While I felt that this year some of my reading was really cheesy because I was using reading as an escape, I still managed to read some really great, important books. These are my favorites from 2009:
1. Infinite Jest: It should come as no surprise to anyone around me, working with me and even taking the El with me that this was my favorite book of 2009. I was photocopying pages from it, I was quoting it and I looked forward to every moment I was able to read it. I had a preconceived notion of the type of person that likes this book and David Foster Wallace blew all that bullshit out of the water. He was a genius and while I may never read this again in full I know there are parts I will revisit.
2. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle: Murakami topped my list last year with "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running". I think you either like him or you don't. I really liked this book. It was slippery. You never quite get a handle on it and then you come to the realization that you don't care and just go along with it. I look forward to reading more by him.
3. Downtown Owl: Great, great, great. I restrained myself when I saw someone reading it on the El - I wanted to say "oh, that book is so good!" but I did not. Learned my lesson with "Infinite Jest".
4. The Uncommon Reader: Short but it has stuck with me. I think of it often and, for me, that makes a great book.
5. Last Night of the Lobster: Completely universal experience. Mind blowing in the attention to detail and description. You know this guy. You are this guy.
I did not read nearly as much non-fiction as I had intended this year. I made it to 46 books and should hit 47 or 48 by the end of the year with my upcoming trip to Atlanta. Not all of the books were good. Many of them you knew would not be masterpieces going in, but they filled their duty and took my mind off other issues for a while. Here's to more reading in 2010.
**In the picture above Candy is enjoying her new book "Chant and Be Happy: A Guide to Mantra Meditation. Looks like it worked. She is mellow. The first two on my reading pile? Two re-reads for book groups. Anxious to see how others like "The Confederacy of Dunces" since it is one of my favorites of all time. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is for our novella group. We are meeting for a Bonus Novel in the Winter to catch up with each other. Happy Holidays!