My year in books: It’s been a bad reading year for me. At times it seems like the only things I’ve read were the various drafts of Blood & Volume, and with proofs expected this week, it looks like I’ll have to read it at least one more time before the calendar flips. I found it hard to find time to really get into too many books this year, settling for 5-10 pages before bed and a couple of pages in between subway stops.
But if I really stop and think about it, I did get a ton of reading in this year. What follows is a partial list of the 40 or so books that were on my nightstand in 2006 that really jumped out.
Crazy, by Pete Earley: I’m not saying it solely because he was my best mentor at Goucher, but I did have a behind-the scenes look at how this book was put together. It was the one piece of journalism I read this year that moved me enough to be angry with the system, but the memoir aspects made it very readable and accessible.
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, by Suketu Mehta: This book, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is looking like it may slip into 2007 for me. I’m supposed to have coffee with the author when I get to New York on Saturday afternoon and was hoping to have finished this by then. It is very long with unfamiliar Indian names which have made it a slow read for me, but it is beautifully written and captivating. He’s now working on a book about New York which I suspect will be equally good.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan: It was my trendy book of the year, but, like Crazy, it got me thinking. I rarely re-read books but have considered taking another stab at it to figure out his rather brilliant structure.
On Writing, by Stephen King: I’m an admirer but not a fan of Stephen King. On Writing had lots of good tips for everyone from beginner’s to pros, and was written with King’s typical sense of detail. He also explains why he pulls out a book to read between innings at Fenway or while standing in line at the bank. The writing of the book straddled the car crash where he was hit and nearly killed while walking near his home in Maine, so the added bonus is the two distinctly different voice in a book that is about more than simply writing.
Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, by Gary Kinder: It’s detailed, historical nonfiction combined with contemporary reporting and research. If I recall correctly, it took him 10 agonizing years to write and the effort shows in the final product. Mentioned partially because last night at Shay’s in Harvard Square I ironically saw — but did not speak to — the ex-girlfriend who gave it to me last Christmas. Sorry for being rude. Thanks for the book.
For the record, this post is going to be my entry in ProBlogger’s Reviews & Previews Group Writing Project.