Wrap-Up Season 2011: Books That I Wrote About This Year


This year, I increased the number of capsule reactions (1-2 paragraph write-ups) of books I read. Thus, I ended up writing about way more books than I ever have before. All told, I wrote 123 books. I’ve listed them below, along with links to the relevant blog posts. In a surprisingly large number of these cases (particularly Working, Burmese Days, Fun Home, and Frankenstein), the links go to full blog posts that discuss the work in question. In most of the others, the link goes to a page that aggregated my reactions to many books. Finally, some of the book-links go to blog posts that are mostly about other things, where I also off-handedly mentioned book and my reaction to it.

My Favorites (Amongst The Books I Blogged About)

White Tiger Adiga, Aravind
Fun Home Bechdel, Alison
A Lost Lady Cather, Willa
Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother Chua, Amy
Alcestis Euripides
Stumbling on Happiness Gilbert, Daniel
Hard Living On Clay Street: Portraits Of Blue Collar Families Howells, Joseph T.
Darkness At Noon Koestler, Arthur
Tell Them Who I Am Liebow, Elliot
This Is Not A Novel [2] Markson, David
Wittgenstein’s Mistress Markson, David
A Bend In The River Naipaul, V.S.
Finding Time Again Proust, Marcel
The Jungle [2] Sinclair, Upton
The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck, John
In Dubious Battle Steinbeck, John
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do Terkel, Studs
Sleepwalk and Other Stories Tomine, Adrian
Vile Bodies Waugh, Evelyn
The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde, Oscar
Pick-Up [2] Willeford, Charles
I Married A Dead Man [2] Woolrich, Cornell
Germinal Zola, Emile
L’Assommoir Zola, Emile


The Other Books I Blogged About (Which Were Mostly Pretty Good Too)

Between The Assassinations Adiga, Aravind
Agamemnon Aeschylus
The Libation Bearers Aeschylus
The Eumenides Aeschylus
Thieves Like Us Anderson, Edward
Epic of Gilgamesh Anonymous
Mansfield Park Austen, Jane
Flaubert’s Parrot Barnes, Julian
Kitchen Confidential Bourdain, Anthony
My Booky Wook Brand, Russell
Paying For It Brown, Chester
The Postman Always Rings Twice Cain, James M.
Double Indemnity Cain, James M.
Don Quixote, Part One Cervantes, Miguel de
Farewell, My Lovely Chandler, Raymond
High Window Chandler, Raymond
Portrait Of The Addict As A Young Man Clegg, William
Candy Girl [2] Cody, Diablo
Waiting For The Barbarians Coetzee, J. M.
A Short Account Of The Destruction Of The Indies De Las Casas, Bartoleme
Shorter Views: Queer Thoughts And The Politics Of The Paraliterary Delany, Samuel
David Copperfield Dickens, Charles
Oliver Twist Dickens, Charles
Dropsie Avenue Eisner, Will
The Informers Ellis, Brett Easton
Medea Euripides
The Trojan Women Euripides
Electra Euripides
The Bacchantae Euripides
Andromache Euripides
The Big Clock Fearing, Kenneth
Bossypants Fey, Tina
Flying Colors Forester, C.S.
What The Dog Saw and other essays Gladwell, Malcolm
The Tipping Point Gladwell, Malcolm
Down There Goodis, David
Our Man In Havana Greene, Graham
Travels With My Aunt Greene, Graham
Nightmare Alley Gresham, William Lindsay
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time Haddon, Mark
Something Happened Heller, Joseph
Real Cool Killers Himes, Chester
The Haunting Of Hill House Jackson, Shirley
We Have Always Lived In The Castle Jackson, Shirley
War Junger, Sebastian
The Castle Kafka, Franz
Lit Karr, Mary
The Geography Of Nowhere Kunstler, James Howard
Call For The Dead Le Carre, John
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold Le Carre, John
Book Of Nonsense Lear, Edward
The Last Novel Markson, David
The General In His Labyrinth Marquez, Gabriel Garcia
A Dance With Dragons [2] Martin, George R. R.
The Tale of Genji Murasaki, Shikibu
Lectures On Don Quixote Nabokov, Vladimir
Burmese Days Orwell, George
Apology Plato
Crito Plato
Protagoras Plato
Parallel Lives, Volume III Plutarch
Swann’s Way Proust, Marcel
In The Shadow Of Young Girls In Flower Proust, Marcel
Guermantes Way Proust, Marcel
Sodom and Gomorrah Proust, Marcel
The Imperfectionists Rachman, Tom
Methland Reading, Nick
Ant Farm Rich, Simon
Tropisms Sarraute, Nathalie
Barrel Fever Sedaris, David
Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare, William
As You Like It Shakespeare, William
Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare, William
Frankenstein Shelley, Mary
Reality Hunger Shields, David
Just Kids Smith, Patti
Tortilla Flat Steinbeck, John
Cannery Row Steinbeck, John
Harmonium Stevens, Wallace
The Game Strauss, Neil
The Black Swan Taleb, Nassim Nicholas
The Killer Inside Me Thompson, Jim
The Grifters Thompson, Jim
Pop. 1280 Thompson, Jim
The Cossacks Tolstoy, Leo
Summer Blonde Tomine, Adrian
Shortcomings Tomine, Adrian
32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics Tomine, Adrian
Decline and Fall Waugh, Evelyn
Scoop Waugh, Evelyn
War Of The Worlds Wells, H.G.
Custom Of The Country Wharton, Edith
The Organization Man Whyte, William H.
The Burnt Orange Heresy Willeford, Charles
Local Wood, Brian
Nana Zola, Emile


Fifteen Other Books That I Read This Year And Also Liked Alot

After assembling the above lists, I realized that I had also read a bunch (100+) other books and not posted about them. In some cases (as for Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!) this was because I couldn’t think of something interesting to say about them. In other cases (like Orwell’s Fifty Essays and Charles Yu’s How To Live Safely In A Science-Fictional Universe) I had tons of stuff to say, but I never got around to sitting down and writing it all down. In any case, these unwritten-about books are not unloved.  Some of my favorite books of the year are in the below category (particularly Jeffrey Eugenides’ Virgin Suicides, on which I would paste a gold-star, if I had any).

High Rise Ballard, J.G.
The Professor’s House Cather, Willa
Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine Dohrmann, George
The Virgin Suicides Eugenides, Jeffrey
Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner, William
A Farewell to Arms Hemingway, Ernest
Confessions of an Ex-Colored Man Johnson, James Weldon
After The Apocalypse: Stories McHugh, Maureen
Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle Nabokov, Vladimir
A House For Mr. Biswas Naipaul, V.S.
Fifty Essays Orwell, George
Taming Of The Shrew Shakespeare, William
Age of Innocence Wharton, Edith
De Profundis and other writings Wilde, Oscar
How To Live Safely In A Science-Fictional Universe Yu, Charles

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