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Dec 24 2011

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Books I’ve Read in 2011

Total pages read: 23,992
Shortest book: 81 pages
Longest book: 985 pages
Fiction: 46
Non-fiction: 20
Cookbook: 11
Poetry: 5

Last book read:

82.  House of Holes by Nicholson Baker.  A bunch of interlinked raunchy tales from the master of literary pornography.  262 pages. (Finished 24 Dec 2011).

Full list below the cut:

Past Lists:
2010 List
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List

  1. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by John Krakauer.  The story of what lead Pat Tillman to leave the NFL and join the Army after September 11, 2001 and the administration and military leadership that exploited and failed him and his family after his death.  416 pages.  (Finished 3 Jan 11).
  2. Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, With Recipies by Mark Bitterman.  A whole lot of info and history about salt.  A KCRW cookbook club selection.  304 pages.  (Finished 4 Jan 11).
  3. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.  The first volume of a new trilogy following the lives of a few families from different countries and backgrounds.  This first volume takes place before and during World War 1.  985 pages.  (Finished 12 Jan 11).
  4. Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord.  The story of a psychiatrist who travels the world searching for the meaning of happiness.  Written in a child-like verse in third-person.  The English translation of the French bestseller.  Read for the 10:15 book club at church.  192 pages.  (Finished 13 Jan 11).
  5. Grape vs. Grain: A Historical, Technological, and Social Comparison of Wine and Beer by Charles Bamforth.  Noted brewing professor/expert from UC Davis discusses the process of making and the status of wine and beer in society.  224 pages.  (Finished 18 Jan 11).
  6. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie.  A followup to the adventures in Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Haroun’s little brother goes on his own adventures in the World of Magic.  223 pages.  (Finished 20 Jan 11).
  7. The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories by Bruno Schulz.  The known published works of a Polish Jewish writer/artist that was killed during World War II by a Gestapo officer.  I got this collection of stories because The Street of Crocodiles serves as the base of the new Jonathan Safron Foer project Tree of Codes.  335 pages.  (Finished 31 Jan 11).
  8. Swan: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver.  The latest collection from the wonderful Mary Oliver.  96 pages.  (Finished 31 Jan 11).
  9. Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White & Jamil Zainasheff.  A whole lot about brewing yeast.  300 pages.  (Finished 7 Feb 11).
  10. Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson.  How to make the bread from San Francisco’s famous Tartine Bakery at home and other ways to use the bread you’ve made.  304 pages.  (Finished 9 Feb 11).
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.  The story of a family in a mythical city and its rise and fall.  417 pages.  (Finished 23 Feb 11).
  12. Tales from the Medicine Trail: Tracking down the health secrets of shamans, herbalists, mystics, yogis, and other healers by Chris Kilham.  The “Medicine Hunter” travels to the Amazon, Peru, India, Hawaii and Vanuatu to learn about the sacred and medicinal plants of the area.  292 pages.  (Finished 3 Mar 11).
  13. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.  Set in an America that is failing to the pressure of its financial pressures, two immigrants find each other.  331 pages.  (Finished 9 Mar 11).
  14. Born on a Blue Day:  Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet.  A memoir from a high functioning austistic savant that experiences numbers as colors (synestehsia).  240 pages.  (Finished 12 Mar 11).
  15. Wild Child: and Other Stories by T. C. Boyle.  A collection of short stories by T. C. Boyle.  304 pages.  (Finished 21 Mar 11).
  16. Drop City by T. C. Boyle.  A commune of hippies move up to rural Alaska after the local authorities tear down the buildings on their commune in California.  444 pages.  (Finished 31 Mar 11).
  17. 13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro.  An American professor visiting Paris finds a box of memories in his office.  This novel is his attempts of putting together the story from those mementos.  278 pages.  (Finished 4 Apr 11).
  18. Super Natural Everyday:  Well-Loved Recipies from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson.  Follow up to 101 Cookbooks blogger’s first book Super Natural Cooking, this time with a focus on easy everyday recipies.  256 pages.  (Finished 5 Apr 11).
  19. Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.  A look at Harlem and what its role in African-American culture is.  288 pages.  (Finished 11 Apr 11).
  20. Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer.  JSF takes Bruno Schulz’s story The Street of Crocodiles and literally cuts out a new story from the text.  139 pages.  (Finished 11 Apr 11).
  21. My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South by Rosetta Costantino.  A KCRW Cookbook club selection.  Nice recipes from a lesser known region of Italy…though I’m not sure how much I’ll actually cook from this book.  416 pages.  (Finished 13 Apr 11).
  22. The Jokers by Albert Cossery.  The story of how some pranksters almost bring down the oppressive governor of their Egyptian city.  232 pages.  (Finished 14 Apr 11).
  23. Angels by Denis Johnson.  Two people meet on a Greyhound bus and begin a dark ride cross-country.  224 pages.  (Finished 18 Apr 11).
  24. A Life on Paper: Stories by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud.  A collection of stories translated and published into English for the first time (as a collection). Châteaureynaud‘s stories are of the modern world with a hint of fantasy (ala Kafka).  256 pages.  (Finished 25 Apr 11).
  25. 52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander.  A man sets out to bake the “perfect” loaf of bread by baking a loaf of bread every week for a year.  352 pages.  (Finished 6 May 11).
  26. Making It: Radical Home-Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen.  A book full of projects on home sustainability in urban environments.  Coyne & Knutzen practice sustainable practices in urban Los Angeles.  256 pages.  (Finished 8 May 11).
  27. The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander.  A man (and his wife) build a garden…and learns many lessons in the process.  304 pages.  (Finished 21 May 11).
  28. In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time by Peter Lovenheim.  A tragic event down the street from his house inspires a man to get to know his neighbors.  A story about the nature of community in our modern society.  256 pages.  (Finished 24 May 11).
  29. The Urban Homestead:  Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen.  A couple living in the heart of LA strives to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle…and explains how you can do it as well.  360 pages.  (Finished 26 May 11).
  30. House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard.  A “special child” in the south grows up and overcomes both physical and mental difficulties to experience life to the fullest and become a successful writer.  A memoir from the award-winning author.  208 pages.  (Finished 2 Jun 11).
  31. Hocus Bogus by Romain Gary writing as Émile Ajar.  A French writer who has one France’s top literary award tires of the box he’s in and creates a new persona.  When his new books gain the attention of the critics and awards, he quickly writes this book to throw them off the trail even further.  224 pages.  (Finished 7 Jun 11).
  32. Hector and the Secrets of Love by François Lelord.  Hector’s journeys continue when he is sent by a pharmaceutical company to track down a professor friend of his that is developing a drug to help people fall in love.  176 pages.  (Finished 9 Jun 11).
  33. When the Killing’s Done by T. C. Boyle.  A novel based in the Northern Channel Islands.  A park service employee trying to restore native populations and an animal activist square off over many years. 384 pages. (Finished 14 Jun 11).
  34. Trask by Don Berry.  Set in Oregon just after the boundary dispute between the US and Britain was resolved, a man goes on a journey to a part of coastal Oregon yet to be settled (or even largely exploited) by white men. 348 pages.  (Finished 22 Jun 11).
  35. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky.  Two parts of what was envisioned to a 5 part novel telling the story of what was going on in France during World War II.  Already a well know novelist, Irène Némirovsky was arrested in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz where she was killed.  These stories were recently discovered and published for France and the rest of the world.  367 pages.  (Finished 29 Jun 11).
  36. The Literary Conference by César Aira.  A translator who falls on hard times due to the global economic downturn also happens to be a mad scientist trying to build a clone army from a famous Mexican author.  What could possibly go wrong?  90 pages.  (Finished 30 Jun 11).
  37. Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton.  The story of how the chef of NYC’s Prune restaurant came of age and found herself owning a restaurant (and married).  304 pages.  (Finished 12 Jul 11).
  38. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.  The story of an aging punk rock music executive, his assistant and the lives of the people whom intersect theirs.  352 pages.  (Finished 15 Jul 11).
  39. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.  A boy’s story from Sierra Leone, who loses his family after rebels attack his village, is recruited to join the army fighting the rebels, and ends up getting rehabilitated to become a spokesperson for child soldiers.  240 pages.  (Finished 17 Jul 11).
  40. The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean.  The story of orchid sellers/growers in South Florida.  The basis for the movie Adaptation.  284 pages.  (Finished 26 Jul 11).
  41. Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes.  A look at the problem of obesity, the research done about it, where it got derailed (according to his perspective), and what we can do to combat it (a paleo viewpoint of diet).  272 pages.  (Finished 28 Jul 11).
  42. The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat.  Latest KCRW Cookbook Club selection.  I think I’m most interested in the marinades (cuz really that’s the important parts of the recipes in this book).  184 pages.  (Finished 30 Jul 11).
  43. Moontrap by Don Berry.  Its 1850 and the Oregon Territory is only a couple of years old.  A former mountain man attempts to adjust to life in the young settlements of the territory.  315 pages.  (Finished 4 Aug 11).
  44. To Build a Ship by Don Berry.  The third (and last) of Berry’s novels (all set in the Oregon Territory), a group of settlers in Tillamook country set out to build a ship after the captain of the only ship willing to sail into the bay dies.   203 pages.  (Finished 5 Aug 11).
  45. A Field Guide of the North American Family (An illustrated Novella) by Garth Risk Hallberg.  A bunch of topical interconnected conditions, that can be read in different ways to make a novella (that could be different for each reader) along with pictures curated from the accompanying website.  144 pages.  (Finished 6 Aug 11).
  46. Broetry by Brian McGackin.  A collection of poetry for dudes who don’t like poetry.  128 pages.  (Finished 9 Aug 11).
  47. The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World by Jay Bahadur.  Instead of journalism school, Bahadur decides to learn in the field and travels to Somalia to discover the world of the Somali pirates.  He touches on the conditions that brought them to piracy, the evolution of piracy in Somalia, the economics and what can be done to combat it.  320 pages.  (Finished 11 Aug 11).
  48. Home Coffee Roasting: Romane and Revival (revised, updated edition) by Kenneth Davids.  A quick overview on coffee roasting, coffee varietals/regions, and equipment to roast your own coffee beans.  256 pages.  (Finished 14 Aug 11).
  49. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.  Duncan loves a reclusive singer-songwriter from America.  He also has a long term marriage-like relationship with Annie.  One day, he turns away from that relationship, and she ends up connecting with her life (and Duncan’s first love).  406 pages.  (Finished 16 Aug 11)
  50. The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle.  A fictional account of the the build up to the release of The Kinsey Report, and his inner circle of assistants that helped him compile the research.  418 pages.  (Finished 19 Aug 11).
  51. Broken by Karin Fossum.  A woman wakes to find a man standing above her bed.  But the man is just a character in a future book.  One who has stepped out of the line and foisted himself upon her.  Now she must work with this character to unravel the mystery of her next novel.  265 pages. (Finished 23 Aug 11).
  52. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss.  Timothy Ferriss tests out various “body hacks” (with the help of friends) so you can have the best info for your own body hacks.  571 pages.  (Finished 24 Aug 11).
  53. Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami.  Book 1 of the “Trilogy of the Rat” introduces the Rat and Murakami to the world.  This small novella gives glimpses of what is to come Murakami’s work as he develops his writing and characters.  Told by an unnamed narrator, set in a small coastal town, his life centered around J’s Bar and his friendship with the Rat.  130 pages. (Finished 25 Aug 11).
  54. Pinball,1973 by Haruki Murakami.  Three years after Hear the Wind Sing, the unnamed narrator tells the story of his quest for a Pinball machine, the two twins living with him, and the time the Rat fell in love.  Book 2 of The Trilogy of the Rat.  215 pages.  (Finished 26 Aug 11).
  55. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami.  The unnamed narrator is back and about to turn thirty.  He is newly divorced for a second time, when a mysterious man comes to his office.  What follows is a quest to find his friend and a mysterious sheep.  Book 3 of The Trilogy of the Rat.  368 pages.  (Finished 31 Aug 11).
  56. Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami.  The unnamed narrator of The Trilogy of the Rat searches for his missing girlfriend four years later.  A sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase (also referred to as Book 4 of the Trilogy of the Rat).  416 pages.  (Finished 5 Sep 11).
  57. Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aqua Frescas by Fany Gerson.  A KCRW Cookbook club selection.  A brief background on what paletas are, then mainly just recipies with nice pictures.  128 pages. (Finished 7 Sep 11).
  58. Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History by H.E. Jacob.  The story of bread from its first appearances in civilization to its role in the two World Wars and various wars and revolutions in between.  Written in 1944 in German by a Jewish scholar who had escaped to the United States.  416 pages.  (Finished 21 Sep 11).
  59. Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum.  The body of a much loved girl is found outside of a small Norwegian community.  Inspector Sejer must discover what happened to this girl with few cues to start.  295 pages.  (Finished 25 Sep 11).
  60. The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Three women set out to tell the story of the maids of Jackson, MS during time leading up and during the civil rights movement.  444 pages.  (Finished 30 Sept 11).
  61. He Who Fears the Wolf by Karin Fossum.  Inspector Sejar just misses a bank robbery where the hostage taken is the chief suspect in a murder that has also recently occurred.  288 pages.  (Finished 5 Oct 11).
  62. When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum.  Two kids follow a woman home with the intent of stealing her money for more beer money.  That’s when things start to go wrong.  272 pages.  (Finished 13 Oct 11).
  63. The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum.  A man travels to India to find a bride and on the day she is due to arrive a women is found beaten to death outside of the small town.  The search for her killer causes the entire town to question each other.  306 pages.  (Finished 17 Oct 11).
  64. Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright.  Wonderful poems.  384 pages. (Finished 22 Oct 11).
  65. Black Seconds by Karen Fossum.  A nine-year old girl disappears while on a short bike ride to the local convenience store.  At first, there are no clues, but eventually the story of her disappearance begins to unravel. 266 pages. (Finished 24 Oct 11).
  66. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  A woman gets out of a cab on a busy expressway and takes an emergency staircase down into a reality that is one centimeter off from 1984.  She calls this world 1Q84 (Q for question, but also the sound of the number 9 in Japanese).  A man agrees to ghost write a promising young writer’s novel.  Both actions set these two on a course that eventually leads to each other.  924 pages.  (Finished 4 Nov 11).
  67. The Water’s Edge by Karin Fossum.  A boy is found dead, a victim of sexual assault.  While searching for the perpetrator of that crime another boy goes missing.  Inspector Sejer must find what has happened to these two boys before someone else disappears.  240 pages. (Finished 6 Nov 11).
  68. Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum.  A young man drowns in the middle of a lake while out with his friends.  However, his friend’s story doesn’t quite add up.  256 pages.  (Finished 7 Nov 11).
  69. The Caller by Karin Fossum.  A bunch of particularly nasty pranks begin happening in a small Norwegian town.  Eventually one ends up causing the death of an 8 yr old boy.  Inspector Sejer must find this prankster before things get worse.  304 pages. (Finished 09 Nov 11).
  70. The Painter of Signs by R.K. Narayan.  An educated man who finds the art in painting signs for businesses, meets a woman who is working to slow the population explosion in India, and falls in love.  183 pages.  (Finished 13 Nov 11).
  71. Kingdom’s End and Other Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto.  A collection of stories written about the time around and immediately after the partition of India and Pakistan.  Came across this via recommendation of Salman Rushdie (on twitter).  272 pages.  (Finished 19 Nov 11).
  72. The End of the West by Michael Dickman.  A collection of poetry written by a former college classmate of mine. Up front and bleak at times.  89 pages.  (Finished 19 Nov 11).
  73. Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill.  A beautifully designed book about making small batches of beer (and tasting and drinking).  176 pages.  (Finished 22 Nov 11).
  74. Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book by Erica Shea and Stephen Valand.  Another brewing book of mainly recipes focused on small batch/space brewing.  (Though includes instructions to increase to standard 5 gallon batches).  176 pages.  (Finished 27 Nov 11).
  75. American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America by David O. Stewart.  The story of Aaron Burr’s quest (or not) to gain control of the Spanish controlled areas of Florida and Mexico and possibly get the Western states (that is west of the Adirondack Mountains) to secede from the Union.  352 pages.  (Finished 29 Nov 2011).
  76. The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation: A Complete Step-by-Step, Gene Reprogramming Action Plan by Mark Sisson.  A guide to kickstarting yourself into a primal/paleo lifestyle.  I’m not quite ready to commit yet, but I was interested in reading more about it.  180 pages.  (Finished 30 Nov 11).
  77. Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious Primal-approved Meals in Twenty Minutes or Less by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier.  The first recipe I made turned out pretty good (Lamb Burgers with Mint/Pistachio Pesto), but it’s definitely a 180 degree change to what I’m used to cooking.  280 pages.  (Finished 30 Nov 11).
  78. Six Suspects: A Novel by Vikas Swarup.  The second novel from the author of the novel that became the movie Slumdog Millionaire.  It tells the stories of the six suspects in the killing of a notorious gangster in Delhi.  Also a commentary on the state of politics and the middle class in contemporary India.  470 pages.  (Finished 6 Dec 11).
  79. Flies by Michael Dickman.  My old classmates second book of poetry (a result of winning the US’s only second book poetry prize).  81 pages.  (Finished 7 Dec 11).
  80. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht.  A young woman tells the tale of two countries healing from years of war, her grandfather’s death, and the two stories that flowed through his life.  338 pages.  (Finished 14 Dec 11).
  81. Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman.  An older novelist marries a younger PhD student in Literature at Columbia (who is also a writer).  After only a couple years of marriage, she dies in a freak bodysurfing accident.  This novel is the story of his love and his grief (based on his real life).  350 pages.  (Finished 22 Dec 11).
  82. House of Holes by Nicholson Baker.  A bunch of interlinked raunchy tales from the master of literary pornography.  262 pages. (Finished 24 Dec 2011).

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