Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I Read In 2009

Scooter's only been reading for a couple of months now (and already he's picked up that nasty habit of licking a page before turning it), but I've been reading for a whole lot longer.

This year I kept a list of the books I'd read, something I hadn't done for decades. I don't remember what my reasoning was (maybe that I'd read more if I wrote everything down), but regardless of motivation, this was one resolution I stuck with (what a shame that eating too much and wasting time weren't resolutions, since I had great success with both).

There's a chance, of course, that I might read another book between today and Friday, but on the assumption that I won't or that it won't matter if I do, here is the Susan Beth Pfeffer 2009 Reading List.

(n) stands for non-fiction, (f) for fiction (I bet you would have figured that out all on your own). A handful of books on the list are rereads.

Oh- I did reread This World We Live In, but it's not on the list. I had intended to reread Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone first, but I'd gotten so impatient waiting for the ARC that when it finally came, I skipped straight to it. At some point in 2010 I'll reread all three in combination.

Another thing- this is not the most impressive of lists, in quality or quantity. Then again, it's not like you have any illusions about me.

Without further ado (unless I can think of something to ado over):

1 The Great Pretenders- Jon Bonderson (n)
2 Bone By Bone- Carol O'Connell (f)
3 The Associate- John Grisham (f)
4 Murder of a Medici Princess- Caroline P. Murphy (n)
5 Sins of the Fathers- Susan Howatch (f)
6 The Great Crown Jewel Robbery of 1303- Paul Doherty (n)
7 The Water's Lovely- Ruth Rendell (f)
8 Society's Scandals- Bridgeman and Drury (ed) (n)
9 Devil's Gate- David Roberts (n)
10 Nathan Hale- M. William Phelps (n)
11 Testimony- Anita Shreve (f)
12 Mistress of the Monarchy- Alison Weir (n)
13 Cashelmara- Susan Howatch (f)
14 The Killings on Jubilee Terrace- Robert Barnard (f)
15 Emily Post- Laura Claridge (n)
16 Pauline Bonaparte- Flora Fraser (n)
17 The Longest Second- Bill S. Ballinger (f)
18 Vanished Smile-Mysterious Theft Of Mona Lisa- Scotti (n)
19 The Murrow Boys- Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson (n)
20 Bracknell's Law- Wallace Hildick (f)
21 Thunderstruck- Erik Larsen (n)
22 The Deceivers- Egon Larsen (n)
23 The Wrong Mother- Sophie Hannah (f)
24 Devil In The White City- Erik Larsen (n)
25 Children's Party- Arthur Lewis (f)
26 What The Dog Saw- Malcolm Gladwell (n)
27 The Sisters Who Would Be Queen- Leondra deLisle (n)
28 Into The Wild Nerd Yonder- Julie Halpern (f)
29 Hound Dog- Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (n)
30 Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult (f)
31 Edge Of Evil- J. A. Jance (f)
32 The Hour I First Believed- Wally Lamb (f)
33 This Republic Of Suffering- Drew Gilpin Faust (n)

The most interesting of the books for me is Children's Party. This is a very short novel from the 1970s that I'd read a very long time ago (probably in the 1970s). It stuck with me (or at least the premise did), and I was thrilled to stumble upon it at The Friends Of Middletown Thrall Library Used Bookstore, where I used to volunteer (along with Marci and Carol, who still do). I took it home and kept planning on rereading it, until finally on one of my fall trips, I threw it into my pocketbook for an easy airplane read.

It's about a man who overhears the sounds of a children's party in a place where there don't seem to be any children. He takes it upon himself to solve the mystery, and in doing so, learns about people he'd known once and what had become of them. It's kind of a realistic gothic psychological traveling ghost story of its time, and it remains an effective and haunting (and perfect for airplane) read.

My goal for 2010 is to read 36 books, since that would average out to 3 books a month, which sounds better than 2.75 books a month. Of course I also want to read less fiction, since it almost invariably disappoints me, but fiction does read a lot faster than non-fiction, so I don't know.

Once Scooter finishes reading How To Take Over Teh World, by Professor Happycat and, he's planning to start Dickens. He's particularly interested in A Tail Of Two Cities!


Vanessa Condez said...

Hi Susan,

I still read a lot slower (in english) than that. I've started to read full books written in english only in February 2008, so even though I'm a lot faster now, I still have have to re-read some paragraphs more than once to get the full picture right in my head.

Since last year, I've discovered how I love to read and write in English. A friend offered a book from one of my favorite authors translated in portuguese (my native language) and I just couldn't go on more than the second paragraph... I went to a bookstore and bought the same book in the original english version, and am loving it!

Maybe it's crazy to write in english, but I love the challenge and step by step I believe I can get there. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so hope that helps me in the months to come. I edit a lot.

Have a great 2010 Susan.

Vanessa said...

PS: I'm the same user, Vanessa, as 'Note to Self: Humanize'. Sometimes having more than one email it's confusing. :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Vanessa (aka Note to Self: Humanize)-

I have such admiration for anyone who can master languages. I had many years of Hebrew and four years of Latin and one year of high school French, and minimal success with all of them.

Then again, since my English vocabulary level is stuck somewhere in fifth grade, it's not surprising my Hebrew/Latin/French is even more pathetic!

Anonymous said...

That's really impressive, thanks, I saw some that looked interesting, will check them out :)
Actually back in 2008, I made a goal for myself to read 100 books in 2009, and I actually accomplished it, I've read 110 books so far, almost 111, (Just a few more pages!)
hope you're well and I'm still looking forward to the next installment :)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Hailee-

I used to read a lot more books before the internet took over my life. But between figure skating (the girl that won the Russian nationals turns out to live about half an hour from me, in Newburgh, NY, which trust me, is nowhere near Russia)and American Idol (which I swear I won't be watching this year, but there is still Adam Lambert fanhood to keep up with), I do most of my reading online.

Maybe 2010 will be different. How much time can the Olympics take after all!

Linda Jacobs said...

Great list!

This is the first year I've kept track. I'm so mad at myself for not keeping a list since I started reading back in 1955 or so!

Happy New Year!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Linda Jacobs-

I used to be very methodical about keeping reading lists, but I have no idea where I put them, so all that method was for naught.

I'm staying in today because there are some fierce winds blowing, and most likely I'll be staying in Thursday, since they're predicting snow.

Maybe I'll read another book in 2009 after all!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue
Maybe Scooter would like "Purrsuasion" by Jane Austen :)
That is quite a list you've read over the year, I envy you!!
There is definitely no shortage of great books to read.
I'm currently reading two books, "This world we live in" ARC which I'm enjoying so much, probably finish it tonight or tomorrow, and "Creating a world without poverty: social business and the future of capitalism" by Muhammad Yunus, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for establishing microcredit through the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. It's a great book and full of hope and some good ideas.
I have very eclectic taste in my reading.

Happy New Year!!
Maria T.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Maria T.-

Well, except for This World We Live In, you have very high class reading tastes.

Mine remain peculiarly eclectic.

I've actually worked hard at not reading anything these past few days so that I wouldn't have to amend my list.

Even I think I'm a little weird at times!