Tuesday, December 22, 2009

List Guilt

Every time I run across any kind of "Best" book list, it makes me feel bad. No matter how much I read, I never have read nearly enough of the books on the list to make me feel better about myself as a reader. This past weekend, Kane Webb's recurring "Best Books" article appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He admits that his list is "wholly objective" and "highly eccentric." Basically, he asks avid readers among his acquaintances this question: "What was the best book you read in 2009--and why? It doesn't have to be new, just new to you. Re-readings don't count, unless you can make a great case." Here's the list:

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West Hampton Sides
Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood Jeffrey Marx
The Road to Serfdom Friedrich Hayek
Oliver Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout
Finn Family Moomintroll Tove Jansson
Zeitoun Dave Eggers
Revolutionary Road Richard Yates
Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer's Life Michael Greenberg
Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander In Chief James M. McPherson
Huge James W. Fuerst

How'd I do? Well, I did read Revolutionary Road this year. And I bought Olive Kitteridge and am planning on reading it sometime this Spring. I'm consoling myself by remembering that Webb did say it was a eccentric group of readers and by the fact that Part II of the list is coming soon. Maybe all the books I've read are on there.

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