Wednesday, December 31, 2003

One more End-of-the-Year list

This one, on a more personal level.

I told you before, I was keeping a list of the books I've read this year. I think it's a very useful thing for self-reflection, and it's fun to talk about, to boot. (What kind of sentence ending is "to boot"?)

So here's my list, of books I've finished since last New Year's Eve. I'm not going to mess with proper italicization and what not. Just date finished, title, author.

Dave's 2003 Reading List

Dec. 31--An Underachiever's Diary, by Benjamin Anastas
Jan. 10--The Immortal Class, by Travis Hugh Culley
Feb. 2--Songbook, by Nick Hornby
Feb. 5--A Year at the Movies, by Kevin Murphy
Feb. 6--The Hottest State, by Ethan Hawke
Feb. 20--Black House, by Steven King
Mar. 15--The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
Mar. 28--Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
Apr. 4--Freddy's Book, by John Gardener
Apr. 16--If on a Winter's Night A Traveller, by Italo Calvino
Apr. 28--Breakfast at Tiffany's, by Truman Capote
May 9--The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger*
May 21--Wild at Heart, by John Eldridge
May 22--Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger
May 28--Everything's Eventual, by Steven King
June 16--The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
June 24--Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
June 24--Ash Wednesday, by Ethan Hawke
July 2--Generation X, by Douglas Coupland*
July 15--The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
(July 8--half of The Republic, by Plato)
July 28--The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon, by Steven King
Aug. 13--The Forest for the Trees, by Betsy Lerner
Aug. 19--Things You Should Know By Now, by Jason Boyett
Sept. 11--Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
Oct. 12--Don't Waste Your Life, by John Piper
Oct. 29--House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski
Nov. 2--The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
Nov. 7--How to be Alone, by Jonathon Franzen
Nov. 12--High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby*
Nov. 28--You Shall Know Our Velocity!, by Dave Eggers
(Dec. 7--half of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, by David Foster Wallace)
Dec. 11--Not Even a Hint, by Joshua Harris

[ * indicates the second time I've read the book]

And if I could have spent all day reading, I may have been able to tack on Cold Mountain to the end of that list.

So there you are. Dave's year in letters. A total in excess of 10,400 pages, not counting the 230 or so in my current read.

And now for analysis:

Most Read Author: Steven King (3 entries)

Most Disappointing Read: a three-way tie between Catcher (I'm sorry, I just didn't like it), Turn of the Screw (the only time a movie adaption is better than the book itself), and Brief Interviews (the most soulless book I can remember reading)

Most Surprisingly Enjoyable Read: either the Calvino or Nine Stories (coming off Catcher, my expectations were low)

Most Surprising Statistic: 10 (the number of non-fiction and spiritual life books I read; until now, I've been a "fiction only" kinda guy)

And (you knew it was coming) the Top Five Recommendations (besides LOTR and books I've read before) from my 2003 reading list:

This is really hard, I want you to know that.

5) A Year at the Movies--though not high literature, this was a funny and enjoyable read. Kevin Murphy (more widely known as the voice of Tom Servo on MST3K) went to a movie a day for the entire year of 2001. His book chronicles the movie-watching experience as he visits unusual and fascinating movie theaters of all kinds on his trip around the world. The chapter about 9/11 was really cool (he was in New Zealand when it happened, I believe.).

4) The Things They Carried--a profound and moving look at the life of a soldier, described often through the things they carried in their packs that reminded them of home or of their current experiences during the Vietnam War. Really really well written.

3) Wild at Heart--this book changed the life of a friend of mine, and just by talking to him and hearing him describe it, I knew I needed to read it. While it didn't effect as dynamic a life-change in me, it deeply affected my thinking and understanding of myself, which, frankly, is rare for even Christian walk books to do.

2) Kavalier and Clay--this is an outstanding book. Even though I had problems with certain plot points, the lifestyle choices of some characters, etc., I found this to be a fascinating and engaging read, and worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it earned. Highly recommended.

So how can I top that?

1) By breaking my own rule--Generation X, High Fidelity, Lord of the Rings. But the greatest of these is LOTR. Read them all kids. Geez. Beauty.

Okay that's it. I've been goofing off for almost an hour and a half. Geez, I'm such a bad employee.

Happy New Year to all. Be safe. If you engage in adult beverages, do so in moderation, and be prudent. Love to all (especially the new readers!)

No comments: