Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Reading Challenges (part 1)

Happy 2012, everyone!

I hope you all had a good Christmas. Most of our decorations are in boxes, which are hidden behind other boxes somewhere in our storage unit. So we had a sweet, simple Christmas this year.

That's a bay tree for a Christmas tree. And note the wood stacked under the fireplace. Most of that ended up in the last upstairs room that needed flooring. (And don't worry, that's a fake log in the fireplace.)

Normally, I would now post my Fifty Books Challenge list for 2011, but I realized that I had neglected to post a list for 2010. In part because I was more worried about moving and selling the house than blogging, and in part because I wasn't sure I had actually read fifty books. But by including some of the longer, more "word heavy" graphic novels I read, I just made fifty. 2011 will have to wait until the next post. Here's 2010.

Collections (short stories, essays, etc.)  
  1. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress—Dai Sijie (tran. by Ina Rilke)
  2. Good Masters, Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village—written by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Bird
  3. The Literary Enneagram: Characters from the Inside Out—Judith Searle
  4. The Glass Castle: A Memoir—Jeannette Walls
  5. 1984—George Orwell
  6. Shriek: An Afterword—Jeff Vandermeer
  7. The Patron Saint of Liars—Ann Patchett
  8. Castle Rackrent—Maria Edgeworth
  9. The Bible Cure for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue—Don Colbert
  10. Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys
  11. Early Irish Myths and Sagas—trans. by Jeffrey Gantz
  12. In Country—Bobby Ann Mason
  13. The Names Upon the Harp: Irish Myth and Legend—written by Marie Heaney, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
  14. The Color Purple—Alice Walker
  15. Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat—Gwen Cooper
  16. Murder in the Cathedral—T.S. Eliot
  17. The Stranger—Albert Camus
  18. The Messiah of Stockholm—Cynthia Ozick
  19. Literary Feuds: A Century of Celebrated Quarrels—From Mark Twain to Tom Wolfe—Anthony Arthur
  20. One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  21. The Quiet American—Graham Greene
  22. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—J.K. Rowling (audio book)
  23. A Clockwork Orange—Anthony Burgess
  24. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader—Anne Fadiman
  25. 99 Poems in Translation—selected by Harold Pinter, Anthony Astbury, and Geoffrey Godbert
  26. Moll Flanders—Daniel Defoe
  27. How Reading Changed My Life—Anna Quindlen
  28. The Reader—Bernhard Schlink (trans. by Carol Brown Janeway)
  29. The Complete Persepolis (graphic novel)— Marjane Satrapi
  30. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood—bell hooks
  31. Longing: Stories of Racial Healing—Phyllis and Eugene Unterschuetz
  32. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia—Elizabeth Gilbert
  33. Watchmen (graphic novel)—written by Alan Moore, art by Dave Gibbons
  34. Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform—Christina Katz
  35. Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the U.S.A.—Julia Alvarez
  36. Coraline (graphic novel)—written by Neil Gaiman, art by P. Craig Russell
  37. What Ever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (graphic novel)—Brian Fies
  38. Wish You Well—David Baldacci
  39. Mushishi (Vol. 1)—Yuki Urushibara
  40. Smile (graphic novel)—Raina Telgemeier
  41. Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire—Ron Elliot (as told by Wayne Dammert)
  42. Their Eyes Were Watching God—Zora Neale Hurston
  43. Maus (graphic novel)—Art Spiegelman
  44. Sarah’s Key—Tatiana de Rosnay
  45. New Covenant Bound—T. Crunk
  46. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel—Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber
  47. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere—ZZ Packer
  48. American-Born Chinese (graphic novel)—Gene Luen Yang
  49. The Art of Reading Poetry—Harold Bloom
  50. Watership Down—Richard Adams
22 fiction.
11 non-fiction
7 memoir (though maybe Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? should be here too)
4 juvenile/YA (or 5, since Smile is a YA memoir)
3 collections
2 poetry collections
1 play
Out of those books 6 were graphic novels. (A medium I started exploring in 2010.) And 10 were on that literature list I like.

There were other things I read that were too short/word-light to make the list. I thought a few of these were worth mentioning:
  • A Day in the Life of Ireland: Photographed by 75 of the World's Leading Photojournalists on One Day, May 17, 1991—Collins Publishers
  • Mouse Guard: Fall 1152—David Peterson (graphic novel)
  • The Arrival—Shaun Tan (graphic novel/picture book)


  1. It's a thrill to see our book on your list - hope you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for including us in your literary journey.

    Phyllis Unterschuetz

  2. Phyllis, thank you for commenting. I did enjoy your book! You probably don't remember, but when I was in Kentucky I came to hear you and your husband at the McCracken County Library. I read many good books that year. But your book affected me in ways that I can still feel reverberating inside me, almost two years later.

  3. Only fifty books? pfft, lightweight! :P