Wouldn’t it be great to have a list of every book you’ve ever read? An aunt of mine kept such a list. We found it when she died at ninety. It would be a wonderful gift for a child, to give her a blank, lined notebook along with the idea of keeping such a list.
In January, I started writing down what I’ve read this year, and I’m curious to see whether I will read 100 books in 2015. Along the way, just for fun, I’ve already completed a reading challenge:
You’re supposed to read 12 books in each category–that’s a lot! I read one in each. My twelve books:
A BOOK I’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ: The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters. She does not usually write in the murder/crime genre, but here she does. Loved it!
A BOOK PUBLISHED THIS YEAR: YOU, by Caroline Kepnes. I amended this category to “a book published within the last year.”
A BOOK IN A GENRE I DON’T TYPICALLY READ: The Battle for Saigon, a military history by Keith Nolan. I read it because I am writing up a friend’s experience living in Saigon during the 1960s and ‘70s. I glossed over the jargon, hardware and acronyms, of course. When he wrote about an NCOIC and three augmentees in a M113 APC with a .50-cal MG, I took this to be a bunch of guys in a truck with a big gun. I don’t like war, but this was by turns interesting, appalling, and exciting. Well researched, too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A BOOK FROM MY CHILDHOOD: I couldn’t think of a book from my childhood that I wanted to reread (Nancy Drew doesn’t work for me anymore), so I listed Winterdance, by Gary Paulson, because it’s such a great and perennial favorite of my inner child. It’s about sled dogs and the “fine madness” of running the Iditerod. Charming, wonderful read (especially if you’re foolish over dogs like me) (and out of 295 customer reviews, a whopping 255 are 5 stars–read this book).
A BOOK MY MOTHER LOVES: The Sleep of Reason, by CP Snow. My mother didn’t love this book. I am not even sure she read it. She mentioned it in such a funny way that, fifty years later, I was curious enough to read it. Weird.
A BOOK ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE: The Devotion of Suspect X, by Keigo Higashino, a fabulously well-plotted murder mystery.
A BOOK “EVERYONE” BUT ME HAS READ: Ugh, do I have to? I bounced off a few of these—there’s a reason I haven’t read them—and finally settled on The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. This book will mess with your year-end total—it’s 800 pages long! A Pulitzer Prize winner with 21,000 Amazon reviews.
A BOOK I CHOSE BECAUSE OF THE COVER: Malice, also by Keigo Higashino.
A BOOK BY A FAVORITE AUTHOR: Last Train to Zona Verde, by Paul Theroux. This is a reprise of Dark Star Safari, which you should read instead. In fact, if you are not already a fan, start with The Great Railway Bazaar.
A BOOK RECOMMENDED BY SOMEONE WITH GREAT TASTE: Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidhwa. Thanks for the recommendation, O you with great taste, Kathy Waller! I loved it.
A BOOK I SHOULD HAVE READ IN HIGH SCHOOL: Moby Dick. DNF. Once again.
A BOOK THAT IS CURRENTLY A BESTSELLER: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. Great read. Inspiring that a mid-list author rolled the dice with a genre shift and hit the big-time!
Elizabeth Buhmann is the author of Lay Death at Her Door. An old murder comes unsolved when the man who was convicted of it is exonerated.