Monday, December 30, 2013

100 Books: December Update and my Top 11 BOOKS OF THE YEAR!

I am so happy I resolved to read 100 books this year.  I read some of the best new fiction and memoirs on the market, and I read a ton of weird, old crap from the library!  A perfect combination.  I am ending the year with 116 books read, plus Dr. Sleep and Holidays on Ice taunting me from my bookshelf.  I have 6 overdue library books that I hope to replace with new ones this week and a new Lisa Gardner coming out on 1-6.  What I am saying is I hope to get this year off to a good literary start.  I am not going to read 100 books, though.  Without the excuse of pregnancy and a constantly nursing infant, it just won't happen.  I am working on a reasonable number-- I am thinking 52-- a book a week?

I am not sure why I said I was at 109 last month-- clearly it was 111.  But who's counting?  Oh yeah.  ME.

5 books to round out the project:

Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink by Katrina Alcorn:  I really liked this book, I think.  For awhile I didn't because she claims she's writing about all working moms, but it's really a memoir.  And then she does try to generalize, but I think she is so blinded by race and class privilege that she can't, not really.  She IS describing the experiences of a working mom, but not all of us.

5 Summers by Una LaMarche:  I apparently ordered this through interlibrary loan, but I have no idea why because it was a YA book.  But a good YA book!  And I didn't get that it was YA until midway through-- before that I was like why are they getting so worked up about kissing a boy?  Oh! Because they're 16.  Gotcha.

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington:  Seriously, read this. She is the fashion director of Vogue and is in her 70s and is completely fabulous.   It is not the best written book, but you guys.  She drops the best fashion names ever!  Then, after you read it, watch the documentary The September Issue and see Grace and Anna Wintour in action.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall:  This book is a brilliant biography.  Her attention to detail is overwhelming-- most of the book comes from Fuller's correspondence with her legendary transcendentalist friends.  Fuller was brilliant and unconventional; she grappled with the same kinds of problems working moms face today, and she died tragically.  A GREAT READ.

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes:  I finished this tonight, and it was wonderful-- hilarious touching, fast-paced, well-written, pretty much the perfect way to cap off my year.

And here's my top 11 from the year:
11.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
10.  Night Film by Marisha Pessl
9.  Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
8.  The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich
7.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
6.  Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
5.  May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes
4.  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
3.  Elsewhere by Richard Russo
2.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
1.  The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

I felt kind of cheesy including Gone Girl, but what the hell-- it really was great.  I also think that The Interestings might seem like a lackluster pick, but it was the story that stayed with me the most.  This has been a terrific project-- I feel accomplished, and I enjoyed every moment I spent reading books, even the terrible ones (books, that is-- the moments, from poolside to the couch to the passenger seat to the floor of the toyroom to Dorothy's recliner were all lovely).


  1. I am so grateful that you did this project. It inspired me to get back into reading like I used to, and I stole quite a few titles off your list. I can't believe you got to 114!