Books read, 2019

In 2019 your ‘umble blogger read 46 books. That’s about my usual pace. Can you believe I’ve been writing these year-end reading posts since 2010? That’s a solid decade. Here’s the list from 2018.

Below are all the titles I read in 2019. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on your own reading in 2019 or, if you have the right combination of ambition and leisure time, to list all your books from the year.

  1. “Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78 rpm Records,” Amanda Petrusich
  2. “Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles,” Jonathan Gold
  3. “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame,” Lynell George
  4. “Train,” Tom Zoellner
  5. “The Lost Art of Walking,” Geoff Nicholson
  6. “Over the Hills,” David Lamb
  7. “Beyond This Horizon,” Robert A. Heinlein
  8. “Edgeworks Vol. 1,” Harlan Ellison
  9. “Edgeworks Vol. 2,” Harlan Ellison
  10. “An Edge in My Voice,” Harlan Ellison
  11. “The Blood of the Lamb,” Peter De Vries
  12. “A Pleasure to Burn,” Ray Bradbury
  13. “Dreams and Schemes,” Steve Lopez
  14. “The Simulacra,” Philip K. Dick
  15. “Lies Inc.,” Philip K. Dick
  16. “The Unteleported Man,” Philip K. Dick
  17. “Only Apparently Real,” Paul Williams
  18. “The Colour of Memory,” Geoff Dyer
  19. “The Orange and the Dream of California,” David Boulé
  20. “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” William Shakespeare
  21. “Timon of Athens,” William Shakespeare
  22. “Pericles,” William Shakespeare
  23. “Shakespeare: The World as Stage,” Bill Bryson
  24. “Collected Stories,” Willa Cather
  25. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” Robert M. Pirsig
  26. “California Dreamin’ Along Route 66,” Joe Sonderman
  27. “On the Road With Bob Dylan,” Larry “Ratso” Sloman
  28. “The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style,” Nelson George
  29. “What to Eat,” Marion Nestle
  30. “American Fried,” Calvin Trillin
  31. “Alice, Let’s Eat,” Calvin Trillin
  32. “Third Helpings,” Calvin Trillin
  33. “The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan,” Kevin Dettmar, editor
  34. “Counter-Clock World,” Philip K. Dick
  35. “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” Walter M. Miller Jr.
  36. “Can and Can’tankerous,” Harlan Ellison
  37. “Alive in La La Land,” Jack Smith
  38. “How the World Was: A California Childhood,” Emmanuel Guibert
  39. “Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018,” David Kipen, editor
  40. “Panorama: A Picture History of Southern California,” W.W. Robinson
  41. “The Library Book,” Susan Orlean
  42. “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies,” Reyner Banham
  43. “The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum,” Stanley Weinbaum
  44. “Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York Through the Films of Harold Lloyd,” John Bengtson
  45. “J.D. Salinger: A Biography,” Paul Alexander
  46. “2020 Vision”: Jerry Pournelle, editor
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  • Hugh C. McBride

    Impressive list, Mr. Allen. Instead of sharing my entire list, I thought I’d pass along seven from 2019 that really resonated with me:

    My two favorites
    * THE GREAT BELIEVERS (Rebecca Makkai)
    * DAISY JONE AND THE SIX (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

    Honorable mention:
    * RECURSION (Blake Crouch)
    * LONG WAY DOWN (Jason Reynolds)
    * THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS (Marjane Satrapi)
    * A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW (Amor Towles)

    Here’s to another great reading year in 2020!

    • davidallen909

      Naming your favorites (out of 73) is a smart approach, Hugh. I can’t narrow my list down so well without a lot more agonizing than I’m willing to expend. My long list is, to use my numbered list, 1, 2, 6, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20-23, 27, 30-32, 34 and 41-43, with Blood of the Lamb probably my No. 1.

  • Doug Evans

    Hello David!

    Contributing to this discussion on the first day of February, 22 days after you wrote the post, but before the January Reading Log appears, so it still counts!*

    My biggest accomplished goal last year was finishing the two-year Jack Reacher read I did. (If anyone wants to read my copies of the Lee Child oeuvre, I’ve donated most of them to the reading library at Café con Libros.) Fun books! Though kind of goofy! Erstwhile reporter David Allen tipped me off to news that author Lee Child is handing the writing of the books over to his brother, Andrew Grant, a published author in his own right:

    Since I’m the king of reading sequel-books-authorized-by-a-dead-author’s-estate (to be clear, Lee isn’t dead, just retiring), I’ll be curious to see what these are like. And, fun fact, also learned from David: “Grant” is the real family name of Lee and his brother, but in order to be able to continue the series, Andrew had to agree to write them under the name “Andrew Child.” Also, fun fact: Andrew Grant is 51 years old. I’m 51 years old. YOU COULD HAVE ASKED ME, LEE CHILD.

    So having finished Jack Reacher (at least all the books published so far), I’m moving on to a different project for 2020-21: reading Ross Macdonald’s series of Lew Archer private eye novels. Macdonald is considered the third of the great literary private eye novelists, after Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and I’ve read those guys (well, most of Hammett), so this is the next logical step. There are 18 books in the series, plus a collection of short stories, so look for me to finish up in about a year and a half. So far, a book and a half into him: he’s good!

    Speaking of Raymond Chandler, and since tomorrow is the Super Bowl, I’m gonna share one of my favorite David Allen blog posts and one of my favorite comments to a blog post, in which we talk about what we did on that Sunday in lieu of watching the game. 11 years ago, now!

    11 years later on, my plans haven’t changed that much. Go, your favorite sports team, and here’s to a great 2020 to us all!


    *I’m not sure for what.

    • davidallen909

      Congratulations on your dogged read of the Jack Reacher series! And now on picking a new goal, one with a little more cultural cachet and heft, i.e., the Lew Archer novels.

      I’ve never read one and know only a little about the series, primarily that it was penned by a Santa Barbara writer named Kenneth Millar, that one or two were made into movies (one or two with Paul Newman) and that the series seems to have become more respected literarily in the last decade or so. Also, that Ross Macdonald’s books are always found near my boy John MacDonald’s.

      Didn’t Hugh share the part about Lee Child’s brother having to change his name, and maybe even the entirety of the news? I can’t remember if I contributed anything to the lunch discussion on that topic or merely received the info and incorporated into my state of being.

      Before writing my column 2/5 I searched for “Super Bowl” on this blog to reread all those posts, which were almost annual until a couple of years ago, and refresh my memory on anything I may have done on past Super Bowls. Only Ikea stood out. I hadn’t written about the Pantry, so perhaps that was pre-blog. What really stood out was how little I have planned for Super Bowls despite always meaning to do so. Naturally this year I was finally thinking ahead a few days, and that’s when I got too sick to go anywhere.

  • Doug Evans

    Also: Hey, Al McCombs read your year-end reading column, and mentioned it in his Rolltop Roundup! Fun!

    • davidallen909

      That’s great! I get the Champion by mail and haven’t seen that issue yet. Good ol’ Al.