My Year in Books (and How I Got Around to This Report)

This evening my screened window is flecked with wobbly raindrops, clinging for their tentative lives to the minuscule black wires. They are like walruses on tightropes. I am rooting for them – for this performance. The sky has been walrus grey and cottoned with dirty clouds all day. I don’t think the temperature even reached 60. A rare spring day in Arizona. I’m sipping a weakly-steeped cup of black tea. I rushed the brewing because I was anxious to snatch the available computer. If you have teenagers who’ve disabled their own computers with viruses, you know the deal. I’ve been reviewing my Book Lover’s Journal entries. It was a little over a year ago that my friend, Diane, gave me the book for my birthday. She wrote a note in the front explaining that the book was used. She “hoped” I didn’t “mind.” There is a sticker on the back that says “Museum of Fine Arts,” but I don’t think that’s where she bought it used. I love the fact this book is used. (Despite her explanations, Diane knew I would.) My book for stories has a story itself. Perfect. I wonder about that sticker. Which Museum of Fine Arts? The city where Diane lives has a reputable art museum, but it’s not called the “Museum of Fine Arts.” So did it travel to her city via someone from someplace else…say Houston or Boston? Did someone buy it at the Museum and never get around to writing in it? Did someone receive it as a gift from someone who went to the Museum? Did some non-reader get stuck with it after a holiday Dirty Santa exchange? If only the pages could speak. They will keep their history to themselves, being forced instead to reveal the stories I’ve written on them. I read 31 books last year – and actually a couple of those were re-reads. I don’t know if that is a respectable number. My friend, Laura, probably reads that many in one month. She, along with Gail, Pat, Diana, Margie, Esther, and my son, Josh, were good to supply me with a steady list of recommendations. Others I picked up through random encounters with library displays (the best being “Just Kids” by Patti Smith.) So here’s my list for March 2010 through March 2011 (in order read):

  • The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
  • Cherry by Mary Karr
  • Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr
  • Lit by Mary Karr
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • Three Stories: A Christmas Memory, One Christmas and The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
  • The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield
  • Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy – Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Little Boy Blues by Malcolm Jones
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Between a Heart and a Rock Place by Pat Benatar
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • Dear Money by Martha McPhee
  • The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Generous Justice by Timothy Keller
  • The Woman I Was Born to Be by Susan Boyle
  • The Trouble With Poetry by Billy Collins
  • Ballistics by Billy Collins
  • Trinity – A Novel of Ireland by Leon Uris
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Short Stories by Flannery O’Connor
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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4 thoughts on “My Year in Books (and How I Got Around to This Report)

  1. I read "The Great Divorce" last year also. You probably didn't go back to read some of my posts from the beginning of the year but I'm actually pulling back a little from reading this year. I just got so convicted having my head in a book all the time while the kids need me so much. I'm practicing dying to self in this area because I LOVE books, but I NEED to LOVE my children more.

  2. Good for you, Luma! I remember that phase of my life – cutting back on reading and music. Now my kids love it when I read because they know it keeps me sane. The verdict is still out on how much they like my singing.

  3. Goodness gracious, how ironic! I just read "The Liar's Club" for my Women's Autobio class that I'm taking this semester. I really enjoyed it, though it was definitely one of the most extreme works we've read. I would love a report back once you've read it to hear what you thought of it. 🙂 I had never heard of Mary Karr before this class, with the exception of "Lit" (her newest memoir). I would also love to know how you end up liking the other books by her on your list. Will you share you reviews with me?

  4. Oh my, I could talk with you forever about your reading list. Sheesh! I looove Breakfast at Tiffany's – pretty much anything by Capote. May I recommend his book of complete short stories if your interest was piqued to read more of his work? He's my fave short story author ever.And Water for Elephants!! Oh, goodness. One of my favorite books of this century. I would love love love to hear what you think of it as well. You picked a very fabulous assortment of books to devour. I think you're my new reading hero.(My bad! I thought these were your books to read, not having already read. Hurry up and share you reviews!! I want to know your thoughts. ;D)

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