The rest of the list

The last portion of 2009 saw 6 further books added to my ‘Read in 2009’ list bringing the final total to 56. For the first 50, see here.

Following the pattern of my previous post, I note that of these 6 books:

  • 2 were borrowed from the public library
  • 2 have Canadian authors
  • 3 are by authors who appear elsewhere on the 2009 list
  • 1 was read aloud by my wife and me
  • 1 is non-fiction

The remaining 6 books read in 2009 are:

  • Burnard, Bonnie. Casino & Other Stories
  • Gaiman, Neil. Stardust
  • Lamarque, Peter. The Philosophy of Literature
  • Tyler, Anne. Digging to America
  • Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  • Crummey, Michael. River Thieves

Although all of these books were well worth reading, the star amongst them is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which is a great read and also a great read-aloud book.

Already working on 2010 which I anticipate will be at least as varied and exciting as 2009. Good reading to you!

First snow shoveling

It isn’t exactly the first day of snow this year. We’ve had a few dustings. But it is the first day I have had to go out and shovel the walk. Winter is finally here. Almost a full month later than last year.

I expect lots of early morning winter exercise ahead. I’m looking forward to it. Shovelling the walk in front of your house is the traditional way Canadians meet their neighbours. Everyone says hello and has a comment about the weather. Our shared experience.
And of course the other good news is that I will not have to bother about the garden again now until the Spring.

And that brings up his 50…

The language of cricket, I miss it so, or at least Test Match Special. In this instance the subject line is slightly misleading because the 50 in question is actually books. I set myself a goal at the beginning of 2009 to read at least 50 books this year. I have just completed my 50th. Probably not time left in 2009 for a century, though I do have a shelf of books queued up waiting to be read so I might as well press on. 50, however, is a good point to pause and review. The complete list, in the order that I read them, can be found at the end of this post.

What can I discern from this list of books?

  • 9 were borrowed from our public library
  • 16 have Canadian authors
  • 3 were chosen due to personal recommendations from friends
  • 9 authors have multiple books on this list
  • 1 book was being reread (a surprisingly low number, I usually reread more books than that during a year)
  • 5 were read aloud by my wife and me
  • 6 are non-fiction

In the mix there are some great reads, some light fun reads, some serious reads, and probably only one dud.

First 50 books read in 2009:

  • Chabon, Michael. Wonder Boys
  • Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why
  • Prose, Francine. Reading Like a Writer
  • Gaiman, Neil. American Gods
  • Gaiman, Neil and Terry Prachett. Good Omens
  • Horowitz, Anthony. Stormbreaker
  • Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair
  • Moore, Christopher. A Dirty Job
  • Russo, Richard. Empire Falls
  • Vanderhaeghe, Guy. The Englishman’s Boy
  • Wright, Richard B. October
  • Prose, Francine. Goldengrove
  • Fforde, Jasper. Lost in a Good Book
  • Chabon, Michael. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
  • Le Guin, Ursula K. Powers
  • Austen, Jane and Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes
  • Gessen, Keith. All the Sad Young Literary Men
  • Fforde, Jasper. The Well of Lost Plots
  • Furey, Leo. The Long Run
  • Clarke, Brock. An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England
  • Wright, Richard B. Clara Callan
  • Gallant, Mavis. A Fairly Good Time
  • Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • Mosley, Walter. This Year You Write Your Novel
  • Russo, Richard. Bridge of Sighs
  • Montgomery, Lucy Maud. Anne of Green Gables
  • Chabon, Michael. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
  • O’Neill, Heather. Lullabies for Little Criminals
  • Toews, Miriam. The Flying Troutmans
  • Prose, Francine. The Peaceable Kingdom
  • Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping
  • Fforde, Jasper. Something Rotten
  • Baker, Nicholson. The Anthologist
  • Chabon, Michael. Gentlemen of the Road
  • Chabon, Michael. A Model World and Other Stories
  • Baker, Nicholson. The Mezzanine
  • Saul, John Ralston. A Fair Country
  • Hay, Elizabeth. Late Nights on Air
  • Chabon, Michael. Maps and Legends
  • Barbery, Muriel. Gourmet Rhapsody
  • Baker, Nicholson. The Everlasting Story of Nory
  • McEwan, Ian. On Chesil Beach
  • Montgomery, Lucy Maud. Anne of Avonlea
  • Chabon, Michael. Manhood for Amateurs
  • Coupland, Douglas. Generation A
  • Barbery, Muriel. The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • Bicknell, Jeanette. Why Music Moves Us
  • Crummey, Michael. Flesh and Blood
  • Strube, Cordelia. Lemon

Just another Karmic Koala

The other day, the same day it was released, I downloaded Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala, and did a clean install on the Linux partition of my laptop. As you may notice if you follow this blog, I tend to do this every time there is a new Ubuntu release. It is so uneventful now (in terms of trauma) that I almost failed to mention it here. But I think it does merit mention, yet again, how refreshingly simple Ubuntu is to install and use. Each time I discover new aspects of Ubuntu, perhaps they are new features but since I don’t keep up with Ubuntu chatter I’m not aware of when they were added to the mix. And I learn one or two new things each time. For example, this time I learned how to get my Linux install to handle those region 1 and region 2 DVDs, of which I have many (the curse of starting one’s collection whilst living in the UK and then moving back to Canada), and it was so easy. Strictly speaking I don’t need Ubuntu to do that for me – we have a Windows desktop (now somewhat aging) on which we watch films. And I am not keen to support these restrictive proprietary formats even tacitly. But it is nice to know that if I had to, I could play the DVDs that I have purchased from reputable commercial outlets on the operating system of my choice.

For the moment I remain with a dual-boot Dell laptop running Windows Vista and, now, Ubuntu 9.10. Increasingly it seems less and less necessary for me to preserve my Windows partition. Perhaps when I find that I spend nearly 100% of my computing time in Ubuntu I will simply forget that I have Windows on this machine as well. And that may be the right time to jettison it altogether. Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy each new release of Ubuntu and, as ever, look forward to the next one.

Public reading – Words Worth Hearing

Two nights in Waterloo, two nights of public readings. The second, hosted by Words Worth Books, featured three well-known writers: Catherine Gildiner, Michael Crummey, and Karen Connelly. It was a highly entertaining evening well worth the $10 admission. All three are brilliant public speakers. Connelly’s politically charged memoir of love on the Burmese border was as delicately sculpted as it was heartfelt. Gildiner was hilarious with tales of box ‘media’ stores in the USA where she has to explain to staff what a ‘reading’ is and many practised insights into the nature of the disaster that is the teenage female personality. Crummey was charming and his tale of Newfoundland ‘way, way back’ brought the evening to a rousing close. After such an evening, I cannot imagine anyone who would not be delighted to read any book by one of these writers.