Every year I keep a list of the books I read and every year I post that list for kicks. I don’t know what anybody else gets out of it, but I enjoy it.
This is perhaps the third year in a row when I’ve gone on a sci-fi bender. That kick accounted for a full third of my list in the last month and a half of the year. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a big sci-fi fan and that sci-fi is perhaps single-handedly keeping me interested in reading. Which is odd, because I’ve never considered myself much of a genre reader. I’ve had pretty wide ranging tastes and usually enjoy general fiction. I don’t even own very many sci-fi books, probably fewer than a half-a-dozen that I can name (and we own a lot of books).
I also went on a little teen novel kick, thinking one of my novels might land in that genre (like I said, I’m not very genre aware). It’s a fun little genre, defined more by the characters and focus than anything, but also kind of a genre with an identity crisis (while they’re categorized ‘for teens,’ they’re perfectly capable novels for adults as well).
You can also check out my previous reading lists: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001.
1) Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson
I did a mini review/interview with the author for Church Marketing Sucks.
2) The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
A little light reading for my blog Billyspot.
3) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The first of my teen reading kick. Creative and original premise.
4) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
At times overly technical, but Doctorow takes pains to explain it in close to layman’s terms. Otherwise, a interesting take on terrorism with plenty of anti-Bush era sentiments.
5) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Interesting style, but I had trouble with the plot (or lack of plot).
6) Just As I Am by Billy Graham
More light reading (re-reading) for my blog.
7) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
I couldn’t remember the title so I Googled “teen novel about that kid in a mental hospital” and it came up as the first result.
8) Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
I liked the writing, but the lead character drove me nuts. I barely finished.
9) Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps
Another Church Marketing Sucks review.
10) Watership Down by Richard Adams
Read this classic on the way to Ethiopia. Rabbits rule.
11) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Had to see what the fuss was all about, so I dove into this series. Not sure what all the fuss is about.
12) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Worst book of the series. Spoiler alert: She’s depressed the entire book. That’s the plot. Kill me now.
13) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
This one started to get better, but only marginally.
14) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Now I’m just reading to see how it ends. Spoiler alert: Weird.
15) Subterranean Twin Cities by Greg Brick
A little hometown, underground reading. Really interesting, but it seemed kind of lacking.
16) Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
A short story collection that started my sci-fi kick. The bibliography in the back fueled my post-apocalyptic reading for the rest of the year.
17) The End is Now by Rob Stennet
A different take on the Christian rapture novel.
18) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
While I love the scenes of empty New York in the Will Smith movie, Matheson’s original novel has a much better plot.
19) The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
95% of the population goes blind and carnivorous plants try to take over. How cool is that?!
20) The Rift by Walter J. Williams
More apocalyptic than post-, this novel covers a massive earthquake centered on Memphis that devastates the Mississippi River valley. Has a great Huck & Jim thing going through much of it.
21) World Made by Hand by James Kunstler
Kind of a calm, pastoral, post-apocalyptic story. The plot is a little slim, but the detail and vision of people returning to 1800s-era technology is stellar.
22) The Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark
A sequel to The Day of the Triffids written 50 years later and set 25 years later. Takes a while to get going, but has some interesting ideas.
23) On the Beach by Nevil Shute
OK, post-apocalyptic stuff has a tendency to be depressing, but this one is over the top. Nuclear fallout is spreading across the globe and Australia is the last to go. The population just waits to die. Exciting, huh?
24) St. Peter’s Brewery by Jonathan D. Blundell
A self-published novel written by a friend of mine. A little heavy-handed at times, but overall I liked it.
25) A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
A Christmas Ender novel (er, glorified short story) from Orson Scott Card. Not that exciting, but did make me want to reread Ender’s Game
26) Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham
The first in the Axis of Time trilogy. A 2021 military force is accidentally sent back to 1942 and unwittingly destroys the U.S. naval force just before the decisive Battle of Midway.
27) Designated Targets by John Birmingham
Second in the Axis of Time trilogy. Interesting to see how knowing the future changes the past, particularly World War II strategy.
28) Final Impact by John Birmingham
The end of the Axis of Time trilogy. Spoiler alert: Apparently knowing the future doesn’t change much. At least five nuclear bombs fall at the end of World War II and not much really changes except the Cold War comes faster and harder.
6 thoughts on “2009 Reading List”
LOL @ the fact that your curiosity swept you into the twilight series. I knew something was awry when I saw only women reading them. Your list looks pretty good man. I’m taking note and going to keep track of what I read from year to year.
on another note: I’m really impressed that you’ve been blogging since 1998! Are you still doing it for the joy of writing and chronicling your life? Has the pressure of trying to get readers tainted the blog at any point of time? I respect what you’re doing man. Keep it up.
Thanks, Reid. I’m still in shock that I’ve been doing it this long. I’m sure at points along the way my approach has changed to lure in readers, but it never lasts. You’ve got to do something like this for yourself. Or piles of money. That would work. But since I don’t have piles of money…
Thanks for the response. With everybody pushing social media I’m always tugging between trying to promote my blog (or my writing for that matter) when really I just enjoy it. When I’m blogging it’s like I’m talking one to one with a friend or a stranger. Which is actually how I like to talk in person…simple, intimate, where you’re not competing to get a thought out.
I’m glad there are guys like you out here pioneering and still holding it down. May grace, peace, and joy be multiplied unto you.
So, skimmed your previous list. I’m trying to read primarily female authors this year. Got any specific recommendations?
Absolutely: Anne Lamott, Madeleine L’Engle, Barbara Kingsolver. Those three are among my top five or six favorite authors. You could also check out Annie Dillard, Maya Angelou or Sarah Vowell. Probably depends on what exactly you’re looking for, but those are some of my favorites.
Sweet, thanks for the list. I read all of Anne Lamott’s stuff a couple years ago, loved it.
Started Poisonwood Bible but never got into it, gonna give it another go. The others are on my list (except Vowell, I’ll add something from her). Thanks!