Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The 2010 Book List

I've often heard that if you want to be a better writer, you need to read. A lot. I've heard that statement often, but I've rarely followed it.

I don't know exactly why, but last year I read a lot more books than usual. Probably not as many as I should have, but enough that I haven't had the time or motivation to write reviews for them all. But even if I may not have enough time to review them, but I do have enough time to list them. I'll include a quick take on each, but you can pretty much assume that I recommend each.
  • High Fidelity, Nick Hornby. Fictional story about a 30-something music store owner who doesn't know what to do with the rest of his life (inspired the movie with John Cusack).
  • Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher. Memoir of Carrie "Princess Leia" Fisher.
  • Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs, Dave Barry. Dave's chronology of bad pop songs; perfect airplane read.
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy. Post-apocalyptic fiction about a man and his son; don't read if you're depressed.
  • Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman. Pop culture essayist Klosterman's memoir of growing up as a metal head in rural North Dakota.
  • The Dude Abides, Cathleen Falsani. Non-fiction analysis of the religious themes behind each of the films of Joel and Ethan Coen.
  • Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell. Non-fiction/sort-of self-help book on the true nature of success.
  • He is I Say, David Wild. Biography of Mr. Neil Diamond by a longtime writer for Rolling Stone magazine.
  • The Breaks of the Game, David Halberstam. Non-fiction portrait of the late 1970's NBA as seen through the 1977 Portland Trailblazers.
  • Sports from Hell, Rick Reilly. The longtime SI (and now ESPN) columnist researches outlandish sports from around the world.
  • Humor in School is Serious Business, B. Lee Hurren. Educational text about the value of using humor in the classroom.
  • U.S.S. Enterprise Owner's Workshop Manual, Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley. Technical manual outlining the various systems and functions of every version of the iconic Star Trek starship.
  • Bigfoot: I Not Dead, Graham Roumieu. Fictional autobiography written from the perspective of the legendary Sasquatch.
  • 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston. Memoir of an avid outdoorsman who cuts his own arm off to survive a canyoneering accident. 
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks. Super-dense documentary-style fiction about the Zombie Apocalypse.
Now that I look back at that list I'm not all that impressed. In my head I read about twice as many books as I have listed here. I will try better in the coming year. In fact, if you have any recommendations, feel free to comment.