Monday, December 14, 2009

Books of a Year 2009 - The Second Rank

I'm waiting on posting my actual books of the year, because I want to do a lot of reading over the break and I don't know whether I'll read something that merits a place on the list. I do have a list in the making, though, and in that process I've come up with another list, of books that have faded from my memory a little (which is why they're not on the best books list), but which I wanted to remind myself of because I did like them very much.

On Borrowed Wings, by Chandra Prasad, was the story of a girl who dresses as her brother to go to Yale in 1936. I'd forgotten this, but from my post about it in August, it dealt very interestingly with questions of gender.

Marking Time was the sequel to The Light Years, by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Both books were quite excellent, but I especially liked how Marking Time expanded on what we already knew about the characters and made them all even more interesting. It was, also, a well-done view of World War II. I originally posted about it here. I need to get around to reading the rest of this series.

Nameless, by Sam Starbuck, is very near and dear to me, being one of the 2,500 the dedication mentions. As I said in my original post, it was originally published online, giving readers the opportunity to critique and improve it. It is a very self-contained, lovely story. I need to reread it some time.

The Story of a Marriage
, by Andrew Sean Greer, cropped up by chance in February (which was a very long time ago, it seems). According to my review of it, it was very good at evoking images, of San Francisco especially, and associations, and I found it slotting very nicely into my own life and thoughts at the time I read it.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, was one I got for my birthday with no previous knowledge of it. It's translated from French, and conveyed very interestingly both French and Japanese ways of looking at the world. All the characters were quite interesting, too. My original post was here.

Looking back on what I read this year, I find there are definite trends. All of these books have somewhat of a mood in common. And Marking Time was World War II, On Borrowed Wings pre-war, and The Story of a Marriage post-war. I've read a lot of other books set in that era this year, too.

I wonder what sorts of trends I'll see in my reading next year.

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