some reflections on what I did (and didn’t) read in 2007

Everyone, it seems, is offering their year-end book lists, and here I am doing the same.

27451-m-1167881248.jpgThis year I read more fiction than nonfiction, which is usual for me. I read a lot of short story collections this year, more than usual, and I have to say that those collections were among the best things I read (see list, below) all year, and some would land on my favorite collections of all time list. I read fewer classics and nonfiction books than I generally aspire to. I reread some books. I tried some things I might not normally read, 375960-m-1174276291.jpgand I’m glad I did.

I was thinking I read less than in years past, but the 2007 list is about the same length as 2006‘s. By comparison, 2005 was a banner year for reading for me, but I was in grad school and grad school pushed me to read nearly twice what I have been reading annually since I graduated.

690051-m-1177263014.jpgSeveral friends have recently commented to me (after seeing my progress on goodreads) on how much I read. One was even bitter about it. But the truth is, I wish I read more. In the past it was not uncommon for me to read a book a week. I’m on a roll now if I get through two a month. I suspect I’m not alone in my reading decline. (See also, my friend’s bitterness.) I know why I read less: the Internet, TV, a shorter/nonexistent train commute ….did I mention the Internet?

95186-m-1175487005.jpgSo here’s to 2008 being a better year for reading for everyone. I, for one, hope to finally read Anna Karenina. I bought it this year, back in January or February, and it’s still sitting on my nightstand.

So here’s what I read in 2007… I’ve split the list into fiction and nonfiction. My favorites are in bold.

Fiction:

Avery, Ellis – The Teahouse Fire
Coomer, Joe – Pocketful of Names
Desai, Kiran – The Inheritance of Loss
Doerr, Anthony – The Shell Collector: Stories
Doerr, Anthony – About Grace

Egan, Jennifer – The Invisible Circus
Ende, Michael – The Neverending Story
Fitzgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby
Haddon, Mark – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Haslett, Adam – You Are Not a Stranger Here: Stories
Hemingway, Ernest – The Sun Also Rises
July, Miranda – No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories
Livesey, Margot – Eva Moves the Furniture: A Novel
Jack, Ian (editor) – Granta 97: Best of Young American Novelists 2
Maugham, W. Somerset – The Painted Veil
McCarthy, Cormac – The Road
Moran, Thomas – Water, Carry Me
Murakami, Haruki – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Stories
Russell, Karen – St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves: Stories
Russo, Richard – Straight Man
Shteyngart, Gary – Russian Debutante’s Handbook
Toole, John Kennedy – A Confederacy of Dunces

Nonfiction:

Baty, Chris – No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Buford, Bill – Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Delisle, Guy – Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

Delisle, Guy – Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China
Didion, Joan – The Year of Magical Thinking
Gilbert, Elizabeth – Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Gladwell, Malcolm – The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
MacMillan, Margaret – Women of the Raj
McPhee, John – Uncommon Carriers
Pollan, Michael – The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Stewart, Rory – The Places In Between

Wallace, David Foster – Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays

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