Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's been a long time, sorry I left you

I won't begin the new year by apologizing or begging forgiveness but I will try to post more often as we move forward.

You'll also notice a new template for the blog that I think I like well enough to keep. We shall see.

Not long ago, I came across the list that eventually begat this blog. In 1999, I was working at a bookstore and decided to see how many books I read in a calendar year. That list, (see below) lead to making a few notes on titles, then to 'reviews', if you want to call them that, and then, annually, e-mailing the list to some friends.

Some 1999 literary highlights:

  • Remnick's Muhammad Ali bio
  • the criminally forgotten Eureka Street
  • Thom Jones best collection
  • my introduction to Brendan O'Carroll
  • Melissa Bank
  • McDonald's All Souls
  • the last time we heard from Lewis Nordan (come home, Buddy. I miss you.)
  • Blackhawk Down
  • Paco Underhill
  • Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • AND Tony Hawk's 'Round Ireland With A Fridge.
There were a lot of forgettable books, too. Some authors just faded away, authors I wonder what happened to, and a few titles I couldn't tell you a thing about now.

Trends & observations:
Irish fiction was booming; two Elvis Costello bios is silly; books by comedians don't hold up very well;
despite Y2K anxieties, I read a ton.

Coolest coincidence? I started the third book of the Henry Smart trilogy by Roddy Doyle just the other night but it began with A Star Called Henry over ten years ago.

The Mother -In-Law Diaries by Carol Dawson

Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell

King by John Berger

King of the World by David Remnick

Yes I Can by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Why Not Me? by Al Franken

Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson

Blackhawk Down by Mark Bowden

UFO’s, JFK, & Elvis by Richard Belzer

Feel This Book by Ben Stiller & Janeane Garofalo

The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman

Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine by Thom Jones

It’s The Stupidity, Stupid by Harry Shearer

My Life as a List by Linda Rosenkrantz

The Mammy by Brendan O’Carroll

For Kings and Planets by Ethan Canin

Sinatraland by Sam Kashner

Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley

Syrup by Maxx Barry

44: Dublin Made Me by Peter Sheridan

Elvis Costello by Tony Clayton-Lea

Tales From the Ballpark by Mike Shannon

Tough Jews by Rich Cohen

Cinderella Story by Bill Murray

Why We Buy by Paco Underhill

A Nixon Man by Michael Cahill

Pigskin Rabbi by Willard Manus

Popcorn by Ben Elton

All Souls: A Story of Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald

Congress of Wonders by Ed McLanahan

Loose Balls, No Strikes by Joe Morgan

Girls Guide to Hunting & Fishing by Melissa Bank

Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland

A Cure For Gravity by Joe Jackson

The Descent by Jeff Long

Hadrian’s Walls by Robert Draper

The Talk of the Town by Ardal O’Hanlon

Out of This World by Graham Swift

Bunker Man by Duncan McLean

The Thumbsucker by Walter Kirn

Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle

Boy With Loaded Gun by Lewis Nordan

Molly by Nancy J. Jones

The Chisellers by Brendan O’Carroll

Let Them All Talk: The Music of Elvis Costello by Brian Hinton

Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks

Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell

Show Me the Magic by Paul Mazursky

G-d Is My Broker by Christopher Buckley

Life Is So Good by George Dawson

No Mans Land by Greg Rucka