49. Homicidal – Paul Alexander – About a serial killer “the grim sleeper”. It was ok. I didn’t know about the guy before. The story could have been developed a lot more, I don’t feel like I have much insight into his psyche.
50. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson – I listened to this while driving around getting myself lost on the backroads of northeast Tennessee, just trying to see what I could see. I’m sure all the goats I passed wondered what was so damn funny as I laughed and laughed alone in my car.
51. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon – I resisted and resisted and resisted reading this. Why? It is about 2 guys who write a comic book, and I just didn’t think it would appeal that much. There was TONS of hype in literary circles and it was on a bunch of award lists, and it’s been on my to-read list since it came out. I finally bit the bullet, and I LOVED it. Great story, great character development.
52. Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures – Walter Moers –Kids book – super fun. A really long, really good plot/ character driven kid’s book. My friends Andree and Ben recommended this series (the Zamonia series)years ago, but I just finally picked it up from my audible.com wish list. It was really fun. A little too much dues ex machine for me, but it IS a kid’s book so I can forgive it.
53. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids – Jen Kirkman – I don’t have kids. It wasn’t really a conscious decision, it just didn’t happen and I never had the overwhelming desire to do anything about it. People in general don’t understand, or tend to feel sorry for me. Sometimes it’s good to hear other people who have chosen to be child-free tell me it’s ok.
54. The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck – No, I had never read it. And now that I have, I’m not sure I get the hype. There is really no character development. No lessons learned, no growth.
55. House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski - wow this was WEIRD. I bought the hard copy because it has lots of odd content (footnotes, maps, illustrations, references to appendices). I think it would be a pain to read on an e-reader. The story is weird. It was GOOD. And it was scary. It’s a movie within a book within another book within an interview within…it’s odd and hard to describe. I loved it.
56. Gulp – Mary Roach – I liked it ok. I heard various people on podcasts talk about how HILARIOUS it is. I chuckled in a couple of places, but I think it would only be HILARIOUS if you laugh every time somebody says poop.
57. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson – LOVED this. LOVED. Her words are like BUTTER. This book is sad and beautiful and hopeful and a little crazy. (Learned about this one while listening to the Yale Open Course ENGL 291: THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1945. I loved every one of the lectures in this series – I highly recommend it.)
58. The Human Stain – Philip Roth – I learned about this on in the Yale Open Course as well, but I didn’t like it as much as Housekeeping. It was ok. Roth is an awesome writer, of course, but I guess I just didn’t connect with the characters as much.
59. How We Decide – Jonah Lehrer – Meh. Not what I expected. I thought he was going to tell me how to not eat M&M’s and French fries, but he kind of didn’t. He explained WHY I eat M&M’s and French fries, and I supposed that should be enough to make me stop. Not so much.
60. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – It super sucks to be poor, live in cardboard housing, and have very, very little hope. Depressing.
61. Night Film – Marisha Pessl - I like reading mystery/ thrillers in the summer, and this was a great one. Unusual, suspenseful, dark. Has what is a sort of cool app that comes with the book where you take a picture of different illustrations in the book and you get additional content. Totally don’t need it to enjoy the book, but it was neat I guess.
62. Night – Elie Wiesel – Good. Another sad story about the holocaust. I think there are better ones.
63. MadAddam – Margaret Atwood – Margaret Atwood has never written a thing that I didn’t love. This one was probably my least favorite, but I still loved it.
64. The Anthologist – Nicholson Baker – I fell in love with Nicholson Baker’s writing many, many years ago when I stumbled across The Mezzanine. He writes in a style close to the way I would write, could I write. This one is tied for my favorite with The Mezzanine.
65. The Golem and the Djinni – Helene Wecker – For some reason this was like The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay for me in that I was reluctant to dive in. Once I did, I was pretty hooked. I really liked it. Very good story. Very good character development. Not sure about you, but I find that pretty important.
66. The Silent Wife – A.S.A Harrison – Meh. Supposed to be as good as Gone Girl, which I found Meh as well. This wasn’t even that good, though. It held my interest, but the “twists” weren’t all that twisty.
67. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital – Sheri Fink – I had a knot in my stomach the whole time I read this. For anyone who thinks they understand what it was like in NOLA and that people whine too much – you need to read this. She does a great job of putting you in the thick of things. I’m not saying all the decisions people made were right, but I know that I DON’T KNOW how I would react in these circumstances, and neither do you.
68. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story – Kurt Eichenwald – Really great description of the ENRON debacle told in a narrative way. I’m an accountant and I still don’t 100% understand all of the shenanigans that went on with the book keeping, but I have a much better understanding than I did before reading this.
69. Tenth of December – George Saunders – George Saunders is my new boyfriend. This is a collection of short stories – I love EVERY ONE. He writes the way I think. He surprises me. He gets me invested in characters in a few short pages. I am now desperately seeking anything else he has written.
70. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie – Coming of age story set on a “modern” Indian reservation populated with alcoholics and people fiercely loyal to tribe. Sad but hopeful.
71. The Circle - Dave Eggers – I tried to read “ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and I just couldn’t get through it. “The Circle” is way better for me. I didn’t absolutely love it. At times it felt tedious and I wanted him to get to the point, but it held my attention. It also made me want to delete my facebook account and go off the grid FOR REAL.
72. Rivers – Michael Farris Smith – Who doesn’t like a dystopian novel set in the place they actually live? I know I do! So yes – setting was fun and awesome. But the author also wove in a good story. I would like to have seen a little more growth in the protagonist, but maybe we’ll get a sequel? There were some very beautifully written passages - so much so that I will buy a hard copy of the book and revisit them. I listened on audible. It’s read by the author and he does a solid, non-distracting job; a pretty good feat for an author-read book.
73. The Good House – Ann Leary – This was fun. I needed something funny to break up all the sad true stories, and sad coming of age stories, and sad dystopian stories. This fit the bill. It had it’s poignant moments, but they were framed in humor.
74. Truth in Advertising – John Kenney – LOVED this! Great story. Great humor. Great character development. I want to read more from this guy – this is apparently his debut novel. It’s about this guy who is a copywriter @ an ad agency. Very un-mad men-like, though.
75. Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City – Billy Sothern – He interjects a little too much flaming liberal politics for my taste; however, his real stories about real people were great. He does a very good job of painting the picture of what it was like in the days after Katrina – very true to what I witnessed myself. The audio book is ATROCIOUS. The reader makes absolutely no effort to get the pronunciations of place names, surnames, even FOOD names correct. He pronounces Jambalaya “Jam-BALL-ya”. Unforgivable. As a criminal attorney, he has some great insight into what happened at OPP (Orleans Parish Prison). I learned a lot about that situation that I didn’t know before, and it was heartbreaking.
76. How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature Free Life – Dan Wilbur – Oh Dan Wilbur, you crack me up. If you haven’t checked out his blog “BetterBookTitles.com”, do so immediately. He retitles classics, like “The Road” becomes “Are We There Yet?”. Game of Thrones becomes “Four Weddings and a Shitload of Funerals”. You get the picture. Hi-larious.
So there you have it. What I’ve read from July through now. My to-read list just keeps getting longer. That’s a good thing, right?