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Reading List, 2009--update!

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I just finished a book from my 2009 reading list, and I thought I would go back and see how I was doing. Obviously, I would probably do better if I checked this before I decided what else to read, but it is what it is.

I’m actually not doing too badly. Last year, I ended up only reading 3 books off my list and I have already surpassed that! By one! Bwhaha.

The List: 1. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Booker prize winner) 2. The Gathering by Anne Enwright (ok, so it’s a leftover from last year!) 3. 2666 by Roberto Bolano (NYT 10 best books of the year) 4. Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Father by John Matteson (Pulizer Prize) 5. White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple 6. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe 7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 8. What are People For? by Wendell Berry 9. Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt 10. King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild 11. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan 12. Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

So far I’ve read The Gathering, 2666, White Heat, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Of those, I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the best. It is a mystery, in translation, published posthumously. It’s translated from Swedish and I’m not sure if it is the translation or the fact that it wasn’t edited tightly or the fact that technology moves so rapidly, but there were many times when I ran across things that were a bit odd. For example, it explains what an ipod is. Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting the next installment to see what happens next.

Pretty much right after I finished reading that, I began reading 2666. No, I have no idea what the title means. No one apparently does. It is basically a book made of 5 loosely connecting parts, of a somewhat mysterious nature, in translation, published posthumously. (I know, isn’t that odd.) Technically, I didn’t finish reading this because the fifth story was boring to me and I finally realized that I wasn’t going to have my questions answered. I think about different parts of the book frequently, and about what happened to the characters when their time in the sun, so to speak, ended. In that respect, it was very interesting. However, it was a brutal book, as you might expect from one whose story circles the real-life mass homicides that occur in and around Juarez.

The Gathering is the first book I read this year, because I bought it as part of my Christmas. It is a story about a family, and a sister’s response to her brother’s death. It takes place in Ireland (this is becoming a theme of some of my non-list books). Meh. The book is told as a sister grieves her brother, and wonders how they got to this.

The last book is the one I finished yesterday, White Heat. I’m too tired to write anymore tonight, but I enjoyed this book and learned a great deal about someone I had never heard of. Plus, it made me curious to read more of Dickinson’s poetry. If you don’t know anything about Emily Dickinson or her poetry, I wouldn’t start here, though. This is the book that someone had marked through, apparently doing a project on Dickinson, since that is the only place the pencilled notes were. WERE, because I erased them, although I always read them. I couldn’t help myself, I had to know what that other person was thinking about what s/he read, if only to gripe about how absolutely ridiculous that was. But it was a strange bit of company to have while I read, even if I found him/her irritating.

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