this year, it would be just as long as this list. I'll spare you, though. There is never enough time for all the reading that must be done.


  1. Wow. I'm feeling incredibly low-brow. I haven't spent a year reading just books like that in a long, long time. I got exhausted just reading the list.

  2. Thanks for putting this up, Scott. I do like to see what you have been reading. What did you think of Grendel? I keep meaning to pick that one up. I like his book on writing, but I've never actually read his fiction.

  3. Lois: This list should give you an idea of how incredibly dull I am.

    Davin: I liked Grendel, though it sort of goes off the rails for a bit towards the end. Still, it's a good story and it comments intelligently on the ideas of mythological heroes. You don't need to know "Beowulf" to get it, either. I haven't read any of Gardner's other novels. Maybe next year.

  4. That's quite the list! Much more than what I've read. Reading is a challenge with Darcy climbing on me all the time. My mom's an intense reader and she said she didn't read much when we were little. She's making up for all of that now.

    I'd say you need to join Goodreads but it likes you're already on Library Thing so oh well.

    The Jungle Book is one of my favorites, as is A Farewell to Arms.