Reading Roundup: 2009

(Here are 2008 and 2007)

In 2009 I read 80 books; this is slightly more than 2008 and slightly less than 2007. I was in school for half the year, but many of my classes used novels, and I still did some 'fun' reading on the side.

I read 54 fiction books and only 26 nonfiction; it felt to me like I had read more fiction this year than in the past. Looking at my previous posts, that is certainly the case; during the last two years I've kept track it's usually been more evenly divided. I'm sure that part of this is due to the nature of my classes during the first half of the year; literature programs generally concentrate more on fiction and narrative than nonfiction (although we did do some memoir).

49 books were by men and only 31 by women. Not sure if there's a really good reason for this not; in 2007 women greatly outnumbered men and last year they were evenly divided. Who knows. We'll have to see how 2010 shakes out.

Once again I didn't do a great job at reading stuff written before the mid-twentieth century or at reading things from other countries. I would like to keep working on that goal. I have been reading quite a few things that are 'Mormon', both nonfiction and fiction; that is a community I want to support and I've been mostly impressed with what I read this year.

In no particular order, here are some books that stand out to me from this year:

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple
The Tree House by Doug Thayer
No Going Back by Jonathan Langford
Waiting for the Light to Change by Annette Haws

Columbine by Dave Cullen
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts
My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball by Edward Kimball
The Year my Son and I Were Born by Kathryn Lynard Soper

As far as movies go, we only watched 30. This is a much smaller number than in other years and it's actually been over a month since we last watched one. I love movies, so maybe this year we'll have to try and watch more. (We do have a weekly movie night with the kids, but I don't write those ones down). A few standouts from this past year:

The Errand of Angels
Tell No One
Vera Drake


Dave Cullen said…
Thanks for including my book, Columbine.

(BTW, oddly enough Seabuscuit was edited by the same person, Jonathan Karp. He's brilliant.)
gm said…
Cullen , who first reported on the story for the online magazine Salon, acknowledges in the book's source notes that thoughts he attributes to Klebold and Harris are conjecture gleaned from the record the pair left behind.

Jeff Kass takes a more straightforward approach in "Columbine: A True Crime Story," working backward from the events of the fateful day.
The Denver Post

Mr. Cullen insists that the killers enjoyed "far more friends than the average adolescent," with Harris in particular being a regular Casanova who "on the ultimate high school scorecard . . . outscored much of the football team." The author's footnotes do not reveal how he knows this; when I asked him about it while preparing this review, Mr. Cullen said he did not necessarily mean to imply that Harris was sexually active. But what else would such words mean?

"Eric and Dylan never had any girlfriends," the more sober Mr. Kass writes, and were "probably virgins upon death."
Wall Street Journal
Dave Cullen said…
FYI, GM heads a local press that published Kass' book. I don't want to get into a tit for tat, but for the record, I never spoke to him and his characterizations of my author are untrue.

Sorry to bring this unpleasantness here.

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