Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Books Have You NOT Read This Year?

I was hanging out on Twitter the other night and one of the topics making the rounds through my bookish tweeps was this: What book haven't you read, that you wish you had read, in 2009? As a follow-up, is it possible to fit it in this last month of the year?

Some of the titles I saw from various folks included Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. For those of you who said Cutting for Stone is your unread regret- read it now or we're not friends anymore. Okay, just kidding. Seriously, I loved that book. Loved. Read it, please. For me.

My pick? Probably A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore. I've been a fan of her short stories for years, and I kept seeing it around, I kept hearing about it- and hearing wonderful things, from people whose taste I trust as guides for my own- but I haven't picked it up yet, although I probably will get it when it comes out in paperback.

Am I going to get to it this year? Probably not. I have a lengthy list of books to read for review, and I rarely buy hardcovers, even as a librarian/blogger with the pressure I feel to stay current on fiction. I buy them more often than I used to- I used to only buy hardcovers by my top three or four favorite authors- A.S. Byatt, Margaret Atwood and the like- but it's still unusual. And I still almost never get to them right away.

Of the books currently in my TBR pile, I think I would really like to read Songs for the Butcher's Daughter, by Peter Manseau, because a big part of it is about a Catholic man working in a Jewish library- the only representation I've seen yet in fiction of someone like me who does what I do. How can I not read this book? I think I need to resolve to make time for this!

What about you? What's your haven't-read regret of 2009? Is there hope, or is it a lost cause?

37 comments:

Melissa said...

I haven't read The Help yet (*ducks*). I've heard great, great things about it but haven't gotten around to reading it yet (the TBR stack is sooooo big)

silverfysh said...

Same here -- I wish I'd read Lorrie Moore's new book [after a decade!]. I've been a fan of her short stories for the longest time. But I haven't seen a copy here in my country [I could always stretch the budget for some Lorrie Moore.;p]

What I did read and not finish was Olive Kitteridge. The stories were beautifully written, but as a whole, were just not compelling enough for me. I don't know. :(

- Sasha
Sasha & The Silverfish

Lenore said...

There could be about 50 books on this list for me....

I finally did read THE HELP though, which I kept putting off because of its length. But it read like a much shorter book - so compelling!

farmlanebooks said...

Cutting for Stone is the book I'd most like to read, also The Housekeeper and the Professor. I don't think I'll be able to get them this year - have to wait until they come out in paperback. Hopefully they'll only improve with a bit of a delay to build up my excitement.

JoAnn said...

Just got one of those Border's coupons in my email this morning, and I do plan to hit the mall today...maybe Cutting for Stone will come home with me. I really do want to read it!

Ann Kingman said...

I have 2 books on that list, and sadly, I own them both but I know I won't get to them this year. The first is AWAIT YOUR REPLY by Dan Chaon, which almost all of my bookseller friends have read and loved. The second is LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann, which is also much-loved by friends and also own the National Book Award.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Oh, man there are so many books from 2009 that I haven't had a chance to read yet! I really want to read Wolf Hall and Cutting for stone. Maybe in 2010 :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I also have Songs for the Butcher's Daughter on my wish list! I'd like to read City and the Cities too - waiting for the paperback version!

katie said...

Great idea for discussion!

I've not yet read The Help, like many of the other commenters. I also didn't get to Her Fearful Symmetry.

But, thanks to the new book group I joined I have re-read Catcher in the Rye!

wordlily said...

The Help tops my list of not-reads, unfortunately. (I've requested it from the library; I'm 8th on the list. I probably won't get it read this year, unfortunately.) Wolf Hall waits patiently on my shelf.

I have read Cutting for Stone, and I agree, it's definitely a great book.

Yes, you definitely need to carve out time to read the book about a person in the same situation as you! Sounds very interesting.

caite said...

Read The Help...read Cutting for Stone...even just read The Hunger Games (my review, the last review of it that may ever be posted, I am that late, will be up tomorrow).

I agree with Lenore that my list of books I wish I had read is very long. Because there are so many great books out there.
But see, that is the wonderful thing about books. They have no deadline. They will be as wonderful...or as disappointing...a year, or 100 years from now as they are today.

Books are timeless.
Just another reason that I love them.

jewwishes said...

Yes, you must read Songs for the Butcher's Daughter.

I haven't read so many books, yet, too many to mention. LOL

Marie said...

Melissa- I passed on THE HELP but I'd love to know what you think of it :-)

Silverfysh, oh no! I hope you can get a copy of it soon.

Farmlane-yes, wait for the paperback in January. I'm glad it's coming out soon!

Ann- those two are #2 & #3 on my unread regret list.

Bookshelf- they are both so worth it!!

Caite, Lorri- yes! :-)

Vasilly said...

I cannot wait to get my hands on Stitches by David Small. Legend of a Suicide by David Vann is on my list since I just read a great interview of him at dovegreyreader. Let the Great World Spin is also on my list along with Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

Kathleen said...

I regret not finishing The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It was the pick of my book club and I had about 100 pages to go when we had our meeting. I found out about the ending and couldn't bear to finish it! But I plan to reread in the future.

bermudaonion said...

The Help and The Hunger Games for sure! There's just not enough time - I wish I could go without sleep.

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

Wolf Hall burns brightly in the TBR file; I've been a fan of hers for some time, loved her last, and pounce on her essays in London and New York reviews of books, but another fire burns brighter, at the moment, a man I consider the D.H. Lawrence of American letters, the late Leslie A. Fiedler, a critic who stood criticism on its arse.

Having a weekly review column to do doesn't help, but Hilary is definite for 2010.

Jenny Girl said...

No regrets per say, but I do have Hunger Games form the library, and I plan on getting to it before the 31st.
Never heard of the other book you mentioned. I'll go check that out.

Esme said...

CUtting for Stone and The Hunger Games are two books I want to read.

Amy said...

I STILL haven't read CUTTING FOR STONE even though I own it! I would really love to hear your review of GATE AT THE STAIRS so I hope you get to that one soon!

-Amy
Life by Candlelight

Lenore said...

No, don't pass on THE HELP!

Diane said...

Good post topic Marie. I have (3) regrets that I have not read:

-- South of Broad; Conway
-- Sacred Hearts; Dunant
-- Hunger Games; Collins

I did love: Cutting for Stone, The Help and Songs for the Butcher's Daughter.

Marie said...

Lenore- too late, I gave away my ARC of THE HELP months ago. I tried reading it and didn't get past the first page- I don't care for books written in dialect. *shrug*

Diane-Loved SACRED HEARTS. I hope you get to that soon! :-)

Alayne said...

This is a great question, but also a very depressing one, as now I'm thinking about all the books I would have loved to get to this year. New Steve Berry, James Rollins, Audrey Niffenegger, all the rest. I am having wonderful success with Alias Grace though, love it so far!
Alayne
TheCrowdedLeaf.wordpress.com

Greg Zimmerman said...

Cool post - though it kind of made me sad thinking about all the books I haven't gotten to this year. Like you, I really want to, but I haven't read Lorrie Moore's novel either - it's still taunting me on my amazon wishlist.

Others:
Olive Kitteridge
The English Major, by Jim Harrison
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Generosity, by Richard Powers...

etc., etc.,

Florinda said...

Well, I did read The Help and The Hunger Games, so what's left :-D?

Seriously, no particular title comes to mind, but there are those books that have been in my "review copy" stack since LAST year (one reason I've cut back on taking new ones!). Then there are the books that my husband read first and then left on my nightstand for me; he's starting to think I'll never get around to reading the literary efforts of Bruce Campbell :-).

Zibilee said...

There are so many good books out there that I didn't read this year, even though I did make plans to read them. I am thinking that I need to make some time for Cutting for Stone and the Hunger Games. I also really want to get to Wolf Hall, but I'm not too sure when that will happen.

MarceJ said...

What a great discussion post. My regrets are:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Maze Runner

It took almost all year to sell me on The Hunger Games, so I have promised myself next year.

TGwtDT may get read before the year is out.

Space Station Mir said...

There are SO MANY books I wish I read this year.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The Believers by Zoe Heller

Woodsburner by John Pipkin

among many, many others.


Unfortunately, i don't own any of those, so I doubt I'll get to them before the year's out.

Marie said...

florinda- do you mean MAKE LOVE THE BRUCE CAMPBELL WAY? you HAVE to read it. It's a quick read and VERY funny! :-)

Book Oblate said...

Yes all, you must read Verghese's CUTTING FOR STONE. I cleaned off my TBR shelf: it had 73 books on it seriously. I honed it down to 44, with much regret. Fresh on the top: Barbara Kingsolver's THE LACUNA, Mary Karr's LIT, Rhoda Janzen's MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, Annette Gordon Reed's THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO, and WOLF HALL. Of the more obscure: THE TOSS OF A LEMON by Padma Viswanathan, THE GIFT by Lewis Hyde, and still needing to finish Lucia Orth's strong start, BABY JESUS PAWN SHOP. Then there's the classics...

Alexia561 said...

I'm with Lenore on this one... could list about 50 I regret not reading yet! And after reading all the comments, have added a few more titiles to my wishlist. :D

reviewsbylola said...

I'll have to check out Cutting for Stone!

suek said...

I have been thinking about this question ever since I saw the conversation on Twitter and have read most of the books mentioned already. In fact, my top books of 2009 include GATE AT THE STAIRS, LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR and LITTLE BEE(which I did not see mentioned.)These comments did make me realize that I haven't read HUNGER GAMES, so that will be my final answer. It may have to wait until 2010!

Sandra said...

I have Cuttting For Stone on reserve at the library, there's quite a waiting list. And I want to read Butcher's Daughter too. Thanks for the reminder.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Tracy Kidder wrote a new book this year, The Strength in What Remains, that I have on my shelf but haven't read yet. I wish I had gotten to it.

Carrie said...

I haven't read The Help or Cutting for Stone. I have The Help audiobook on hold at the library - just waiting my turn. Off to add Cutting for Stone. :)