Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The book List

Check out the latest POEM IN A SHOP as part of international put your poem in a shop month - by Argent... - a real beaut

I have a little red diary where I note all my reads, mostly so I can check whether I've read something before, such is my razor sharp memory that I sometimes would only realise this a few pages in, which isn't much good for making progress through the slag heap that is my pile of books yet to be read...
Anyway - this year has been markedly less readerly than the previous - less books in cars (in fact eh none) because of less time in the car, and less books in general because of a higher amount of being out and about and generally messing.. this means the list is shorter, but I can give you a bit more on them, since they are fewer in number - ie i'll try and think of a couple of relevant thoughts on each - instead of just the marks out of 10 given last year, hope you enjoy reading about my reading while you should be reading and i should be reading something better for our heads....
I will help those of you with time constraints by putting in bold the ones you absolutely have to read, and maybe more importantly - in italics - the ones to avoid at all costs

Music For Torching - AM Homes - funny, fast, off the wall, worth a read.

So Long, See you tomorrow - William Maxwell - alright, a bit subtle for a christmas read, but only cost me 1p, so can't complain.

The End of Alice - AM Homes - physically sickening, v visceral, horrific and amazing writing - only read if your head can take it.

Eats Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss - surprisingly entertaining & educational

The Plague - Camus - all about the atmosphere, slow claustrophic read

The Bone People - Keri Hulme - innovative and great empathy - trails off a bit

These are our Lives - Stinging Fly Anthology - great collection - some brilliant stories - esp liked the heart swop one

Comfort of Strangers - Ian McEwan - A brilliant short book, amazing capturing of relationships, but dissappointed by the ending

The Secret River - Kate Grenville - gripping at the start, fades quite a bit

Disgrace - JM Coetzee - pretty undeniably a genius book, every page glows

Walk the Blue Fields - Claire Keegan - loved these stories - annoyingly brilliant

All Summer - Claire Kilroy - another brilliantly written book, with a lovely flow to the plot - a little self conscious in places

Let's be alone together - Another Stinging Fly collection - mostly stories of oddballs & lunatics -alot of good reads

Diary of a Manhatten Call Girl - Tracey Quan - a guilty pleasure, kind of dross unfortunately

The day of the locust, diary of Balso Snell - Nathaniel West - Amazing pair of books, really enjoyed them

Lessons in Heartbreak - Cathy Kelly - a loan from someone whose feelings I didn't want to hurt, so I read it. Heartbreakingly repetitive, and uninspiring overall

Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman - really great imagination, a beautiful book

Affinity - Sarah Waters - spooky read, a very talented crafter of novels

Proust was a neuroscientist - Jonah Lehrer - really really brilliant book - best non fiction by a mile (actually might be the only non fiction, but still the best) loved it

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - bit of a page turner alright, enjoyable read, kinda repetetive in parts

Bad Blood - Lorna Sage - middling kind of memoir - had great expectations of it and was a bit dissappointed

Angels & Demons - Dan Brown - compulsive read, ridiculous plot, gruesome in parts but enjoyable

Everyman - Philip Roth - a brilliant little book, sad reflection on life

Post Office - Charles Bukowski - a rollocking read, fun, energetic, leaping happily through the detritus of a tragic life

The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry - a moving book, accomplished and thought provoking

Hard Boiled Hard Luck - Banana Yoshimoto - slightly disjointed, but interesting enough - engaging atmosphere

Host - Stephanie Meyer - more easy reading, imaginative

How many miles to Babylon - Jennifer Johnson - a very perfect short book on friendship, war and life, reading it was like curling up in a duvet, so comforting and true

I'm almost finished reading a few others - but I'll keep them towards next years total!!!

Happy Reading y'all


Totalfeckineejit said...

You read all these in a year? I haven't read that many books in my whole life-and that's quite a long time.Mind you I can't read and drive at the same time like you.I have an aversion to 'How Miles to Banagher' cos I had to read it for my leaving cert (second failure at education, adult style)but will sure check out some of the others and will blame you if I don't like them.Never read Bukowski so might start with that.And finally but incredibly I have to point out that you have omitted to mention the most important reason for buying 'Let's be alone together'ie the best front book cover ever in the history of book covers done by the greatest photographer that ever lived...ME! Tsk, Tsk!

Rachel Fox said...

What a great varied list. There are a few recommendations I will follow up on there.

I keep lists of everything I watch/listen to/read so I'm glad to see I'm not the only one! I just like to keep track of what I'm putting into my head partly. I've got my film list of 09 up in a post just now but my book list this year isn't much to shout about...perhaps because of all the films...oh and the full box set of Sopranos...and lots of other excuses...

One of the best books I read was 'Revolutionary Road' though. Haven't seen the film yet but the film did spur me on to read the book. It's brilliant.


Titus said...

How cool are you list dudes! I can't remember what I read last month.
Thanks for the recommendations, however, and especially for the use of bold to help the time-poor like me!

Niamh B said...

TFE - It was purely the cover that drew me to that book! (ok maybe not, but it is beeeauuutiful - well done!)
Cmon you have to put yours up now.. and I did put mine up warts n all in fairness.
Thanks Rachel - the list is a nice memory aid too, typing those out was like taking a quick trip back through the year and all the little voices in my head. Gonna head over and check out your film list now.
Thanks Titus - we are very cool indeed. Those recommendations come with a full Various Cushions satisfaction guarantee... if you're into the same sorta thing as me... and judgin by your poems in shops participation I think you might be! More on that tomorrow

Totalfeckineejit said...

You keep your list in a diary,I keep mine on the back of a postage stamp.

Niamh B said...

Right then TFE, you do a list of all the books you're on the cover of this year... including poetry journals - I can name at least 2...

Inks Correspondent said...

Great list! I (like you) wish I could devote more time to reading.

I've never recorded the books I've read though - I hold to the theory that if I can't remember reading a book it wasn't very good! That said, there is great pleasure in an overflowing book shelf filled with well-thumbed texts.

Niamh B said...

you like me?!!! or you (like me) ahh damned punctuation... I fear it's the latter. Like your blog - how did you manage to get someone to pay you to do one of these things...?

Jessica said...

I have often almost finished the book before I realize I've read it before.

It's a quandary: keep reading, since I've put so much time into the book already, or give up, because NOW remember how it all ends.

Should probably start keeping a list too. I like TFE's idea, postage stamp is about the right size.

Niamh B said...

The other thing I find really hard is how to stop reading something that you're not enjoying... I know there's millions of great books out there, so why persist when reading something average - in hopes that it will get better? I find it very difficult to give up on a book in that situation...
But yeah that must be a killer - i think my worst was about 3 chapters in when I realised it was all a bit too familiar!!