Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Frantic end of the year listmaking and my best non-fiction read for 2009

It's that time again when I look back over the year's reading and make best-of lists to review it for quality and suddenly get competitive with myself and make frantic year-end goals so as to achieve a certain quantity. With 49 books read this year and 2 seriously in-process, it is probably reasonable to shoot for 52 books this year - which would be an average of 1 per week. Not bad, seeing I'm earning a Ph.D. and only 3 of those books listed were for school. (I listed the school-related reading that actually involved reading a whole book that might be of some general interest but I did not list every text book or professional journal articles, which comprises most of my school reading).

As for best-of lists I will start with non-fiction, of which I read very little this year (a few are still in the works).

The Invention of Air - Steven Johnson
Children and Grief: When a Parent Dies - J. William Worden
The Music Room - by William Fiennes
The Man With the Shattered World - A. R. Luria
The Snow Geese - William Fiennes
Beautiful Shadow - Andrew Wilson
Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions - Koocher & Keith-Spiegel
Picasso and Lump: A Daschund's Odyssey - David Douglas Duncan

If I actually finished 1 of the 3 non-fiction books in the works: 3 Case Histories of Freud or Antony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin 1945, or Margaret Drabble's recent memoir, that would be a respectable 9 non-fiction books of the 52 I plan to read this year, or 17%, more than I expected.

I won't include the 3 partially read books in my consideration of this year's best non-fiction but a quick look at the list easily whittles it down to just 2 titles: The Music Room and The Invention of Air. I just re-read my initial posts on these 2 titles and my choice for best non-fiction read of 2009 goes to The Music Room by William Fiennes which I found "touching and thoughtful, indulging in the sweetness of memory but never tumbling into maudlin longing."

To come, my 2009 picks for YA fiction, mystery, perhaps a sci-fi/fantasy choice, and fiction.

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