The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Year in review

Posted on: December 15, 2007

Stolen from Dark Orpheus with slight adjustments.

Books bought/received from January 1st, 2007 to December 14th, 2007
166: 34 of these were internet freebies or sent to me by awesome on- and offline friends

Books bought/received from aforementioned that were read
37. An additional 2 were abandoned. Currently reading 4. (That was better than I expected.)

Books completed in 2007
77 including graphic novels and anthologies. Before the year is out I expect I may reach 80.

Authors whom I read multiple titles
Roger Mais (2), John McGahern (2), *Claude McKay (2), Alan Garner (2), Madeline Hunter (2), Emma Holly (2), **Chris Abani (2), Patricia A. McKillip (3), A.S. Byatt (2). Total: 9. (I’m a bit disappointed in my tally for McGahern and I had wanted to read at least one more Hollinghurst this year.)

Authors I read for the first time
37: This excludes authors published in anthologies

Favourite “discoveries” (excluding Western canon authors)

  • David Treuer
  • Mercé Rodoreda
  • David Sedaris
  • John McGahern
  • Gabriel Josipovici
  • Natsume Soseki

(Reading Sorrentino was an exercise in pleasurable sado-masochism. I can’t name him a “favourite”. Yes, I’m going to buy all of his books (eventually).)

Books re-read
2: Jane Eyre and The Lord of the Rings. (This excludes books I re-read immediately after the first round eg. Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick; that would increase the total to 5.)

Non-fiction titles read
3: excludes school assigned texts. Still (technically) reading 2.

Authors outside of the US & UK
Nigeria – 2 (Abani and Adichie currently reside in the US, but they still count, right?)
Jamaica – 3 (woo!)
Italy – 1
Turkey – 1
France – 2
Japan – 1
Canada – 2
Spain – 1
Total: 13 (ouch)

Notable reads of 2007

  • Amongst Women – John McGahern
  • Goldberg: Variations – Gabriel Josipovici
  • Mulligan Stew – Gilbert Sorrentino
  • Winter Rose – Patricia A. McKillip
  • The Flight Series: Volumes 2, 3 & 4
  • The Wedding Jester – Steve Stern
  • My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk, translated by Erdag M. Göknar
  • House Rules – Heather Lewis
  • The Translation of Dr. Apelles: A Love Story – David Treuer
  • My Christina and Other Stories – Mercé Rodoreda,translated by David Rosenthal
  • Paradise Lost – John Milton
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion – Ford Madox Ford
  • Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  • Kokoro – Natsume Soseki, translated by Edwin McClellen
  • Demons and the Making of the Monk – David Brakke (I haven’t finished it yet but it’s that good.)

Honourable Mentions

  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Black Lightning – Roger Mais
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy – Jonathan Stroud
  • The Land of Spices – Kate O’Brien
  • The Well of Loneliness – Radclyffe Hall
  • Averno – Louise Glück
  • The Ides of March – Thornton Wilder

Edit: On a weakly related note, have any of you noticed how often NYRB Classic books have popped up on “Best of…” lists on both sides of the Atlantic? I’ve only maintained a prolonged interest in The MillionsYear in Reading but if I the impulse occurs and lasts long enough I may make a note of the different lists and which titles were mentioned. Off the cuff  I’d say that the most popular one was Novels in Three Lines by Félix Fénéon, translated by Luc Sante.

To push against chain stores’ battered reputations the local Chapters consistently beats the independent at stocking new and not so new books from the line. The latest I came across was Dante: Poet of the Secular World by Eric Auerbach. The search on the website led me to the imprint’s own edition of Dante’s Inferno, translated by Ciaran Carson. Now I really am stumped about which translation to buy.
*I’m in the middle of his Selected Poems

**Currently reading The Virgin of Flames


14 Responses to "Year in review"

‘My Name is Red’ has just reached the top of the TBR pile, so I’m glad to read that you enjoyed it. There was an interview with him in last Saturday’s Times which made me go and pull it out from lower down and insert it in the heights. Now I know you rate it, I’m really looking forward to it.

It has one of the best opening lines (heck, opening paragraphs) I’ve ever come across. It’s a dense, ambitious, encompassing, difficult, entertaining…I’m running out of adjectives. Not that it’s perfect, or even nearly so, but I don’t read many authors that practically fill the reader’s basket (where did that come from? it’s early) so generously. Hope you like it, since one can never be sure.

Very interesting year in review. I should really start working on mine!

I’ve heard great stuff about the Ciaran Carson’s translation of Dante. That would be the version I would personally start with, although I hope to be able to read Italian fluently one day.

I love your list of Notable Reads. And Honorable Mentions. 🙂

Oh, and I just started on the first story story in Mercé Rodoreda’s “My Christina and Other Stories”.

Sounds like you had a great reading year — lots of good stuff on your lists, and stuff I’d like to try (Amongst Women, House Rules, The Well of Loneliness).

Thanks, Marg, be sure to put yours up before the hectic holiday season overwhelms. 🙂

Dark Orpheus, ah ha. While I have high hopes for being fluent in Spanish, Italian will forever remain beyond me.

Ooo, so happy to hear you’re trying to the Rodoreda! I hope you’re not disappointed. Feel free to tell me a little bit of your reaction to the first story.

Dorothy, thanks, although I think 2006 was a trifle richer. I’d love to read what you think of the Heather Lewis.

[…] 8. Bookgirl’s Nightstand 9. Of Books and Bikes 10. Only Books all the Time 11. Semicolon 12. The Book of My Numberless Dreams 13. Dark Orpheus 14. The Public, The Private, and Everything in Between 15. This Delicious Solitude […]

Great year in review post. You certainly make me feel better out my percentage of new books acquired vs. ones that I completed. 🙂

As a huge Patricia A. McKillip fan, and knowing your disappointment with a couple of her books, I would encourage you to not write her off. Not sure that I would agree with the way you felt about Alphabet of Thorns and the other one you were disappointed with, but that said one of my favorite books of hers is Ombria in Shadow. It has elements similar to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, another favorite of mine, although is set in more of a medieval fantasy setting. I also really enjoyed In the Forests of Serre. Her short story book, Harrowing the Dragon, had some great stories and some so-so ones, as short story books are wont to have. She isn’t a one hit wonder, but she is a wonder. 🙂

One of the weirdest things for me this year was the fact that, with no planning on my part, I had no rereads this year. That is odd. It has been a loooong time since I’ve turned around and reread a book immediately after finishing it, but I usually pull out old favorites and read them during the year. I did read sections of The Silmarillion and The Return of the King both to myself and out loud to my wife and daughter after our annual viewing of the extended editions of the trilogy, but I didn’t read the entire books. Odd.

Carl V, I haven’t completely given up on her since one of her first books… Riddle-Master, I think it’s called, crops up often as a favourite. I just won’t be chasing after her the way I was this year. I will keep your recommendations in mind too.

Unlike you, it’s odder that I have any rereads at all, since it’s something I almost never do, except for romance novels and Tolkien books. It’s blogging that’s really pushed me to do it, funnily enough.

Thanks for linking to my post!

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