Best Reads of O-Nine and Reflections

The end of the year, and decade, is nigh and it is time for some navel gazing and reflection. I was going going to do a ‘best reads of the decade’ thing but I realised that would simply be impossible. Ten years is a long time, particularly for somebody who has transited from teenage years to a young adult (or ‘adult’). But it would have been interesting to watch the changes in my reading habits, if only I had kept a reading journal.

Compared to last year, I have read much more, more than double the amount. This is largely due to not focusing on research material and assigned literature. This is also the first year, in more than a decade, that I was not dictated what to read since I was no longer (sadly…) taking any English Lit. classes, both high school and university, so that was an unusual position.

I didn’t set out a number of books I wanted to finish this year because I don’t believe in that sort of thing. I’d rather savour books slowly and ponder rather than rushing through volumes. Being a rather slow reader comes into play here. I’d signed up for two reading challenges but I didn’t complete those either. I’ve decided readings challenges aren’t really for me but I do like the 1% of 1001 books challenge although I’m just working off the list rather than strategising and planning.

This year, I’ve read a wide variety of books, from classics to very hyped up crime thrillers (which is rare for me). I re-read several books, something that usually occurs once every four blue moons. I also read quite a bit of French existentialist novels and I’m making a conscious effort to read more Australian writers. I managed to get to the Melbourne Writer’s Festival for the very first time and even got the lovely M.J. Hyland to sign my book after making embarrassing random and inane comments to her, trying to think of something cool and witty to say. 🙂

Finally, I think I’m slightly Vampire-d and Austen-ed out.

Top Reads 2009 (no particular order)

  1. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s & other short stories – Truman Capote
  3. The Ghost Writer – John Harwood (re-read)
  4. Lucky – Alice Sebold
  5. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  6. She Came to Stay – Simone de Beauvoir
  7. The Outsider – Albert Camus (re-read)
  8. The Plague – Albert Camus
  9. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  10. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  11. A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
  12. Disgrace – J. M. Coetzee
  13. Carry Me Down – M.J. Hyland
  14. The Millennium Trilogy – Stieg Larsson (yes, I know it’s three books)
  15. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (re-read)
  16. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  17. The Child’s Book of True Crime – Chloe Hooper
  18. The Garden Party and Other Stories – Katherine Mansfield

I know – that’s a pretty long list, almost half the titles I read this year. But I did read some pretty good books.

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5 comments

  1. M.J (Maria?) – thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your kind comment. It’s one of the biggest and lovely surprises I’ve had. Hopefully, I’ll see you again at another writer’s festival in the near future.

    Happy new year. I’m looking forward to your next novel.

    – Mae

  2. Excellent list, Mae! I read Crime and Punishment and The Lovely Bones. I believe I read some Camus years ago, but it’s foggy in my memory, so it is obviously time to re-read! I am really enjoying your reviews. You’re a terrific writer.

  3. I spy The Little Prince on your list as well. Loved the book!

    Disgrace and The Outsider are also fantastic reads, so glad you enjoyed them.

    I had mixed feelings about both, Lucky and Lovely Bones – they were so incredibly depressing, and some of the writing was haunting.

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