My Recent Reads

by Intermittent Rain ~ February 23rd, 2013. Filed under: Reviews, Writing analysis.


So, with the help of my library’s on-line search and my cell phone’s list of downloads I think I’ve managed to collect a list of all the books I’ve read or listened to on the phone during the past fifteen months. In order of author:

1 The Big Sleep – Farewell, My Love… Chandler, Raymond
2 The Antagonist Coady, Lynn
3 Open City – A Novel Cole, Teju
4 The Privileges – A Novel Dee, Jonathan
5 The Maytrees – [a Novel] Dillard, Annie
6 Billy Bathgate – A Novel Doctorow, E. L.
7 Landing Donoghue, Emma
8 Room – A Novel Donoghue, Emma
9 Touchy Subjects – Stories Donoghue, Emma
10 Half-blood Blues Edugyan, Esi
11 A Visit from the Goon Squad Egan, Jennifer
12 Better Living through Plastic Explosives – Stories Gartner, Zsuzsi
13 P Is for Peril Grafton, Sue
14 R Is for Ricochet Grafton, Sue
15 S Is for Silence Grafton, Sue
16 Waiting Jin, Ha
17 The Poisonwood Bible – A Novel Kingsolver, Barbara
18 Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures – Stories Lam, Vincent
19 The Surrendered Lee, Chang-rae
20 Darkness, Take My Hand Lehane, Dennis
21 Darkly Dreaming Dexter – A Novel Lindsay, Jeffry P.
22 Dearly Devoted Dexter – A Novel Lindsay, Jeffry P.
23 Dexter in the Dark – A Novel Lindsay, Jeffry P.
24 Double Dexter – A Novel Lindsay, Jeffry P.
25 I Am Number Four – The Lost Files : … Lore, Pittacus
26 The Bishop’s Man – A Novel MacIntyre, Linden
27 The Bright Forever – A Novel Martin, Lee
28 1Q84 Murakami, Haruki
29 Divisadero Ondaatje, Michael
30 A Catskill Eagle – A Spenser Novel Parker, Robert B.
31 I Curse the River of Time Petterson, Per
32 The Echo Maker Powers, Richard
33 Nemesis Roth, Philip
34 Swamplandia! Russell, Karen
35 Wake Sawyer, Robert J.
36 The Lovely Bones Sebold, Alice
37 Shakespeare’s Kitchen – Stories Segal, Lore Groszmann
38 The Collected Stories Shields, Carol
39 The Stone Diaries Shields, Carol
40 Unless – A Novel Shields, Carol
41 Various Miracles Shields, Carol
42 Stargirl Spinelli, Jerry
43 Amy and Isabelle – A Novel Strout, Elizabeth
44 Olive Kitteridge Strout, Elizabeth
45 The Accidental Tourist Tyler, Anne

I’m a fan of the TV show Dexter, obviously. The novels and the show exist in two separate realities, so I read the novels to get more Dexter fix. Sue Grafton I’m not a huge fan of; I’ve read others in the series and I picked up a few to remind me of her writing style. And there are a few YA books in the collection when I looked into the genre a bit.

Many of these are novels (it says so right in the title!) and many simply plucked from lists; Pulitzer, Giller and Man Booker nominees. As mentioned in the previous post, I look for reliable suggestions for reading material.

Plus, I have a list of those that I didn’t finish:

1 The Plague of Doves Erdrich, Louise
2 The Secret Scripture Barry, Sebastian
3 The Writing Circle Demas, Corinne
4 Family Matters Mistry, Rohinton
5 The Confessions of Nat Turner Styron, William
6 Lit – A Memoir Karr, Mary
7 Mercy among the Children Richards, David Adams
8 Close Range – Wyoming Stories Proulx, Annie

Both lists are all ebooks or audiobooks, and doesn’t include books printed on paper (! the stuff referred to as “recycling material” on a podcast today), so on top of those there are a bunch of non-fiction books on writing as well as at least one novel I can think of: “The Hunger Games”, speed-read over a weekend, borrowed from high school student. Oh, plus a little ways into “The Pale King”, David Foster Wallace. Even in paper form that was more than I could work my way through, at least at the time. I plan to give it another shot at some later date.

Still, that’s a decent average speed, I think. The Dexter and Grafton and YA and other light ones I finish in a couple of days of reading, and most of the rest in two weeks or so.

The non-finishers are an interesting group; “Lit” was good reading, but I read it sporadically for the author’s style and ability to put words and sentences and paragraphs together, and less for the memoir story; I wasn’t concerned when it expired. “The Writing Circle” is so mediocre that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

The others seem to have in common a sweeping family/race tale covering a number of years, and they all lost my interest. But “The Poisonwood Bible” and “Half-blood Blues” and “The Stone Diaries” might also fall into those categories and I liked those quite a bit. Maybe there’s a dryness to the others that I couldn’t connect to, a dryness in the writing and/or in the characters. “Mercy among the Children” is the only one I really tried to finish, but the reverence the author had for his story and for his character became distasteful after a while; he seemed to think the main character was heroic, tragic, almost Jesus-like. I just found him pathetic and sad.

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