the 2010 book listI wasn't even going to write out the list of books I read this year because I shamefacedly thought it wasn't enough to make a list. However, once I checked into it, I realized I had read more than I remembered, and that over half of them were worthy of sharing! Anyway, here's the list of what I read this past year, in order:
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This was a short read I picked for a vacation to Florida early in the year. I really enjoyed it, but Marquez isn't for everyone. Completely salacious and somewhat shocking to my Victorian sensibilities, the book reminds me of all the reasons I love "Lolita." One of my major tenants in life is to try and vicariously experience varying forms of human existence. Very intrigued by what it must be like to be in another human body and living an entirely different life, I find myself gravitating toward authors who write sensational characters but who at their very core are universally the same as you and I. We ache for love, we have sexual appetites, we eat, we drink, we read, we die.
by Jeannette Walls
For those of you who are well-acquainted with my snobbery, you might be shocked to find a non-classic book on my list. Well, I joined an online book club that I lost interest in, but this is the one book I read from the pool. I hadn't heard of this author before and I certainly have not paid $20 for a book published seconds ago, but it was a good experience in new things. It was the kind of read you want when you don't want to put your book down. Super easy reading, poignant at times, and memorable. I recommend it.
by Sylvia Plath
I actually started this many years ago, but had set it aside for a while. This year, I finally finished it. Melodrama aside, I think SP's journals make my top two favorite/most inspiring books of all time. It actually began an obsession about journaling and reading other's journals (looking to start Steinbeck's "Journal of a Novel" this year). There is absolutely nothing like experiencing another human soul than reading their own interpretation of it. I miss SP when I am not immersed in her words so I am sure to have this one readily available on my nightstand.
by Kurt Vonnegut
I had forgotten to pack any books of merit when I traveled to San Diego to stay with my sister in March. She had this one and I had been meaning to start reading Vonnegut for ages. I really, really loved this book...so damn quotable and slippery with sardonic undertones. Loved how bizarre and poignant it was. I want to continue reading his stuff, anyone have recommendations about where to go from here?
by Christopher Moore
Another modern book?! More pulp fiction? I know, I know. This one also came recommended by my sister, and it was beyond enjoyable. Of course it won't become a classic, but it CAN become something you will laugh your ass off reading. It's also surprisingly smart.
by Annie Dillard
I admit that this book baffled me entirely. Annie was strange and detached in this piece, her words more like the elusive lyrical angst of poetry rather than the linear path of prose. Once I stopped being so frustrated that I didn't understand what was going on, I enjoyed it much more. She wrote it while living on an island in the Puget Sound, so it was interesting to know the places of which she spoke. I cannot say that I would recommend it to a burgeoning Dillard fan, but I am very glad to have read it and found something new in an author I have come to regard as family to my soul. Also, it's really short...
by Ayn Rand
Another recommendation by my sister, who picked it up for a trip and returned telling me to read it. How I had never before read any Ayn Rand is well beyond me, but it was a good one to start with. Very easy to read and very short as well. I am a sucker for a good dystopian plot, and it delivered. Recognizing that although I felt I had read the story before ("Brave New World", "1984" - side-note, "Anthem" was published just 5 years after BNW and 12 years before 1984), she was one of the only women at that time to stir up such a raucous.
by Annie Dillard
By far the best book I read this year. This is also the best book on writing I've ever read. Annie manages to explain with realism the plight/pleasure of writing. I would read this in the morning before writing and it was my single inspiration and all I needed to find my space that day. A complete must for anyone who writes. It will probably become a frequent reference/yearly read for me.