On Reading: My Books of 2013
January 2, 2014 § 5 Comments
I read. A lot. In 2013, I decided to track the books I read for pleasure, so I created this stack. It got dangerously tall and slightly unsteady around November. This also doesn’t include the other two dozen books I read for classes and research purposes in 2013. But of this stack of 33 books I read in 2013, I can happily report that almost all of them were excellent reads and all but a couple were, at least for me, important reads. I have blogged about some them already. (Kim Eichlen’s The Disappeared; Eleanor Henderson’s Ten Thousand Saints (and here) Teofilio Ruiz’s The Terror of History; C.J. Shivers’ The Gun; Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind (also here); Terry Eagleton’s On Evil; and Amy Waldman’s The Submission). Time permitting, I will write about more of these books.
So, for those wondering, the best non-fiction book I read last year was Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind, with Eagleton’s On Evil a close second. As far as fiction goes, I’d say it was a tie between Hilary Mantel’s Bringing Up the Bodies, Zadie Smith’s NW and the grande dame of CanLit, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Here’s the interesting thing: I’ve never liked Atwood. I’ve always thought that her ability as a writer couldn’t cash the cheques here imagination wrote. But Oryx and Crake has caused me to re-think my position. The next two books in that trilogy, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam are in my stack of books to read already.
The only truly disappointing book I read in 2013 was the 1993 Booker Prize winner, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, by Roddy Doyle, the great Irish novelist whose work I have always enjoyed. Tant pis.