January 09, 2007

The Many Books of 2006 (And A Sneak Peak at My Nightstand)

You guys know I like to read. So, in the absence of a weekend recap full of wit and hilarity (because, it was mostly a nice weekend but Beth was under the weather and I'm a little beat so frankly a lot of it ran together), I figured I'd show you what was on by bedside stand.

Top to bottom, left to right
  1. Grifter's Game (Lawrence Block...part of a series of books under the Hard Case Crime imprint, a line of new and vintage noir and pulp fiction. They're fantastic!)
  2. Witness To Myself (Seymour Shubin...another Hard Case)
  3. Branded Woman (Wade Miller...Hard Case, again)
  4. Death Instinct (Bentley Miller...3/4 of the stuff he writes is crap but that other 1/4 is pretty good)
  5. Mortal Fear (Greg Iles)
  6. The Devil of Nanking (Mo Hayder)
  7. Hawke (Ted Bell)
  8. Black Maps (Peter Spiegelman)
  9. Miss Misery (Andy Greenwald)
  10. The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)
  11. Citizen Vince (Jess Walter)
  12. The Dirt (Lee, Neil, Sixx, Mars...yeah, Motley Crue. I'm curious.)
  13. The Iraq Study Group Report (Baker, Hamilton...halfway through, pretty dry)
  14. The Hunt Club (John Lescroart...just finished, not bad)

While I'm at it, I also know that some of you might be interested in hearing about what I read in 2006. You can see the list after the jump. Long story short, it's clear I don't have as much time as I used to to read. I think I'm down 26 books from last year. But hey, the trade off is a great one.

The Worst:
I read plenty of mediocre stuff, preferring cheap escapism over anything too challenging this past year. But two books really stood out for their sheer crapitude. Matthew Reilly's Contest was the worst. First, the entire book was a case of bait and switch. The back of the book described one very cool 24-like story while the novel itself told a different one. Maybe that turned me off. Or maybe it was the insanely stupid plot coupled with writing that very well might have been turned out by a third grader (and I'm sure many third graders would find that statement insulting). It was, without a doubt, pure unadulterated drivel. Also worthy of a conversion to toilet paper was Scott Smith's The Ruins. Favorably (an understatement) reviewed by Stephen King, I was intrigued. I'm still intrigued...intrigued about the version of the book King read. I must have gotten a bum copy because mine sucked sweaty gorilla nuts. Really big sweaty gorilla nuts. If you have copies of either book, return them if you can. Otherwise, find some matches.

The Best:
I didn't experience any shortage of good books this year. Charlie Huston's A Dangerous Man might have been the best. Huston is insanely talented and has a unique voice which is edgy, violent and hard as nails. Yet, somehow, you care about the people he creates. A Dangerous Man is the final novel in a trilogy; I highly recommend you pick up copies of Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things then A Dangerous Man and settle in for a nice cold winter weekend of fantastic reading. I sincerely doubt you'll be disappointed. The Ha-Ha by Dave King was also fantastic, as I believe I mentioned here right after I finished it. Greg Galloway's As Simple as Snow was wonderful as well. Man-Booker Prize finalist M.H. Hyland's How The Light Gets In was stunning as was Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby. Finally, perhaps the most pleasant surprise was Greg Iles' Turning Angel. Iles writes thrillers and rarely does a simple mass-market thriller suck me in the way Turning Angel did. Iles' characters are brilliantly developed, he pulls no punches with his plot and he paints a setting you feel at home in. I found myself trying to slow down the pace of my reading and genuinely distraught when I realized I'd turned the last page. Pretty good indications of a good book.

Want the full list? After the jump...

  1. Inside Out (Nick Mason)
  2. The Town That Forgot How To Breathe (Kenneth Harvey)
  3. The Society of Others (William Nicholson)
  4. Zen Attitude (Sujata Massey)
  5. Hope (Mark Clapham)
  6. Blue Limbo (Terrance Green)
  7. Hard Rain (Barry Eisler)
  8. Cell (Stephen King)
  9. Mortal Prey (John Sandford)
  10. Utterly Monkey (Nick Laird)
  11. The Floating Girl (Sujata Massey)
  12. The Wind Singer (William Nicholson)
  13. Wrong About Japan (Peter Carey)
  14. Foreign Bodies (Stephen Dedman)
  15. Already Dead (Charlie Huston)
  16. As Simple As Snow (Gregory Galloway)
  17. The Broker (John Grisham)
  18. Rain Storm (Barry Eisler)
  19. Past Mortem (Ben Elton)
  20. American Purgatorio (John Haskell)
  21. In The Company of Liars (David Ellis)
  22. How The Light Gets In (M.J. Hyland)
  23. Blood Father (Peter Craig)
  24. Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer)
  25. The Ha-Ha (Dave King)
  26. Contest (Matthew Reilly)
  27. The Underminer (Mike Albo)
  28. Bad Twin (Gary Troup)
  29. Drama City (George Pelecanos)
  30. The Geographer's Library (John Fasman)
  31. The Hard Way (Lee Child)
  32. Love And Other Near Death Experiences (Mil Millington)
  33. Eleanor Rigby (Douglas Coupland)
  34. Velocity (Dean Koontz)
  35. Assassination Vacation (Sarah Vowell)
  36. Midnight Cab (James Nichol)
  37. The Stolen Child (Keith Donohue)
  38. Eats Shoots & Leaves (Lynne Truss)
  39. Pirate (Ted Bell)
  40. Caves of Steel (Isaac Asimov)
  41. Adverbs (Daniel Handler)
  42. No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)
  43. Lost Lake (Phillip Margolin)
  44. Dear Zoe (Philip Beard)
  45. Naked Prey (John Sandford)
  46. The Ruins (Scott Smith)
  47. 18 Seconds (George Schuman)
  48. A Clean Kill (Mike Stewart)
  49. Dead Watch (John Sandford)
  50. Dispatches from the Edge (Anderson Cooper)
  51. Grab On To Me Tightly As If I Knew The Way (Bryan Charles)
  52. The Trudeau Vector (Juris Jurjevics)
  53. The Burning (Bentley Little)
  54. The Book of Fate (Brad Meltzer)
  55. A Dangerous Man (Charlie Huston)
  56. Three Days To Never (Tim Powers)
  57. IV (Chuck Klosterman)
  58. Bust (Ken Bruen & Jason Starr)
  59. The Gun Seller (Hugh Laurie)
  60. World War Z (Max Brooks)
  61. Creepers (David Morrell)
  62. Panic (Jeff Abbott)
  63. Turning Angel (Greg Isles)
  64. Plunder of the Sun (David Dodge)
  65. Goodbye Lemon (Adam Davies)
  66. A Simple Plan (Scott Smith)
  67. Grave Descend (John Lange)
  68. The Camel Club (David Baldacci)
  69. Little Girl Lost (Richard Aleas)
  70. The Confession (Dominic Stansberry) Posted by Chris at January 9, 2007 07:17 AM | TrackBack

Wowser. I have no idea how many books I read last year, but it was alot. Lots and lots. It's just that most of my books are related to my thesis, and therefore have something to do with nukes and how countries want to screw eachother over with them. I read recreationally as much as I can, but until the Fud is over my recreational reading is going to be limited. Sigh.

Posted by: E :) at January 9, 2007 07:49 AM

Whether you're down or up - you still read a shitload. I can count the number of books I read this year on 9 fingers. And it wasn't 9 books.

Posted by: Adam at January 9, 2007 08:19 AM

That was bad of me too look at your complete list. I will now be checking each of those books on Amazon and possibly adding them to my already incredibly long wishlist. I always love to see what other people are reading, its a great source of new authors and books I probably would not have chose to read on my own.

Posted by: Lisa at January 9, 2007 08:21 AM

dude... when do you find time to read? do you sleep? heh, i called you dude.

Posted by: monique at January 9, 2007 08:29 AM

Thank you. And thank you again. While I have read a few of those, a great many I have not. And now I have a list. A list that I have printed out...I hope you don't mind :-)

Posted by: Alissa at January 9, 2007 08:33 AM

That's quite an impressive list! My list is nowhere near that long, for sure. You have a lot of people on your list that I haven't heard of, so maybe I'll try a few of your favorites.

Posted by: Jessie at January 9, 2007 08:34 AM

I only managed 24 books last year. Stupid school and it's sucky need to, you know, make me study. Ugh. Thankfully, that's over and I can go back to reading! I'm so happy about that that I may just throw a party. Still, I don't quite think I can catch up to you so I have to reluctantly concede defeat. I saw a little profile in the Time Person of the Year issue about a woman who reads five books A DAY! A day! As much as I like to read, I cannot imagine reading that much every day.

What do you do with all the books you've finished?

Posted by: patricia at January 9, 2007 08:43 AM

Also, the only book we have in common is Mortal Prey so we can't be reading twins. This saddens me. Yes.

Do you read Jeffrey Deaver? He's pretty good though my favorite of the two is still Sandford.

Posted by: patricia at January 9, 2007 08:45 AM

Thanks for the list. After the last horrible book I read for Book Club I'm needing something just a little better! I think I'm going straight to your "best" list.

Posted by: Kelly at January 9, 2007 09:38 AM

you really read tons. my goal for 2007 is 50 books. i figure with a full time job and three kids, it's a pretty realistic goal. i've already finished one...

i may come to you for some recommendations

Posted by: ali at January 9, 2007 09:39 AM

Loved The Ha-Ha.

Posted by: Liz at January 9, 2007 09:45 AM

good lord. that's quite a list. how do you go about choosing your selections? word of mouth? bookstore browsing? clearly, I need to read more, and I'm going to use your reading list as a reference.

Posted by: fw sunshine at January 9, 2007 10:02 AM

That's quite impressive with a little one, no less. I enjoy reading, but I don't make much time for it. I'm lucky if I read a few books a year.

Posted by: Diane at January 9, 2007 10:04 AM

I'm so behind in reading it's not even funny. But that's what you get when you have to run the household and try to establish your web design/marketing consulting moonlight. ;-)

Besides, "Son of the Witch" is so incredibly slow...

Posted by: Oakley at January 9, 2007 10:12 AM

Dude - that's a fantastic list!! I think I've read maybe a tenth of those titles (though I've read probably 50+ this year) and I'll borrow your list for this year!

Posted by: Sue at January 9, 2007 10:42 AM

Now you've got me curious about how many books I read last year. I wonder if I could reconstruct the list? Or perhaps I'll just start keeping track for this year.

Posted by: bad penguin at January 9, 2007 10:45 AM

You're nuts!!

boring job, toddler, parents and in-laws - where DO you find the time!?

Posted by: Lisa at January 9, 2007 10:59 AM

I love to read, but I don't always make enough time for it, so I set myself a goal of reading at least one book per week this year - 52 in 52. After seeing your reading list from last year (and hello, you have a child! so your home life is already busier than mine), I'm thinking I need to step it up. A lot. Geez, way to make the rest of us look like slackers.

Posted by: erin at January 9, 2007 12:03 PM

I'm jealous that you are able to read this many books. I aspire to but don't ever seem too because I'm either too tired or busy doing something else. Though I realize I could spend more time reading and less time, you know, watching television. Sigh. That's a mighty list!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at January 9, 2007 12:17 PM

Quite an impressive list! Glad you took the time to share. I'll have to take a look at some of your faves. :)

Posted by: Zandria at January 9, 2007 12:22 PM

What is "The Book of Lost Things" about? That sounds interesting...

Posted by: mom on a wire at January 9, 2007 01:10 PM

How is it that we're both big readers and yet, out of the 70 books you named from last year, I've only read TWO of them? The Krakauer book and "Eats, Shoots & Leaves".

Posted by: wordgirl at January 9, 2007 01:37 PM

Big list - I find these days my list is about 1/4 what it once was, and I would need to scour library records to know what I have attempted to read. I also find that if it doesn't grab me in the first 10 pages (or if I do not like the characters) it gets put back down - sometimes permanently.
LOL my daughter and I like to have "made up" stories at bedtime. The night before last I was uninspired so did a kiddies version of the Dorothy Parker biography I was reading but had not yet finished. She requested the ending last night!

Posted by: jeanie at January 9, 2007 02:22 PM

Damn, you make me feel like such a slacker. I made a New Years Resolution last year to read more books. I didn't keep that one too well. Maybe this year.

Posted by: Beth in StL at January 9, 2007 02:39 PM

I know I read a huge pile of books this year, yet somehow, the only ones we have in common are The Ha-Ha, which I also loved, and Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which I'm considering having bronzed. Have you read her next book, Talk To The Hand? Hilarious. I might start throwing it at rude people, but that may nullify the point of the book.

Posted by: Annie at January 9, 2007 02:42 PM

So do you keep a list on your computer?

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at January 9, 2007 03:11 PM

You have inspired me to keep a log of all the books I read this year. I'm a library junkie. I read A LOT!

Posted by: Dirka at January 9, 2007 04:38 PM

The Dirt? Dude, I just read a review on that book by Nick Hornby (who I love) and it sounds disturbing. Very disturbing. Especially the part about the burrito.

Posted by: Isabel at January 9, 2007 06:41 PM

What I want to know is, what do you do with all the books after you've read them? Do you keep and re-read or give them away? I love to read and I'm in the middle of two large novels at the moment. There just always seems to be more that I want to read and not enough time. :o)

Posted by: Milly at January 9, 2007 08:45 PM

Read 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy. Let me know what you think.

Posted by: Arwen at January 9, 2007 08:55 PM

I haven't read any of those gazillion books you read this year. How. Do. You. Find. the. Time? You must be a really fast reader. I see you like the scary stuff. I can't touch it. And, what's Eats Shoots and Leaves like as a read?

Posted by: Haley-O at January 10, 2007 12:52 AM

Do you keep a running list of what you've read? I'd never remember all those!

Posted by: Haley-O at January 10, 2007 12:52 AM

I thought I was doing a good job, reading 3 or 4 books last year. But 70! Wow. That's crazy...

Posted by: Emily at January 10, 2007 07:12 AM

Holy mother of books. But you've inspired me to do the same. Of course, mine is more like 5, but at least I'll have a record somewhere of what I read this year.

Posted by: laura at January 10, 2007 09:26 AM

Are you a robot? How do you read so much? I'd have to give up blogging, and video games, and music piracy, and exercise (wait, already gave that one up) and parenting to get through all those. And I'd still probably only log about half that number.

And thanks for the heads up on The Ruins, now that I'm halfway through it.

Posted by: CroutonBoy at January 11, 2007 05:11 PM

My count this year was 51, and not a single one from my list is on yours. In fact, the only book on your list I've read is "The Ha-Ha." I think that was in '05. (And I liked it, too, so I'll probably be adding some of your favorites to my to-read list.)

I'd like to see your opinion on "The Road," too, and on "Peace Like a River," which I think I've finally decided was my favorite in 2006.

Posted by: Nichole at January 12, 2007 02:09 PM

Holy crow. That's a lot of reading! Very inspirational.

Posted by: Janet at January 12, 2007 02:30 PM
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