Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Reading.

I was not completely successful in my goal to read one hundred pages per day all year. I missed a couple of months. I missed about a month between the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Christmas, and I missed November when I went to New York for Hurricane Sandy relief with the Red Cross. For more information about that adventure:

As to how many books were read, even I was surprised in the end. I had been wondering if I would reach three figures. I reached 140, not counting a handful I got halfway through and couldn't finish. I plan to continue with the same pace of reading next year. Hopefully I won't be derailed by a hurricane. Here's to 150 in 2013!

Here is the list of books I read. There are asterisks next to my favorites, or at least those that made a lingering impression. My single favorite is probably Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano. My least favorite was Kenzaburo Oe's A Personal Matter, for the completely loathsome and boring main character. Had I not been trapped without something else to read it would be on the unfinished list. Some on the unfinished list will be attempted again. We shall see.

Reading, 2012:

James Agee, A Death in the Family

James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Martin Amis, Lionel Asbo

Mika Ashley-Hollinger, Precious Bones

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

James Baldwin, The Cross of Redemption

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain

Russell Banks, The Lost Memory of Skin

John Baskin, New Burlingame

Josh Bazell, Wild Thing

John Bockman (editor), This Will Make You Smarter

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Richard Brautigan, A Confederate General from Big Sur, Dreaming of Babylon, The Hawkline Monster

Richard Brautigan, Willard and His Bowling Trophies

Kevin Brockmeier, The Brief History of the Dead

Geraldine Brooks, Caleb’s Crossing

Christopher Buckley, Thank You For Smoking

Blake Butler, Nothing, A Portrait of Insomnia

Blake Butler, There is No Year

Italo Calvino, The Castle of Crossed Destinies

Italo Calvino, Numbers in the Dark

Truman Capote, The Complete Stories

Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

Lee Cataluna, Three Years on Doreen’s Sofa

Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue

Dennis Cooper, The Marbled Swarm

Miles Corwin, Homicide Special

Miles Corwin, Midnight Alley

Douglas Coupland, Life After God

James Gould Cozzens, The Just and the Unjust

Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

Mark Z. Danielewski, Fifty Year Sword

*Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Randi Davenport, The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes

Samuel Delaney, Dhalgren

Don DeLillo, Underworld

Joan Didion, Blue Nights

Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel

*John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer

*Bruce Duffy, The World as I Found It

Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine

Louise Erdrich, The Round House

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

Frederick Exley, A Fan’s Notes

Elyse Fenton, Clamor

Ford Maddox Ford, Parade’s End

Amy Franklin-Willis, The Lost Saints of Tennessee

*Tana French, Broken Harbor

*Jack Gilbert, The Dance Most of All

Allen Ginsberg, Howl

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve

Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Johan Harstad, Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

Larry Haun, A Carpenter’s Life

Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War

Christopher Hitchens, Mortality

Amanda Hodgkinson, 22 Britannia Road

A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically

P.D. James, The Children of Men

Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master’s Son

Denis Johnson, Fiskadoro

James Jones, The Thin Red Line

MacKinlay Kantor, Andersonville

Bel Kaufman, Up the Down Staircase

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

Philip Larkin, Collected Poems

Mark Leyner, Sugar Frosted Nutsack

David Lipsky, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

Ross Lockridge, Raintree County

Federico García Lorca, In Search of Duende

*Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

Norman Mailer, The Deer Park

Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead

Henning Mankell, Italian Shoes

Katherine Mansfield, Collected Stories

Eli Maor, E: The Story of a Number

Gabriel García Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

Gabriel García Márquez, Collected Stories

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Richard Matheson, I Am Legend

Harry Matthews, Cigarettes

D.T. Max, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain

Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

Herta Müller, The Hunger Angel

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

Tawny O’Dell, Back Roads

Kenzaburo Oe, A Personal Matter

James Patterson (Mark Sullivan), Private Games

Richard Price, Clockers

Eric Puchner, Model Home

Eric Puchner, Music Through the Floor

Ernie Pyle, Here is Your War

Ross Raisin, Waterline

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Roger Rosenblatt, Kayak Morning

Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

Kay Ryan, The Best of It

Carl Sandburg, Selected Poems

Jose Saramago, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

William Saroyan, Human Comedy

Vikram Seth, Golden Gate

Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brookyn

Patti Smith, Just Kids

Zadie Smith, NW

*S.L. Stebel, The Collaborator

Wallace Stegner, All the Little Live Things

Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

*Wallace Stegner, The Spectator Bird

Wallace Stegner, On Teaching and Writing Fiction

John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead

Patrick Süskind, Perfume

Colm Tóibín, The Empty Family

John Updike, Pigeon Feathers

Simon Van Booy, Everything Beautiful Began After

David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

*David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

*David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Mikey Walsh, Gypsy Boy

Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins

Jess Walter, The Zero

Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Bailey White, Mama Makes Up Her Mind

Bailey White, Quite a Year for Plums

William Carlos Williams, Paterson

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Daniel Woodrell, The Death of Sweet Mister

Daniel Woodrell, The Outlaw Album


Ramona Ausubel, No One is Here Except All of Us

Teju Cole, Open City

Justin Cronin, The Passage

Fannie Flagg, I Still Dream About You

Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding