Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review - Books

This was a good reading year. Sometimes I get to this point and think, man I read some stinkers! But this year – I had some stellar new discoveries…authors I look forward to coming back to and getting to know better: Cormac McCarthy, John Dos Passos, William Styron, Don Delillo, Primo Levi, Italo Calvino and Jonathan Lethem in particular. All men! There were stinkers this year as well – I wasn’t exempt. Wings of the Dove, Bonjour Tristesse, and Water for Elephants (which I believe was plagarized) belong in that pile, but the stinker of all stinkers was Eat, Pray, Love. God I hated that book. A fellow-blogger once asked me if I would rather read James’s The Ambassadors or Ulysses (the answer is Ulysses). I think the tougher questions is would I rather read The Ambassadors or Eat, Pray, Love. Now THAT would be a devil of a choice. I have often pondered what kind of hell God might invent for me, you know, if that’s how things work. I think a hell surrounded by people like Elizabeth Gilbert might be one option. But the stinkers have not dominated the landscape this year. If I can discover this many exciting “new” (for me) authors in 2009, I will consider it a success.
  1. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  2. The Sea – John Banville
  3. Emma – Jane Austen
  4. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  5. Sister Carrie – Theodore Dreiser
  6. The End of Alice – A.M. Homes
  7. Dance to the Music of Time (1st Movement) – Anthony Powell
  8. Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
  9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  10. Out of Their Minds – Clifford Simak
  11. Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan
  12. Wings of the Dove – Henry James
  13. Rabbit, Run – John Updike
  14. If This is a Man (aka Survival at Auschwitz) – Primo Levi
  15. A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
  16. Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather
  17. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
  18. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum – Heinrich Böll
  19. Female Chauvinist Pigs – Ariel Levy
  20. Water for Elephants – Sarah Gruen
  21. The Violent Bear It Away – Flannery O’Connor
  22. Lambs of London – Peter Ackroyd
  23. Fear of Flying – Erica Jong
  24. Nostromo – Joseph Conrad
  25. Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
  26. Falling Man – Don Delillo
  27. Barabbas – Par Lagerkvist
  28. The Odyssey - Homer
  29. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  30. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
  31. Dance to the Music of Time (2nd Movement) – Anthony Powell
  32. The Trick is to Keep Breathing – Janice Galloway
  33. The Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood
  34. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  35. Loving – Henry Green
  36. Never Let Me Go – Kauzo Ishiguro
  37. The Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman
  38. The Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille
  39. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
  40. Ulysses – James Joyce
  41. The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allen Poe
  42. Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Lethem
  43. Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
  44. Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
  45. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination – Elizabeth McCracken
  46. Carmilla – Sheridan LeFanu
  47. House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  48. Visions of Gerard – Jack Kerouac
  49. Bless Me Ultima – Rudolfo Araya
  50. Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
  51. Call of the Wild – Jack London
  52. The Painted Veil – W. Somerset Maugham
  53. 42nd Parallel – John Dos Passos
  54. The Nose - Nikolai Gogol
  55. Candide - Voltaire
  56. Billy Budd - Herman Melville
  57. The Wapshot Chronicle - John Cheever
  58. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino
  59. L'Enfer - Henri Barbusse
  60. Dance to the Music of Time (3rd Movement) – Anthony Powell

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