Thursday, November 7, 2013

Books Of The Year - November Update

Occasionally in emails or tweets or blog comments I get asked what I'm reading at the moment or have enjoyed recently. It's an easy question for me to answer as I've been keeping a meticulous, nerdy, indexed (!) reading log that dates back to 1993. 
I have no reading plan or set books; I don't read for self improvement (I'm with Dr Johnson on this one); I read exactly what I want to read when I want to (except occasionally when I have to read stuff for the newspaper). This then (below) is what my 2013 log looks like so far without the cross referencing, notes and index. The list is in chronological order. The grades are highly subjective, provisional and change frequently as time passes (and as you can see I'm a pretty easy grader).
1. Plainwater - Anne Carson B
2. The Professor - Terry Castle
3. Just My Type - Simon Garfield B
4. The Generals - (audiobook) Thomas E Ricks A+
5. The Antidote - Oliver Burkeman B+
6. Why Does The World Exist - Jim Holt (began in 2012) B+
7. The Yellow Birds - Kevin Powers (began in 2012) C+
8. Thinking The Twentieth Century - Tony Judt A
9. Our Times - AN Wilson B
10. The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara A
11. The Swerve - Stephen Greenblatt D
12. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - David Foster Wallace A
13. The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton - Anne Sexton A
14. Desolation Island - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) B+ * 
15. The Fortune of War - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) B+ *
16. Daniel Deronda - George Eliot B+
17. A Town Like Alice - Nevile Shute D
18. TransAtlantic - Colum McCann A
19. The Old Ways: a Journey On Foot - Robert Macfarlane (audiobook) A
20. Hope: A Tragedy - Sholem Auslander B-
21. The Crimson Petal And The White - Michel Faber A
22. The Far Side Of The World - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) A*
23. Socrates and a Platypus Go Into A Bar - Daniel Klein E
23. The Reverse of The Medal - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) A*
24. Inferno - Dan Brown (audiobook) C
25. The Thirteen Gun Salute - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) B+*
26. How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne In 21 Questions And An Answer - Sarah Bakewell B
27. Miami Blues - Charles Willeford A
28. Into The Silence - Wade Davis A
29. The Truelove - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) C*
30. The Finish - Mark Bowden B
31. The Wild Places - Robert Macfarlane C
32. Armchair Nation - Joe Moran A
33. The Wine Dark Sea - Patrick O'Brian (audiobook) A*
34. Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling E
35. Wool 1-5 - Hugh Howey B
36. Sinead Morrissey - Parallax A
37. The Luminaries - Elanor Catton A
38. Red or Dead - David Peace A+
39. Edgelands - Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley A+
40. Longbourn - Jo Baker A
41. The Broken Road - Patrick Leigh Fermor A
42. Autobiography - Morrissey A-

The books that have really stuck out for me in 2013 so far have been The Generals, Red or Dead, Edgelands and Morrissey's Autobiography, and the Luminaries was pretty good too. As you can see I've had a pretty amazing run of books in the last 2 months beginning with Sinead Morrissey's Parallax and ending (so far) with the Moz himself. In case this gets taken as a kind of my-books-of-the-year blog (which I'll probably be too lazy to actually write) I should also mention the new crime novels by Declan Burke (Slaughter's Hound) and John McFetridge (Black Rock) both of which I read last year in galley and both of which I rank A+. Additionally, I just got the new Ian Rankin yesterday and although I've only looked at the cover, that smells like an A too. 
* I'm working my way through the Patrick O'Brian audiobooks for the 4th time.