Sunday, December 31, 2006

Books, Favorites of 2006

Books, Favorites of 2006

I read 95 books this year.

Yes, I did read all 95 books and I know that is a lot. Obviously, I love to read and have since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I was fortunate enough to have a parent who encouraged me to read and also never denied money to me whenever I brought home those Scholastic flyers from school.

You might think that I have a lot of free time on my hands to read all these books. Now I do devote time to reading, but I must admit that that I also read just about anytime I can. I can usually be found reading on my breaks at work and during my lunch time. I also read every night before I go to bed. Sometimes, I read before going to work. I also get 6 or 7 magazines a month as well… maybe 8… not sure.

With all those things in mind, I probably read more than you do-- even more than most people do in a few years and sadly, more than some read in a decade. That is not meant to belittle anyone. I like to read whereas others like to use there leisure time for other activities. We all have our vices and this one is among my favorites.

This year, one book dominated my life. Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” quietly slipped into my hands via three or four top ten lists from the previous year. Released in Japan in 2003 and published in English in 2005 this novel made me forget most of my favorite authors and novels that I have ever read. The story is two tales intertwined into some of the most concise and effortless writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Murakami does not over write- that is; he is compact in style and says what he needs to say without being bloated. He does not under-write either. His descriptions are honest without pretension and erotic without being profane.

I’ve read reviews that speak of the fantasy of the fiction blending with the reality of the reader. I wholeheartedly agree. It is like reading a dream that you find yourself an observer in the story only to wake up and realize that you are reading a story that is a dream to read.

I’ve read three other works by Mr. Murakami and my only complaint is that I am sad- sad that I’ve finished. He has other novels and short story collections out there for me to read, but; I must say that I’ve become a book snob in the past few years and only want to purchase hardcover titles and his are not cheap to come by now that his fame as writer has grown over the years. I’ll get them eventually, but until that time comes when I get a new (old) Murakami title, I will have memories of a wonderful experience that comes with each time I re-read this masterpiece.

I have three vices in my life and at the end of each year; I put out a best of list. In music and film, it is easy because they are easier to segregate into a time period for that year only. Books are different. New ones come out every week but older titles are numerous- nearly infinite in comparison to the other two. Because of that, I will put forth two lists here:

A best of 2006


A list of titles I liked the most this year that were from previous years.

Without further ado:

My top ten (in order) from 2006 were:

  1. The Last Town on Earth - Thomas Mullen
  2. Ghost Sea - Ferenc Mate
  3. Mortimer of the Maghreb - Henry Shukman
  4. Everyman - Phillip Roth
  5. Lisey's Story - Stephen King
  6. My Life in France - Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme
  7. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters - Gordon Dahlquist
  8. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks
  9. Germ - Robert Liparulo
  10. The Omnivore’s Dilemma - Michael Pollan

Favorites from previous years (in order):

  1. Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
  2. The Town That Forgot How to Breathe - Kenneth J. Harvey
  3. Sun Storm - Åsa Larsson
  4. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
  5. A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle
  6. Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell
  7. The Swarm - Frank Schatzing
  8. The River of Doubt - Candice Millard
  9. Jarhead - Anthony Swofford
  10. Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs

Yes, I am aware that I have some non-fiction mixed in with fiction titles.

Below is a complete list of what I read in 2006 and when I finished each title (nerdy, I know). The books have varied in length… some less than 50 and others almost 900 pages.

There are lots of good books on the list.

Happy Reading!

  1. Divine Proportion: PHI In Art, Nature, and Science Priya Hemenway 1/01/06
  2. Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest James Balog 01/02/06
  3. The Darwin Conspiracy John Darnton 01/05/06
  4. McDowell County William R. Archer 01/05/06
  5. Mercer County William R. Archer 01/06/06
  6. Salem's Lot (Illustrated Edition) Stephen King 01/07/06
  7. Brokeback Mountain Annie Proulx 01/08/06
  8. The Tent Margaret Atwood 01/09/06
  9. The Last Cato Matilde Asensi 01/12/06
  10. The Complete Peanuts: 1957 to 1958 Charles M. Schulz 01/14/06
  11. Wild Ducks Flying Backwards Tom Robbins 01/16/06
  12. The Lost Painting Jonathan Harr 01/20/06
  13. Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro 01/24/06
  14. Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami 02/01/06
  15. Cell Stephen King 02/03/06
  16. The Last Templar Raymond Khoury 02/07/06
  17. The Rubaiyat Omar Khayyam 02/09/06
  18. Dry Augusten Burroughs 02/11/06
  19. Running With Scissors Augusten Burroughs 02/13/06
  20. We'll Always Have Paris John Baxter 02/21/06
  21. Magical Thinking Augusten Burroughs 03/02/06
  22. The United States of Appalachia Jeff Biggers 03/10/06
  23. The Dead Beat Marilyn Johnson 03/14/06
  24. Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner 03/15/06
  25. Possible Side Effects Augusten Burroughs 03/19/06
  26. The Girl Next Door Jack Ketchum 03/20/06
  27. The Templar Legacy Steve Berry 03/26/06
  28. A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict John Baxter 03/29/06
  29. Surrender Toni Bentley 04/04/06
  30. The City of Falling Angels John Berendt 04/06/06
  31. My Life in France Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme 04/08/06
  32. Blink Malcolm Gladwell 04/12/06
  33. Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesha Amy Novesky 04/13/06
  34. Coma Alex Garland 04/13/06
  35. I Am Not Myself These Days Josh Kilmer-Purcell 04/15/06
  36. Blood Mark Ryden 04/19/06
  37. Jarhead Anthony Swofford 04/26/06
  38. Instructoart Matthew Vescovo 05/02/06
  39. A Year in Provence Peter Mayle 05/02/06
  40. In the Merde for Love Stephen Clarke 05/07/06
  41. After the Quake Haruki Murakami 05/09/06
  42. Sputnik Sweetheart Haruki Murakami 05/12/06
  43. Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln's Killer James L. Swanson 05/17/06
  44. Everyman Philip Roth 05/19/06
  45. The Alphabet of Manliness Maddox 05/22/06
  46. The Cross and The Crescent Richard Fletcher 05/22/06
  47. The Brief History of the Dead Kevin Brockmeier 05/25/06
  48. A Dirty Job Christopher Moore 06/05/06
  49. The Husband Dean Koontz 06/08/06
  50. The Sweet Life: Reflections on Home and Garden Laura Stoddart 06/11/06
  51. Black Order James Rollins 06/12/06
  52. Built to Win John Schuerholz with Larry Guest 06/15/06
  53. Brandenburg Gate Henry Porter 06/24/06
  54. The Nasty Bits Anthony Bourdain 06/26/06
  55. The Serial Killers Club Jeff Povey 07/02/06
  56. Memoirs of Old Princeton Harrison W. Straley, II 07/05/06
  57. The Swarm Frank Schatzing 07/07/06
  58. Mortimer of the Maghreb Henry Shukman 07/13/06
  59. Ghost Sea Ferenc Mate 07/18/06
  60. The River of Doubt Candice Millard 07/23/06
  61. The Ruins Scott Smith 07/26/06
  62. The Zahir Paulo Coelho 07/31/06
  63. The Devil and Miss Prym Paulo Coelho 08/02/06
  64. Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwell 08/06/06
  65. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho 08/08/06
  66. The Omnivore's Dilemma Michael Pollan 08/21/06
  67. Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be Lama Surya Das 08/24/06
  68. City of Shadows Ariana Franklin 08/27/06
  69. Echo Park Michael Connelly 08/28/06
  70. Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death Lisa Takeuchi 08/31/06
  71. Water For Elephants Sara Gruen 09/03/06
  72. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Haruki Murakami 09/09/06
  73. The Black Sun James Twining 09/13/06
  74. This I Believe Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (Editors) 09/15/06
  75. Johnny U Tom Callahan 09/17/06
  76. Sign of the Cross Chris Kuzneski 09/19/06
  77. Officer Down Theresa Schwegel 09/22/06
  78. Friends to the End (The True Value of Friendship) Bradley Trevor Greive 09/22/06
  79. Holy Blood, Holy Grail M. Baigent, R. Leigh & H. Lincoln 10/04/06
  80. Map of Bones James Rollins 10/09/06
  81. The Last Town on Earth Thomas Mullen 10/13/06
  82. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Gordon Dahlquist 10/23/06
  83. Lisey's Story Stephen King 11/05/06
  84. The Innocent Man John Grisham 11/07/06
  85. The Fifth Vial Michael Palmer 11/10/06
  86. The Echo Maker Richard Powers 11/19/06
  87. Granta 95: Loved Ones Ian Jack (Editor) 11/23/06
  88. The God Delusion Richard Dawkins 12/06/06
  89. Next Michael Crichton 12/08/06
  90. Sun Storm Åsa Larsson 12/14/06
  91. Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris 12/15/06
  92. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks 12/17/06
  93. Brother Odd Dean Koontz 12/23/06
  94. 100 Bullshit Jobs… And How To Get Them Stanley Bing 12/26/06
  95. Germ Robert Liparulo 12/30/06

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