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Dec 31 2010

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Books I’ve Read in 2010

In 2009, I finally completed my 52 book challenge.  Not only that, I read twice as many books as in 2008.  For 2010, at the moment at least, I don’t have a specific goal.  I will continue to keep track of my books read as I finish them.

Total pages read: 24,002
Shortest book: 117 pages
Longest book: 838 pages
Fiction: 41
Non-fiction: 28
Cookbook: 10
Poetry: 1

Last book read:

80.  Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa’s Fragile Edge by William
Powers.  A memoir of his time in Liberia directing aid during the reign
of Charles Taylor in Liberia.  292 pages.  (Finished 31 Dec 10).
 
Full list below the cut:

Past Lists:
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List


Books I’ve Read in 2010:

  1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir by Haruki Murakami.  Murakami reflects on the lessons learned while running and while writing.  How both activities have taught him things about himself, the art of running, and the art of writing.  192 pages.  (Finished 3 Jan 10).
  2. The Half-Life by Jonathan Raymond.  The story of two men in the 1820’s and two girls in the 1980’s.  How they became friends and how their two stories intersect.  350 pages.  (Finished 5 Jan 10).
  3. The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon.  An amateur cook (and Episcopal Priest) writes a mediation on the simple spirituality of cooking.  273 pages.  (Finished 13 Jan 10).
  4. Cooking from the Coast to the Cascades by the Junior League of Eugene.  A cookbook featuring recipes inspired by life in Western Oregon.  224 pages. (Finished 15 Jan 10).
  5. Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession by Julie Powell.  The story of her apprenticeship to become a butcher, and the marital problems that inspired her apprenticeship.  288 pages.  (Finished 19 Jan 10).
  6. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman.  A collection of essays about pop culture and society.  256 pages.  (Finished 25 Jan 10).
  7. The Book of Whole Meals:  A Seasonal Guide to Assembling Balanced Vegetarian Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners by Annemarie Colbin.  This was a find at Bart’s Books in Ojai, a locally famous outdoor bookstore.  Vegetarian recipes with a whole grain focus and a slight Asian influence.  240 pages.  (Finished 31 Jan 10).
  8. The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions by Winifred Gallagher.  The title pretty much sums it up.  A really interesting look at how our surroundings affect us, in surprising ways.  256 pages. (Finished 2 Feb 10).
  9. Winemaking: Recipes, Equipment, and Techniques For Making Wine at Home by Stanley F. Anderson & Dorothy Anderson.  A book about making wine at home.  304 pages. (Finished 2 Feb 10).
  10. News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez.  The story of the kidnapping of 10 prominent Colombian journalists in the lead up to the surrender of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.  291 pages.  (Finished 15 Feb 10).
  11. Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice by Alissa Hamilton.  A look at the Florida Orange Juice industry, the standardization of orange juice, and what you are really buying at the store.  288 pages. (Finished 18 Feb 10).
  12. Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  A child of hippies moves into a run down section of Oakland and builds a farm on the vacant lot next to her (and her boyfriend’s) apartment.  288 pages.  (Finished 23 Feb 10).
  13. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz.  A book about the benefits and the art of fermenting foods, with plenty of recipes.  200 pages.  (Finished 25 Feb 10).
  14. Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead by Sara Miles.  A book with a radical call to be like Jesus.  The book my community (and church) is reading for lent as we give up God for lent.  208 pages.  (Finished 25 Feb 10).
  15. Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods by Gary Paul Nabhan.  A journey of eating and rediscovering native foods within 250 miles of his desert home in near Tucson, AZ for a year.  330 pages.  (Finished 4 Mar 10).
  16. The Southern Italian Table: Authentic Tastes From Traditional Kitchens by Arthur Schwartz.  My third KCRW cookbook club selection.  256 pages.  (Finished 6 Mar 10).
  17. How (Not) To Speak of God by Peter Rollins.  A theological look at post modern Christianity and why a conflicting ideas may not be a bad thing.  144 pages.  (Finished 9 Mar 10).
  18. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles.  The story of a life long atheist finding faith in communion and then finding the “church” in a food pantry she started.  304 pages.  (Finished 13 Mar 10).
  19. Free For All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck.  Recommended by my sister (who’s about to complete a Master’s in Nutrition Education), this is an academic look at the school food system in the United States.  It was kind of depressing.  380 pages.  (Finished 24 Mar 10).
  20. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  A super intelligent 12 yr old girl from a wealthy family and a super intelligent concierge (who has been hiding her intelligence from the world since childhood) from a poor background find their lives changed with the arrival of a retired Japanese man to their apartment building in Paris.  Oh fiction, how I’ve missed you.  This was a wonderful way to come back.  325 pages.  (Finished 1 Apr 10).
  21. Summertime by J.M. Coetzee.  An interesting novel where the author is himself the main character, through the eyes of a biographer interviewing 5 people who knew the author in his thirties, when he was finding himself as a writer.  256 pages.  (Finished 6 Apr 10).
  22. Gristle: from Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat) edited by Moby and Miyun Park.  A collection of essays about the true costs of eating meat.  At times a little preachy…and not a lot of new information from what I’ve already read.  But its a quick read and loaded with info for someone who hasn’t read a bunch about the subject yet.  160 pages.  (Finished 7 Apr 10).
  23. Strong Waters: A Simple Guide to Making Beer, Wine, Cider and Other Spirited Beverages at Home by Scott Mansfield.  A basic guide to making some of the lesser known alcoholic beverages made in the past.  272 pages.  (Finished 10 Apr 10).
  24. The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway.  A 20-something living in Brooklyn, New York decides to stop eating out while living in New York.  For 2 years she eats, cooks, and blogs about the experience.  This book came from that experience (and includes some recipes).  336 pages.  (Finished 13 Apr 10).
  25. Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery by Steve Hindy & Tom Potter.  The co-founders tell the story of the ups and downs of founding The Brooklyn Brewery.  304 pages.  (Finished 20 Apr 10).
  26. Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing (3rd Edition) by Charles Bamforth.  I’ve got the 2nd Edition of this book and picked up the 3rd Edition from the library to see what had changed.  272 pages.  (Finished 26 Apr 10).
  27. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd Edition) by Charlie Papazian.  I had an older edition of this when I was first starting homebrewing.  It is a great reference book, and I finally replaced my long lost copy of it.  432 pages.  (Finished 29 Apr 10).
  28. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollen.  A short set of guidelines for making choices about the food we eat.  My fourth KCRW cookbook selection.  140 pages.  (Finished 30 Apr 10).
  29. Point Omega by Don DeLillo.  A short novella about a secret war advisor and a young filmmaker in the desert of Southern California.  117 pages.  (Finished 1 May 10).
  30. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman.  A book with a provocative title, is a reimagining of the life of Jesus.  It imagines twin brothers “Jesus” and “Christ” with two very different personalities and roles in the story of Christianity’s key figure.  Part of Canongate’s The Myths Series.  192 pages.  (Finished 10 May 10).
  31. The Homebrewer’s Companion by Charlie Papazian.  Basically a reference manual for more advanced homebrewing techniques.  A companion piece to The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.  I’d been meaning to add this to my homebrewing library for a long time.  464 pages.  (Finished 12 May 10).
  32. The Changeling by Kenzaburō Ōe.  When his best friend (and wife’s brother) commits suicide, Kogito must look back on his life and friendship to learn how each of them got to the place they are.  468 pages.  (Finished 21 May 10).
  33. A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong.  Introducing Canongate’s The Myths Series, Karen Armstrong provides a short overview of myths throughout human history and the roles they have played in society.  176 pages.  (Finished 25 May 10).
  34. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood.  From the perspective of Penelope and her 12 maids (that were hung after Odysseus’ return), we are told the part of the story not included in Homer’s Odyssey.  Part of The Myths Series.  192 pages.  (Finished 28 May 10).
  35. Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson.  The story of Atlas and Heracles, told in the first person.  Both from the time the events were happening, and looking back on them from modern time.  Part of The Myths Series.  192 pages.  (Finished 1 Jun 10).
  36. Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams by Alexander McCall Smith.  Modern stories intermixed with re-tellings of ancient tales of Angus, a Celtic God of Eros and Dreams.  Part of The Myths Series.  196 pages.  (Finished 3 Jun 10).
  37. Jesus Boy by Preston L. Allen.  A young boy blessed by God and one of the Faithful, finds out his childhood love is pregnant and ends up falling in love with the widow of both his families and churches benefactor.   And that is just the beginning of the tangled webs.  364 pages.  (Finished 5 Jun 10).
  38. The Ask by Sam Lipsyte.  A middle aged washed up artist gets fired from his job as a fundraiser at a 3rd tier university.  When suddenly an old classmate returns to the picture and gets him his job back…if he’ll do something for him.  304 pages.  (Finished 11 Jun 10).
  39. The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur by Victor Pelevin.  An imaginative retelling of the myth as a chat in an internet-like chat room.  Part of The Myths Series.  288 pages.  (Finished 15 Jun 10).
  40. Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson by David Grossman.  Part of The Myths Series.  My least favorite of the myth novellas so far.  Read more like an explication of the story from a modern perspective than a contemporary retelling of the story.  176 pages.  (Finished 17 Jun 10).
  41. Girl meets boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith.  Part of The Myths Series.  A retelling of the myth of Iphis and Ianthe set in modern Scotland.  224 pages.  (Finished 22 Jun 10).
  42. Brewing Up A Business: adventures in entrepreneurship by Sam Calagione.  A nice overview of the lessons learned in the first 10 years of Dogfish Head.  272 pages.  (Finished 2 Jul 10).
  43. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  Just before her ninth birthday, Rose discovers she can taste the feelings of the people that make the food she eats.  293 pages.  (Finished 5 Jul 10).
  44. Binu and The Great Wall: The Myth of Meng by Su Tong.  Part of The Myths Series.  The story of a woman’s devotion to her husband and how her tears brought down part of the Great Wall.  300 pages.  (Finished 8 Jul 10).
  45. Tell All by Chuck Palahnuik.  The story of an aging actress, her handler, and a suiter who’s attempting to kill the actress in order to publish a book about her.  I thought this book was almost unreadable.  I’m ready for Chuck to take some time on a book instead of popping out a book a year.  179 pages. (Finished 14 Jul 10).
  46. The Banquet Bug by Geling Yan.  A poor unemployed factory worker figures out how easy it is to pose as a journalist at lavish corporate/government sponsored banquets.  288 pages. (Finished 17 Jul 10).
  47. Sausage: Recipies for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage by Victoria Wise.  A new KCRW cookbook club book.  Recipies for homemade sausage and dishes to go with them.  176 pages.  (Finished 17 Jul 10).
  48. Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier.  A little heavy handed and questionable leaps of knowledge turned my off pretty quickly.  309 pages.  (Finished 21 Jul 10).
  49. Where the Three Roads Meet:  The Myth of Oedipus by Sally Vickers.  Part of The Myths Series.  The story of Oedipus as told to a dying Sigmund Freud. 224 pages.  (Finished 27 Jul 10).
  50. The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern.  An awkward teenage boy discovers a frozen man in his parents basement, who turns out to be a rabbi frozen in the 19th Century.  When a storm knocks out power and un-freezes the rabbi, his life will never be the same.  368 pages.   (Finished 3 Aug 10).
  51. Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis.  The kids of Less Than Zero have gotten older (25 years after the events of their youth).  They’re still fucked up.  A quick look into the lives of the seedy side of LA (with money).  192 pages.  (Finished 5 Aug 10).
  52. The Fire Gospel:  The Myth of Prometheus by Michel Faber.  Part of The Myths Series.  A linguist discovers hidden scrolls when a bomb blows up outside of a museum in Iraq.  It turns out to be a “Fifth” gospel, from a contemporary of Jesus.  Some folks aren’t too happy about the message.  184 pages.  (Finished 7 Aug 10).
  53. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  I jump on the bandwagon of the official airplane reading book of the summer.  The movie version had some significant differences than the book, but still did a good job in presenting the story.  590 pages.  (Finished 13 Aug 10).
  54. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas.  A Ph.D. student finds a rare, cursed book by an obscure 19th-Century author.  In it contains a recipe to journey into consciousness.  399 pages.  (Finished 18 Aug 10).
  55. Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin.  Joel Salatin of Polyface farms (made famous in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc), talks about the challenges facing small farmers and the local food market.  352 pages.  (Finished 25 Aug 10).
  56. From A to X: A Story in Letters by John Berger.  A series of letters written by a woman to her love, a man imprisoned for being an insurgent.  224 pages.  (Finished 28 Aug 10).
  57. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson.  Book 2 of the Millennium series.  I’m also now caught up with the movies.  630 pages.  (Finished 5 Sep 10).
  58. Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery.  Actually her first book, but released in English after the success of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, this is the story of Pierre Arthens, the greatest food critic in the world, on his death bed searching for a long forgotten taste.  160 pages.  (Finished 7 Sep 10).
  59. March by Geraldine Brooks.  The story of the absent father of Little Women, partially based on Alcott’s father (as Little Women was partially based on Alcott and her sisters.  280 pages.  (Finished 10 Sep 10).
  60. A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé.  The tale of the beginnings of an extraordinary bookstore and the trials it faced.  A book about books :).  424 pages.  (Finished 16 Sep 10).
  61. Baba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugrešić.  Part of The Myths Series.  A retelling of the Slavic figure of Baba Yaga and the story of the lives of old women.  327 pages.  (Finished 22 Sep 10).
  62. Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright.  Wonderful poems.  384 pages.  (Finished 24 Sep 10).
  63. The Hurricane Party by Klas Östergren.  Part of The Myths Series.  Set in a dystopian time Hanck Orn learns about the events that led to his son’s death by the Norse God Loki.  304 pages.  (Finished 5 Oct 10).
  64. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.  A touching story about a group of “students” at a boarding school in England.  As they grow up they find love and their place in the world.  288 pages.  (Finished 12 Oct 10).
  65. War Dances by Sherman Alexie.  A collection of short stories and poems.  209 pages.  (Finished 13 Oct 10).
  66. Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum.  Part of The Myths Series.  The story of the orphans from the enchanted city under the river in the Amazon.  164 pages.  (Finished 20 Oct 10).
  67. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr.  For the 10:15 book club.  Looking at the world (both spiritual and physical) in a non-dualistic way.  192 pages.  (Finished 21 Oct 10).
  68. Great House by Nicole Krauss.  The story of a desk and how it dominated the lives of the people who had possession of it over time.  289 pages.  (Finished 1 Nov 10).
  69. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Classic Russian Lit.  838 pages.  (Finished 22 Nov 10).
  70. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.  A look at love and marriage in the land of freedom.  576 pages.  (Finished 1 Dec 10).
  71. The Beach by Alex Garland.  A secret beach inhabited by travelers to SE Asia wanting to escape the ruin of tourist traps.  371 pages.  (Finished 4 Dec 10).
  72. Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth by James M. Tabor.  The story of two men from different sides of the world and their race to find the deepest cave on earth.  256 pages.  (Finished 11 Dec 10).
  73. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.  The last of the officially finished books in the Millennium series (rumors of a mostly finished unpublished one out there).  The events of the first two book come to resolution.  563 pages.  (Finished 15 Dec 10).
  74. I Curse The River of Time by Per Petterson.  A novel of a mother and son…one dying and one getting a divorce.  233 pages.  (Finished 17 Dec 10).
  75. The Very Best Of Recipes for Health: Recipes and More from the Popular New York Times Column by Martha Rose Shulman.  KCRW cookbook selection.  Some nice interesting recipes, but more of a index style cookbook than one that has a story.  416 pages.  (Finished 23 Dec 10).
  76. Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor by Peter Reinhart.  Ooh…whole grains.  Might have to follow up the BBA challenge with a Whole Grain Breads challenge.  320 pages.  (Finished 24 Dec 10).
  77. Peter Reinhart’s artisan breads every day: Fast and Easy Recipies for World Class Breads by Peter Reinhart.  I’ve actually been slowing working through these bread books for a good portion of the year.  This one utilizes some of the no-knead techniques to make it easier for the beginner or just less time consuming.  224 pages.  (Finished 24 Dec 10).
  78. White Teeth by Zadie Smith.  The story of three families in London, all from different backgrounds, yet intertwined.  464 pages.  (Finished 25 Dec 10).
  79. Whispering in the Giant’s Ear: A Frontline Chronicle From Bolivia’s War on Globalization by William Powers.  I heard this guy read at Powell’s from his latest book, LAPL didn’t have it yet…so I got this one instead.  256 pages.  (Finished 30 Dec 10).
  80. Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa’s Fragile Edge by William Powers.  A memoir of his time in Liberia directing aid during the reign of Charles Taylor in Liberia.  292 pages.  (Finished 31 Dec 10).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2010/books-ive-read-in-2010/

  • erdman31

    Wow. I'm impressed. That's a lot of books to go through in a year, my friend. I read only about 8-20 in a given year. At the moment, I'm bogged down in Joyce's Ulysses. Well, bogged down, yes, but I am really appreciating him. It's hard to understand how someone can be so talented as a writer. Damn. His genius amazes me.

    A few thoughts on the above works you've read….

    Coetzee. I read Disgrace, and I couldn't connect with it. The main character seemed so self-absorbed and static. He never seemed to me to change, which in and of itself isn't a knock on the novel, but in the absence of anything else that was compelling, I felt like I was in the head and hear of someone who didn't really have anything interesting to contribute to others or to the reader. So, do you recommend I try more Coetzee? Have you read Disgrace or other works by him? A good friend of mine with a good eye for literature recommended him. He passed away, so I haven't been able to ask him what was compelling to him about Coetzee.

    Peter Rollins. I'm curious to hear more about your experience reading him. I read that particular book, and I think I've got a review of it sitting on my old blog.

    When I Talk about Running. Worth reading? I'm a runner, so I've been interested in this book, written by a novelist no less. It has always sounded interesting. What was your experience?

    Anna Karenina. I just read the novel this year. It seems to be tops on the list of many renowned authors. I can see why. I enjoyed it, although sometimes I felt he spent too much time telling us what was in the heads of his characters and not enough time showing who they were through the narrative. I see I have yet to post a review. I think I've got it written up, just not posted. I have a running list of Top 100 novels that I'm working through. You can read more here: http://erdman31.com/the-human-narrative-project/

    Again. Wow. I admire your reading abilities.

    • Oh Ulysses, I think I've tried to make it through that book at least 4 times (including in a college class on Joyce). I can appreciate the scope of his two late novels…I just can't seem to finish them.

      I'm actually thinking of making my goal to read fewer books next year. Allow myself to actually engage further in depth with them. But we'll see, I spend a lot of time on the subway/bus so books get read.

      Coetzee: I haven't read a lot of him either. I saw the film version of Disgrace and thought it was a well made film. I also had an acquaintance that was quite fond of his writing. I did like the book in this list, but more because of the way he engaged the story…writing an autobiographical novel through the eyes of five people that had interacted with while becoming an established writer.

      Rollins: We read this as part of a book club for the church service I attend. It was also part of our experiment of giving up "God" for lent. It definitely was something that fits with the general philosophy of the priest at the service.

      Murakami and running: In general I recommend anything by Murakami. I'm not much of a runner, but it was still interesting to read.

      I think in any of the large/epic novels like Karenina/War&Peace/Brothers Karamazov…there is always a danger of the author telling us too much of what's going on internally…but then I guess that's what separates the greats from the not so greats…they get the balance right.