One of my goals for 2009 was to read one book per week. I came up slightly short and have decided to pursue it as a goal again this year. Here are some highlights of last year's reading:
- Norse Code - Greg van Eekhout - Okay, I'm a little biased. As I've told Greg, I feel like a happy step-mother to this book ("I couldn't be more proud if I'd given birth to you myself"), so holding Norse Code in my hands was arguably the best moment of 2009. As someone who counts "Viking Civilization and Literature" as one of my favorite undergrad courses, I admire the skill with which the Norse mythology was interwoven with the entertaining story. A fun read!
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie - A young adult (YA) book to be appreciated by all ages, this is a beautifully written depiction of contemporary life on a northwestern reservation. If you haven't read it, you're missing out.
- Unwind - Neal Shusterman - Also a YA book, this is an unflinching look at a near-future world where the pro-lifers have insured that all children must be born, but don't necessarily make it to adulthood. This book started me reading Shusterman's back catalog... I've enjoyed all that I've read so far.
- In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I should listen to the man, as I enjoyed and agreed so much with this book.
- Nation - Terry Pratchett - Look, I'm a bad geek sometimes. This is the only Pratchett novel I've read. Aimed at a YA audience, this book tells the coming of age stories of survivors of a tsunami and what it means to be bonded together as a nation. One of my favorite books of all time, I can't recommend it highly enough.
- Drood - Dan Simmons - Wilkie Collins as a protagonist, about the last days of Charles Dickens' life... not the most obvious choice for a novel, but Simmons makes it work. It's bizarre, but in a good way, with the London of that day being grittily rendered.
- A Few Seconds of Panic - Stefan Fatsis - A sportswriter takes on the task of becoming an NFL kicker and goes to Broncos' training camp. If you love football, this is a great inside look.
- The True Meaning of Smekday - Adam Rex - Middle-grade, but reads at the upper end of that age range, this book is the story of a girl on a cross-country trip in alien-invaded America. Lots of humor and lots of insight on prejudice and what it means to be human.
- When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead - A middle-grade book set in 1970s New York, this novel looks at relationships and individuality. And it's science fiction, really. As an adult reader, I felt like I saw where the story was going to go, but it was so compellingly written, I couldn't put it down.
You might notice a lot of middle-grade and YA books on that list. It isn't that I don't read books aimed at adults (I do!), but there is a lot to love in the childrens' section of the bookstore these days. Here's to more great reading in 2010!