15 February 2008

Reading Lists

I was reading my New Yorker again and ran across an article about Art Garfunkel. Remember him? The other half of Simon and. It turns out that Mr. Garfunkel has been keeping a list of every book he's read since June 1968. That's 40 years worth of reading, over 1,000 books, and an average of just over two books a month. The list is not wimpy as it seems Mr. Garfunkel has a taste for classics, non-fiction, and good literature. Always excellent to see what other people read and, if you're Notablogger, grin a little to yourself.

I've kept a list of every book I've read since January 1997. Among other things, it's nice to know that other people share my little penchant for keeping track of things. When I finish reading a book, I make a note in the back of my journal and when I finish the journal, I copy over the list into a book journal. It's just dates, authors, and titles, but I quite enjoy giving it a glance once in a while. Last year I realized it had been ten years of list keeping and did some math that I updated this morning.

Between January 1997 and December 2007, I read 486 books. That's around three and a half books a month. The list is less impressive than Mr. Garfunkel's, but he started his list at age 29. Having only (relatively) recently passed that year, I guess it's time to start getting serious. In the meantime, here's my list for 2007, with a star behind those titles I found especially good for whatever reason. (Kluun's Komt een vrouw bij de dokter is available in English now!)

January 2007

Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
John Grisham, The Broker
Ian Buruma, Death in Amsterdam

February 2007

Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown
Tibor Fischer, Under the Frog
Frederick Forsyth, Icon
David Maine, The Flood
Frederick Forsyth, The Afghan

March 2007
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook*
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
Thronton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey*

April 2007

Ruth Prawer Jhabyala, The Householder
A.S. Byatt, The Game
Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries
Kluun, Komt een vrouw bij de dokter*

May 2007
Pamela Duncan, Plant Life
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca*
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
Ha Jin, Waiting
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics

June 2007

Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
Frederick Forsyth, The Odessa File
George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman

July 2007

John Irving, A Son of the Circus
John Updike, Gertrude and Claudius
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis I*
Ian McEwan, Saturday
Ann Patchett, Bell Canto*

August 2007
Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club
Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair*
Khalid Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns*
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man*

September 2007
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Lee Smith, Oral History
Marina Lewycka, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Gabriel Brownstein, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 1492 – Present*

October 2007

Penelope Lively, The Photograph
Zoë Heller, Notes on a Scandal*
Kate Mosse, Labyrinth
Peter Elbling, The Food Taster*
Robert Ludum, The Prometheus Deception
David Baldacci, The Camel Club

November 2007

Anita Shreve, The Last Time They Met
Ian McEwan, Amsteradm*
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis II*
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Khalid Hosseini, The Kite Runner

December 2007
Jed Rubenfeld, The Interpretation of a Murder*
Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct*
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre*


  1. I have always been a prolific reader and sadly have never kept a list of all the books I've read. I wish I had, I regret it. Now that I'm blogging I'm keeping track. I guess lists give us a sense of accomplishment besides the fact that sometimes I can not remember if I've read a book before. Sometimes I'm halfway through a book when it starts to sound familiar and I realize I've read it before.

  2. Lists do feel good. The worst thing for me is seeing a title on my list and having no idea what it was about... embarrassing!

  3. your post is funny, i started my list in LA purely by chance! i guess my paper journal did the job last year. am also doing films. we should compare at the end of every year!

  4. I'm thinking that a monthly list might be less work than a yearly post... Looking at how much I've read the past two months, it's no wonder it feels like there's no real work getting done around here!


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