Book rundown, 2009

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This year I didn’t match the 130 books of 2006 nor the 141 books of 2007 but at least I bested the 83 books of 2008. I wish I’d read more than 101 books in 2009, but do bear in mind that I wrote one (1) book, which ate into my reading time. Also it ate into my sleeping time, eating time, relaxing time, and sanity. Can’t say I recommend writing a book, though I do recommend buying one, specifically, the one I wrote.

Without further ado, I present the excruciatingly detailed discussion of the my year in reading, 2009:

Total books read, cover-to-cover: 101

Total books written, cover-to-cover, including two indexes and an appendix: 1

Age Levels:

  • Adult: 75
  • YA: 12
  • Children’s: 14

Books read that were published in 2009:

  • 33 or thereabouts. I don’t keep record of when the book was published, but that’s about right.

Nonfiction: 13

Fiction: 88

Genres:  (as some books have more than one genre, total exceeds 101)


  • Animal books : 2
  • Biography: 2
  • Grammar/Language: 1
  • History: 2
  • Memoir: 2
  • Political Science: 2
  • Readers’ Advisory: 1
  • Travel: 1
  • True Crime: 2


  • Biblical: 1: The Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb
  • Classical/canonical literature: 1: Henry V (or 2, if you include Zamyatin’s We)
  • Fantasy: 40
  • Historical fiction: 9
  • Horror: 7
  • Humor: 12
  • Literary fiction: 9
  • Mainstream/popular fiction: 5
  • Mysteries: 10
  • Science Fiction: 13
  • Superhero: 3
  • Suspense/Thriller: 6


  • Graphic novels: 39, of which 3 were nonfiction
  • Cartoon collections: 1: The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack, a bizarre and funny book
  • Essay collections: 1: State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America
  • Photo collections: 1: Creature, by Andrew Zuckmen
  • Plays: 1: Shakespeare’s Henry V, interpreted in graphic novel format but with the original, unabridged text, and no footnotes, which was really quite difficult to read, pictures notwithstanding
  • Annotated bibliographies: 1: Women’s Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests


  • Annual fat Russian novel: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, probably the least-Russian Russian novel I’ve ever read. I didn’t like it, per se, but I appreciated it for its influence on Orwell’s 1984
  • Re-reads: 5


  • 58 total

Favorite new (to me) authors:

  • K.J. Parker and Kate Atkinson. Also Jessica Zellers.
  • Most read author: K.J. Parker. As soon as I discovered her, or perhaps him, I devoured all 11 books that he, or maybe she, has published.

Best: Hell, by Robert Olen Butler. Also Women’s Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests.

Honorable mentions:

  • Creature, by Andrew Zuckerman
  • Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett
  • Purple and Black, by K. J. Parker
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney
  • The Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb
  • Beat the Reaper, by Joshua Bazell
  • When Will There Be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson

Worst: I’m getting better about not reading books I don’t like, so I’m pleased to announce that I didn’t read anything horrible. However:

  • Sven the Returned, a graphic novel by Brian Wood, was confusing to me; I couldn’t keep the characters straight
  • Kevin Smith did a smashing job interpreting the Green Arrow, but his book Batman: Cacophony just didn’t work for me, maybe because Batman isn’t the right character for the snarky dialogue that Smith excels at.
  • Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, a young adult novel by Gail Giles, disappointed me because it turns out the narrator was unreliable and she was basically fabricating the whole story the entire time. I hate tricks like that.

One last thing:

Women’s Nonfiction: A Guide to Reading Interests, by Jessica Zellers, really is worth the price of purchase. I recommend acquiring a copy for home and for work, and naturally you’ll want to advise your local public and academic libraries to acquire copies.


12 responses »

  1. eleemosenary arcihvist

    Happy 2010 Jess. Am bookbound in snowy Denver in archival grandpa mode, but figured I’d check yr latest reading list.My 42-year old son,by the way has also finished giving me his list upon which at least two besides the R.Crumb effort are starred as gotta read-ems.Hope alls well on the Burg front, Until we see ya in Janus or early Feb,best regards, tgb/EA

  2. Snowy Denver sounds wonderful. If I were in your place I wouldn’t be rushing back to Wilhelmsplatz– but when you do get back, I’ll put some books in your hand. (And last I checked, you hadn’t finished the Discworld books, am I right?)

  3. eelemosenary archivist

    That’s a Roger on Discworld. And of course small Denver neighborhoods of tree-lined"Craftsman" style homes like that in which the extended family live are a joy as far as urban life goes, but grandpapas are a commodity to be rationed lest one seem too comfy in temp quarters & wear out the welcome mat.Library out there IS spectacular though.View of snow-capped Rockies outside the glass-walled reading room is enticing,but "home"is for the time being,in the Tidewater.Next Autumn is an unwritten page.Stay tuned for descriptions of Redcaps, bootblacks and assorted denizens of major Rail Terminals. Amtrak legs of western journies are an anthropological treatise unto themselves. out-4-now, tgb/EA

  4. eelemosenary archivist

    OK, K.J Parker short read is AT LEAST worthy of Honorable Mention. Critique & comments re:"Colours in Steel" will follow in 24 to 72. Ah yes,the character in front row(yep that one who shouldn’t walk cliffside paths} may have at least some traits in common with the main protagonists of "Purple and Black". Ces’t la Vieski:) EA/tgb

  5. eleemosenary arcihvist

    MsK.J.Parker’s work is a welcome new balm for old philosophical conundrums;Obrigado for suggestion."Colours in the Steel" is nice subsequent Sunday read EA/tgb.

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