amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
Since I just posted my summary of 2009 in books, we'll pretend it's still the beginning of the year. So here is my annual Big List of Shame for 2010. The LoS is a list of the unread books I have cluttering up my apartment, and is supposed to shame me into curbing my book buying addiction. It's hard to say how successful it is (it's kind of like trying to hold back the tide with a colander), but it probably does make me at least think twice before buying yet another book. This is already out of date, but let's ignore that. As of January (how did it get to be March, anyway?), I had 81 unread books. That sounds pretty bad, but it's actually not so very horrible for me. It's only about 20 more than I had at the start of 2008.

Big List of Shame 2010 )
amari_z: (addict)
Yes, I know it’s March! After being oppressed at work for the last month, here is the much belated 2009 in books.

2009 in Books )
amari_z: (reading)
Because it's the only hope (however benighted) of keeping me in check, here's my Big List of Shame for 2009. The BLoS is a list of all of the books I've acquired in the last few years that I haven't yet read (in theory anyway--I'm sure some have escaped listing). I seem to have developed a tradition of resetting it at the beginning of each year.

As of the date of this post, the BLoS stands at 39 books of fiction, 58 non-fiction (or 57--one is down). I eroded a lot of my progress in 2008 by going on a recent, huge book buying binge (I think I had 62 or so left on the 2008 list). If one were inclined, one might talk about a fear of success or self-sabotage; I do get anxious if there aren't piles of unread books collapsing in my living room.

We'll see how frightening this looks in another year (can you believe that'll be 2010?).

2009 Big List of Shame )
amari_z: (addict)
Rather to my own amazement, I managed to read 101 books in 2008 (not including “trash” books—damn you, kindle!). This means that I made it more than half way through my Big List of Shame, which stands at 163 books, eighty-three of which, according to the BLoS, I bought this year.*

I read sixty-seven works of fiction and thirty-four of nonfiction. This is bad only when you consider that despite the 2:1 ratio in reading, I have a nearly 1:1 ratio on my BLoS. I did the best in summer—no surprise there, since I tend to develop insomniac tendencies in hot weather. My worst month was April, followed by December. In April, it took me a long time to read Gate of the Sun. In December, I think it was all the trash novels and general laziness.

Although I enjoyed most of the books I read, and I generally dislike picking favorites, here are ten rather randomly chosen highlights:

1. Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End. I’m in love with this book. It’s the only narrative I’ve ever read that successfully managed a second person plural pov. And it’s funny and spot on about office life.

2. Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide. One of my favorite authors, and I think this is my favorite book of his to date (I haven’t read his new one yet). If for no other reason, read it for the setting, the Sundarbans, the ever-changing Ganges tidal delta, inhabited by tigers, crocodiles and, perhaps, the rare river dolphin.

3. Peter Godwin, Mukiwa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. There are a lot of areas of the world about which I feel my knowledge is sadly lacking, and the entire continent of Africa is one of them. These two books are memoirs of a white boy growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the end of white rule and what followed. Well written, troubling, and topical if you’re following today’s news.

4. Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun. I already discussed a bit about this one.

5. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this. Six connected stories spread across time, set up like concentric rings. Brilliant.

6. Tahir Shah, The Caliph's House. I bought this one up on a whim and have no regrets. A British writer of partial Afghani parentage makes a sudden decision to pick up and move his family to Morocco.

7. Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. If you like the Iliad and are interested in the psychology of war, run to read this book.

8. Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks. See here.

9. M. G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall. I had never heard of this Canadian author, which is one of the reasons I’m selecting this book for mention. Story of how the main character, of Indian ancestry but born to immigrant parents in Kenya, comes to be one of the most notoriously corrupt men in a country notorious for corruption.

10. Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief. I read a lot of Waugh this year. It was hard to pick between this one and Put Out More Flags, but I think this one wins for me by a narrow margin. Read both.

Complete List of 2008 books )

* This is rather a cheat. I bought *ahem* quite a few books toward the end of this year that I haven’t added to my list (some of them haven’t arrived). Coming soon: 2009 Big List of Shame.
amari_z: (addict)
I’ve been very, very bad with the book-buying thing. I will happily blame New York’s “Amazon law,” which recently required online retailers with New York affiliates to start charging New York sales tax. Its legality is questionable, but in the meantime it provided an excuse for me to buy a whole bunch of books at five minutes to midnight the day before it went into effect. My 2008 Big List of Shame is now updated (mostly, I think), and it is more shameful than ever. But I have been crossing things off as well (if at a much slower rate), and I’ve read some great stuff.

I don’t think I’ve done any of my periodic mini-book reviews so far this year, but that seems rather daunting at this point. Instead, I’m going to do something different, and quote a few lines from some of my recent reads. If anyone’s interest is piqued, feel free to ask for more information.

Books, Books, Books!!! )
amari_z: (calvin)
Perhaps a real updatey type post later, but now I’m waiting for something at work, and so have decided this is a lull and I will update my Big List of Shame. It’s a little sad to delete all the books I've read, since they show progress amidst the madness (I had reached equilibrium between the read and unread tally at the end of the year). But a new year seems like a good time to clean it up, and I've gone on a mini buying spree recently--and I'm eyeing more. (Stop that!) I don’t think I’ve even added everything I purchased. ^^; Perhaps the sheer numbers here will have some impact on me, considering I have a few more books on this list than the total number of books I remember reading last year.

Big List of Shame 2008 )
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
Lj and I have only been nodding acquaintances recently, but I compiled this a while ago, yet didn't posted it because it scares me—as it should. There have been three apparently irresistible sales at internet sites I frequent, and I'm afraid I have no will power—and the busier I am at work, the less restraint I have. I've also combined my two previous lists, which go back to late 2005. As per previous practice, "candy" books not included, and this doesn't include books I've read that I acquired pre-shame list. But we won’t talk about the ratio of book read to books bought.

Big List of Shame )

Okay, no more book buying. I’m so serious.
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
I returned from my weekend away to find five packages waiting for me. Hurrah, right? But it bought home (hehe, get it?) to me that I've been a little--shall we say permissive in my recent book purchasing. So in an effort to change my behavior through those most effective of teachers, shame and guilt, I've decided to make myself compile a list of what I've bought over the last few months. Note that the list does not include manga, which I also buy with great enthusiasm, but somehow seem to lack in time to read . . . .

Anyway, I'm hoping that each time I'm ready to click that buy button at amazon (damn you, amazon prime free trial) I'll make myself review this list. I don't know if it'll stop me, but it's worth a try.

And anyone out there who wants to ridicule me, tell me I'm disturbed, or otherwise let me know they're gawping, please do, it might help. If, on the other hand, you're pshwing, thinking, that's nothing, you should see what I bought, please let me know that as well, because, well, validation of my bad habits is far better than trying to restrain myself . : )

The List )

And btw, I'm not even reading any of these books right now. I'm rereading the Iliad, which is going to take me a while. So really, no need for more reading material, right? But I really really want this.

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