Books read, 2011

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In 2011 I read an even 60 books, a personal best, for whatever that’s worth. That bests 2009’s 58 and 2010’s 52, the year I began reading more intensively. Below is my 2011 list, in order, from January to December. Wednesday’s column (read it here) is about about my year in reading.

Mostly I read fiction, from literary to pulp, mysteries and science fiction, but there was also a smattering of nonfiction. Some authors got repeat books onto my reading list: two by Nick Hornby, three each by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, Mark Twain and the pseudonymous William Arrow, four by Philip K. Dick and five by Harlan Ellison. Many others show up only once, but that doesn’t mean I might not love them.

1. “Tarzan of the Apes,” Edgar Rice Burroughs
2. “The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer
3. “A Tapestry of Life: The World of Millard Sheets,” Janet Blake and Tony Sheets
4. “The Polysyllabic Spree,” Nick Hornby
5. “Bright Orange for the Shroud,” John D. MacDonald
6. “Exploring Form: John Edward Svenson, An American Sculptor,” David Svenson
7, 8, 9. “Return to the Planet of the Apes Nos. 1, 2 and 3,” William Arrow
10. “The Return of Tarzan,” Edgar Rice Burroughs
11. “The Return of Sherlock Holmes,” A. Conan Doyle
12. “The Return of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer
13. “The Turn of the Screw,” Henry James
14. “They Live,” Jonathan Lethem
15. “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” Philip K. Dick
16. “Blade Runner, A Story of the Future,” Les Martin
17. “Web of the City,” Harlan Ellison
18. “There’s a Country in My Cellar,” Russell Baker
19. “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” Mark Twain
20. “California Crazy and Beyond,” Jim Heimann
21. “The Computer Connection,” Alfred Bester
22. “Comic Book Culture,” Ron Goulart
23. “Confessions of a Crap Artist,” Philip K. Dick
24. “A Case of Conscience,” James Blish
25. “Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress,” Candacy A. Taylor
26. “10 Minute Clutter Control Room by Room,” Skye Alexander
27. “The Batcave Companion,” Michael Eury and Michael Kronenberg
28. “The Book of Philip K. Dick,” Philip K. Dick
29. “The Hand of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer
30. “The Beasts of Tarzan,” Edgar Rick Burroughs
31. “All Yesterdays’ Parties: The Velvet Underground in Print 1966-1971,” Clinton Heylin
32. “The Drawn Blank Series,” Bob Dylan
33. “The Rough Guide to the Velvet Underground,” Peter Hogan
34. “Captain Blood,” Rafael Sabatini
35. “A Touch of Infinity,” Harlan Ellison
36. “Run for the Stars/Echoes of Thunder,” Harlan Ellison/Jack Dann, Jack C. Haldeman
37. “The Deadly Streets,” Harlan Ellison
38. “Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere,” Hank Stuever
39. “Roadside America,” John Margolies
40. “The Verse by the Side of the Road,” Frank Rowsome Jr.
41. “Lonely Avenue,” Nick Hornby
42. “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us),” Tom Vanderbilt
43. “Highway 61 Revisited,” Mark Polizzotti
44. “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” Sammy Hagar
45. “Blood’s a Rover,” Harlan Ellison
46. “Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb,” Philip K. Dick
47. “Red Harvest,” Dashiell Hammett
48. “Into the Beautiful North,” Luis Alberto Urrea
49. “Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Across the Borderlands,” Michael Chabon
50. “The Innocents Abroad,” Mark Twain
51. “Short Stories,” Mark Twain
52. “Supreme Courtship,” Christopher Buckley
53. “Stan’s Soapbox: The Collection,” Stan Lee
54. “Dave Barry in Cyberspace,” Dave Barry
55. “The Sheltering Sky,” Paul Bowles
56. “In a Sunburned Country,” Bill Bryson
57. “Golden Apples of the Sun,” Ray Bradbury
58. “The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion,” Brian M. Kane
59. “Vineland,” Thomas Pynchon
60. “Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson’s Lost Masterpiece,” Domenic Priore

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  • Ann Bocc

    Any historical fiction titles on the list? I won’t have time for 60 (!) but would like to make the most of the reading time I do have.

    [I don’t think there were. Some other site will have to point you toward those. — DA]

  • Will Plunkett

    That’s impressive! I too set a record for books read in a year (once I started to keep careful count, that is). Rather than all the titles, here’s a genre breakdown:

    13 general fiction
    13 Star Wars
    10 non-fiction (I’ll consider Glen Beck “not-fiction” )
    6 young adult
    6 mystery
    6 historical fiction
    4 general sci-fi
    4 biography
    4 humor
    2 basis for movies
    1 trashy romance

    I try to hit multiple genres each year.

    [That trait makes us well-rounded readers. Especially if we include at least one trashy romance. — DA]

  • Mark Allen

    That bests 2009’s 58 and 2010’s 52, the year I began reading more intensively.

    Buh … the year you began reading more intensively, you read fewer books than the year before?

    Freak show!

    BTW, which is French for by the way, Stephen King stated, The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

    So! On to my wee business:

    After years of being in a similar situation of enjoying the idea of reading more than reading, I got busy last year.

    While my 22 pales in comparison, I was happy to see that mine are probably far lengthier tomes and perhaps more educational. (Although I learned to write [after a fashion] by reading Lord of the Rings, The a dozen times during high school.)

    Only two on my list were fiction, although Like Hell and Weasels in a Box were partially fictitious memoirs. The Albert Poopholes book Ill toss into the semi-fictitious realm as well. I made sure to read it before the end of the regular season.

    {I hope the umlaut on Junger appears properly. If not, mentally replace the wacky symbol with a u.)

    {These are in the order I pulled them from storage.}

    Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age – Modris Eksteins

    The Guns of August – Barbara W. Tuchman

    Storm of Steel – Ernst Jnger

    To Lose a Battle: France 1940 – Alistair Horne

    Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

    Punk is a Four-Letter Word – Ben Weasel Foster

    Weasels in a Box – John R. Johnny Jughead Pierson

    Like Hell – Ben Weasel Foster

    The Fall of Berlin 1945 – Antony Beevor

    Cool Comfort: Americas Romance with Air-Conditioning – Marsha E. Ackermann

    Good-Bye to All That – Robert Graves

    Neighbors – Thomas Berger

    Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity – Preston Jones and Greg Graffin

    Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson – Alan Pell Crawford

    Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

    Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit – Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause

    Man on Wire – Philippe Petit

    Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System – Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost

    The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 – Alistair Horne

    Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business – Neil Postman, Andrew Postman

    Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies Youve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths from the Secular and Christian Media – Bradley R.E. Wright

    Pujols: More Than the Game – Scott Lamb and Tim Ellsworth

    Bible, The – God (not in entirety)

  • Doug Evans

    I missed commenting on last week’s December round-up… too late to get in here? (Of course not!) After counting up my yearly total as of November… 27 books… and hoping to get at least a few more added to the count over winter break, it turns out I’ve only finished one more book since then: The Maltese Falcon, Pomona’s Big Read this past fall, and a book I chose for a book club I’m in.

    “The Maltese Falcon,” it turns out, wasn’t a big hit with the club, though I loved it as much my third time through as the first time I read it back in the ’80s. That’s why we join book clubs, I guess… to be exposed to books we’d never pick up on our own, whatever our ultimate opinion of them. (I suppose others might say, “Why would I want to do that, when I’ve already got so many books on my own I’m trying to get to?” and now that I’ve typed that, I don’t really have an answer. Hmm.)

    On that note: the next book club pick (picked by my wife!) is “The Language of Flowers,” which just from the title alone I’m guessing is about as far from “The Maltese Falcon” as you might be able to get.

    Well, Falcon, you brought my 2011 total up to 28 books, and I’ve given myself a resolution for 2012: at the very least, I’m going to beat 28. I may not be able to hit 50 or 60, but I’d better get serious about increasing my count, or my giant pile of unread books will be following me to my grave! (Probably going to happen anyway, but I’m still too young yet to start thinking about that.)

    I received $125 worth of ebook credit for my iPad for Christmas! Not really relevant to anything I’ve been typing about, but wanted to share. Also: all that ebook credit is really not going to help me crack that giant pile of unread (physical!) books I keep talking about. But: books! Yay!

    Congrats on reaching 60! That’s an impressive number! Here’s to a happy and bookful (urgh) 2012 to us all!

    BTW: commenter Mark Allen: relative?

    [Brother. (Oh, brother.) Doug, I’m imagining a horror movie in which a man dies and his giant pile of unread books follows him to his grave. Not sure what happens after that, especially since he’s beyond caring, but it makes for a good visual. Anyway, here’s to another year of reading. And good luck with “The Language of Flowers.” Maybe you’ll luck out and the title is ironic or something. — DA]