For the past two years, I’ve made it my goal to read at least 50 books each year. You can keep track of my 50 book challenge here, and read my reviews of each book as they are posted. I will keep this page up-to-date with summaries and star-ratings.
Click through to see what I read in 2009.
Fellow bookworms, feel free to friend me on GoodReads!
What I read in 2010
47. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
46. You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs
45. Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
44. Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
43. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz – Review
Its Spanish flavour gives it a real kick and Diaz’s prose is fresh and oftentimes exhilarating. If you read one book I recommend — please, make it this one.
42. Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
41. Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse – Review
Predictable as ever, there isn’t much to get out of this book; but it’s as fun and lexically brilliant as only Wodehouse can be.
40. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – Review
Readable but flawed novel with a distracting lack of internal logic.
39. Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
The last hurrah from the King of the Beats. Intriguing and oftentimes chilling. Made me homesick for California.
38. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Wistful and often dark tales of the jazz age with Fitzgerald’s signature dreamy prose. Some amazing stories, some less so.
37. The Beach by Alex Garland – Review
A fresh, engaging and absorbing read with well-drawn characters and great imagery.
36. The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry – Review
A lavishly written memoir that’s equal parts entertaining and tiresome.
35. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl – Review
A romp in the truest sense of the word. Another hilarious, engaging, and deliciously filthy tale from the inimitable Roald Dahl.
34. Mulliner Nights by P.G. Wodehouse – Review
★★★★★ – Whether you’re new to the wonderful Wodehouse or an existing admirer, Mulliner Nights is a simple, fun read.
33. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – Review
This is the Sedaris that Americans know, love, and recommended time and time again. If you’re new to Sedaris, this is an excellent place to begin.
32. My Wonderful World of Slapstick by Buster Keaton – Review
My Wonderful World of Slapstick is an excellent insight into the life of a great filmmaker, whose humble, take-it-from-me-kid attitude keeps the tone light and the anecdotes pleasing. A great read for all silent film fans and autobiography-nerds.
31. My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin – Review
Not a masterpiece, but an excellent insight into one of the world’s most famous figures. Composed with humour and wit, it’s an interesting read for all fans of Charlie Chaplin.
30. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene – Review
Intriguing, but never quite entertaining, Our Man in Havana; a sleepy espionage tale for dads.
29. Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames – Review
Amusing and oftentimes fantastic, it can be a little overzealous at times, but well worth a read.
28. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley – Review
A “humorous” memoir.
27. Summer Crossing by Truman Capote – Review
A high-society New York teen’s long, hot New York summer romance. Short yet satisfying.
26. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson – Review
A drug-addled frenzy of craziness. Expertly written but skimps on the plot.
25. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler – Review
Chandler’s hardest-boiled noir and popularly considered his best book. I’m not entirely convinced.
24. Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl – Review
An incomparably enjoyable collection of short stories (for adults), from the man who brought us whizzpopping and frumpets. A joy to read.
23. Perfume by Patrick Süskind – Review
The aromatic tale of an outcast whose olfactory talents lead him to become a perfumer… and a murderer. A modern classic.
22. The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway
Often hailed as the book that defined Hemingway’s career, it has a certain brilliance. Marauding and character-driven, it points out the repetitive nature of human existence. Lauded as an excellent satire, however, I can’t say I fully understood.
21. Old School by Tobias Wolff
Although it incorporates many things I love in a novel (set in a stuffy 1950s-60s boarding school with literary references & snooty banter), this story of high-schoolers using creative writing to battle over an audience with their favourite authors proved to be a disappointment.
20. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A beautiful memoir that began with letters between New Yorker Hanff and the staff of Marks and Cross bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road. A sampling of their correspondence is followed by Hanff’s personal diary of events when she finally makes it to London.
19. Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
Essays from Wallace, a man so intelligent it will make your hair curl. Attending an annual lobster festival, on the campaign trail with McCain, exploring midwest life after 9/11 and investigating the adult film convention, his reportage has it covered.
18. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
A self-explanatory series of short stories. Engaging snippets from matadors to alcoholics, hired hands, gangsters, and gunmen. A quick read.
17. The Liar by Stephen Fry
An enjoyable novel that borrows heavily from his high school and university life.
16. You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
Two friends, mourning the loss of their friend Jack, take a week-long break to travel the world and distribute a large sum of money to those less fortunate. Narrated with inimitable Eggers style, and colourful visits to Marrakesh and the Baltic, it’s a challenging read. Ultimately rather unsatisfying.
15. Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs
An uproarious satirical novel about the lives of TV-shopping network personalities and their politics. Hilarious and bold.
14. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Self-explanatory. If you’ve seen Food, Inc., you’ve heard it all. Some nice anecdotes of Foer’s personal life, but not enough to smother his smugness.
13. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green
The first collaboration between Young Adult authors Leviathan and Green and, one hopes, not the last. Focuses on two teen boys in Chicago, both named Will Grayson, and how their crossing of paths changes their lives.
12. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
The unfinished novellas of an unpublished French novelist who perished at Auschwitz. Written and set during the Nazi invasion and occupation of France, it follows a number of characters affected by the war. An excellent read.
11. The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
A charming tale of a man who ages backwards. Not at all reminiscent of Benjamin Button, this is a dusty, nostalgic story with plenty of sweetness and sorrow. Did not quite grab me, however.
10. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
The full-length memoir of Burroughs’ childhood. Excellent, hilarious, and at times grotesque, I read the entirety of this book on a journey from the UK to California. Engaging.
9. For Esme ~ With Love & Squalor (U.S. title: Nine Stories) by J.D. Salinger
A beautiful collection of short stories from the late J.D. Salinger.
8. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
A short graphic novel from the writer of Persepolis. An episodic memoir exploring the relationships between the Iranian women in her family.
7. Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs
More humorous memoirs from the charmingly neurotic, gay, recovering alcoholic literary genius.
6. It’s Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive by Mark Kermode
A well-written, film-themed memoir from Britain’s favourite film critic. All the more enjoyable in hindsight, having run into him on a plane a week after finishing this book.
5. Straight Man by Richard Russo
A middle-aged professor’s caper through the hurdles of a mid-life crisis. Many a duck brandished, but a little too slow and meandering.
4. Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry
An excellent accompaniment to his BBC TV series, Fry visits all 50 states of America. Short but sweet summaries that provide context and background to each episode.
3. Yes Man by Danny Wallace
Danny Wallace makes it his goal to say “yes” to every question, opportunity, and offer. An example of my stubborn refusal to put down a book.
2. Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs
Hilarious essay memoirs from Augusten Burroughs – the underrated genre-antagonist of David Sedaris – but better.
1. Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace
Two writer-comedian friends go on a mission to find every man on earth named Dave Gorman. Average.