Books I've Read 2011

A Listmania! list by B. Black "bblack17" (California)
(REAL NAME)   
The list author says: "I'll update this list as the year goes by"
Hygiene and the Assassin
1.  Hygiene and the Assassin by Amélie Nothomb
The list author says:
  "Masterful dialogue, ever-increasing tension, bizarre otherworldly characters.  You know about all of these if you've read Nothomb before.  This is her earliest, maybe not her best, but you can see her developing themes she will often return to.  Her writing is already beautifully polished."
$10.33   Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

The Driver's Seat (New Directions Bibelot)
2.  The Driver's Seat (New Directions Bibelot) by Muriel Spark
The list author says:
  "An absolutely astounding book.  Lise is the most frightening character I have ever encountered in literature.  A story of a woman who knows what she wants and how she gets it..."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer
3.  Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer by Jade Walker
The list author says:
  "Tiny storylets.  Brain candy."
$10.18   Used & New from: $1.49
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

My Ten Years in a Quandary
4.  My Ten Years in a Quandary by Robert Benchley
The list author says:
  "Benchley is almost forgotten and it's a shame, because he's one of the funniest writers I've encountered.  Timeless ruminations on the annoyances of everyday life.  Hilarious befuddlement with the world around us."
Used & New from: $3.58
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story (New York Review Books Classics)
5.  The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story (New York Review Books Classics) by Glenway Wescott
The list author says:
  "A study in tensions--mainly between a man, his wife, and their creepy hawk.  Hawkward."
$11.71   Used & New from: $3.95
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Despair
6.  Despair by Vladimir Nabokov
The list author says:
  "An interesting idea and a strange, maniacal Nabokovian plot, but overall this one fell flat for me.  I've loved every other Nabokov but this one--something about the narrator's endless ruminations inside his own head got tiresome after a while."
$13.79   Used & New from: $2.85
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Snow White
7.  Snow White by Donald Barthelme
The list author says:
  "Starts out interesting, then loses control.  Barthelme can be very cryptic.  Postmodern take on fairy tale."
$12.82   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Lolita
8.  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The list author says:
  "What more can be said about this book?  Flawless prose, unforgettable characters, and some truly heartbreaking unexpected turns in the way the narrator experiences the world.  It's too hard to describe its greatness; just read it."
$9.76   Used & New from: $2.88
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (962 customer reviews)

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (New Directions Paperbook)
9.  The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (New Directions Paperbook) by Vladimir Nabokov
The list author says:
  "My favorite Nabokov after Pale Fire.  Typical sly Nabokovian games are largely absent.  Instead this is a gentle, almost loving story of a man in search of his brother.  Feels like Nabokov's most personal work."
$11.31   Used & New from: $6.30
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

This Is a Book
10.  This Is a Book by Demetri Martin
The list author says:
  "A lot of stand-up comics don't translate well on the page.  Then there's Demetri Martin.  His brand of brainy humor excels in print--he's doing the kind of humor writing I wish there were more of lately--literate, unexpected, and above all well-written."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)

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They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Serpent's Tail Classics)
11.  They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Serpent's Tail Classics) by Horace McCoy
The list author says:
  "A strange book about a dance marathon that ends in bloodshed.  Sets your toes to tappin' and your guns to blazin'."
$12.20   Used & New from: $5.54
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

The Stranger Next Door: A Novel
12.  The Stranger Next Door: A Novel by Carol Volk
The list author says:
  "Previously read.  See my list for 2009, v.1"
Used & New from: $2.87
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook
13.  Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook by Norman Feuti
The list author says:
  "This is the year I finally left retail, and I'm never looking back.  If you've ever been in that hell, this book will make you laugh and cringe with recognition.  Futility is much funnier when you're not embroiled in it."
Used & New from: $1.78
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Dubliners (Norton Critical Editions)
14.  Dubliners (Norton Critical Editions) by James Joyce
The list author says:
  "It's Joyce!  Of course it's good.  Everyone loves "The Dead" but my favorite is "The Sisters," or maybe "A Painful Case.""
$14.73   Used & New from: $3.10
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (336 customer reviews)

The Twits
15.  The Twits by Roald Dahl
The list author says:
  "One of my favorite Dahls.  I love it for its lack of anything remotely edifying for children:  it's basically the story of two horrible people who are horrible to each other and subsequently suffer a gruesome demise.  Nothing else like it in children's lit!"
$7.99   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Love That Dog
16.  Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
The list author says:
  "Well done sensitive kid's lit.  Give it to the children, teach 'em poetry is cool."
$14.40   Used & New from: $0.32
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)

American Born Chinese
17.  American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The list author says:
  "Sort of your typical first-generation-coming-to-terms-with-conflicting-culture thing.  Doesn't stand out from the pack significantly in my mind.  Some neat folk tales though."
$8.16   Used & New from: $3.18
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)

The Mezzanine
18.  The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
The list author says:
  "A man dwells on details while on an errand to buy shoelaces.  A lovely, joyful book which will make you love life through its every little annoyance and the excruciating details of human activity.  Plus, it's something of a history of the 20th century through straws, hand dryers, shopping bags, etc."
$11.83   Used & New from: $4.09
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat
19.  The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat by Ryszard Kapuscinski
The list author says:
  "This book blew me away.  The story of the demise of an autocrat, the emperor of Ethiopia, told through his closest servants and lackeys.  The narrative voice is persistently praiseworthy, but you can hear the cries of the oppressed through the propaganda rhetoric.  A story about corruption and power, and how tyranny is ultimately doomed."
$11.79   Used & New from: $3.44
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (New York Review Books Classics)
20.  A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (New York Review Books Classics) by Ralph Manheim
The list author says:
  "An exploration of the life of the author's mother after her suicide.  The story is told in a calculatedly cold manner, which sometimes lost me--many sentences composed entirely of abstractions.  Towards the end, this facade crumbles, and only then is it truly touching."
Used & New from: $1.00
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Bartleby & Co.
21.  Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas
The list author says:
  "A book about writers who give up writing.  Mixes historical figures with made-up ones.  Fun!"
$13.49   Used & New from: $7.11
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth (New York Review Books Classics)
22.  The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth (New York Review Books Classics) by David Stacton
The list author says:
  "A powerful exploration of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and its aftermath.  Told from everyone's perspective (Booth, his brother, Lincoln, the conspirators, the actors at Ford's theatre, Andrew Johnson, Mrs. Lincoln, the list goes on).  The detail is extraordinary, the characters drawn to the tiniest detail.  Truly amazing stuff."
$12.17   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Grooks VII
23.  Grooks VII by Piet Hein
The list author says:
  "Not the best collection of grooks, but at least my collection is complete.  See last year's list for my thoughts on these fun little poems."
Used & New from: $2.89

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Equal Danger (New York Review Books)
24.  Equal Danger (New York Review Books) by Leonardo Sciascia
The list author says:
  "A murder mystery, a look at Sicilian corruption, an amusing everyone's-in-on-it thriller."
$12.30   Used & New from: $4.85
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Written Lives
25.  Written Lives by Javier Marias
The list author says:
  "I almost can't describe it.  This is how biographies should be:  brief sketches of famous authors, highlighting select eccentricities and moments.  Each one is a jewel--you learn so much about a person in just a few pages.  I don't know how Marias does it."
$12.38   Used & New from: $4.36
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made
26.  Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made by Roy Blount Jr.
The list author says:
  "A fun scene-by-scene (sometimes frame-by-frame!) review of one of the funniest movies ever.  I could have done without all the puns, though."
$11.69   Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Assassination Vacation
27.  Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
The list author says:
  "The story of each 19th century presidential assassination is bizarre, and the effect of having them all in one book is even more so.  Vowell focuses on the tourism sites that have sprung up around each slain president, and her fascination with them."
$13.67   Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)

An Elemental Thing (New Directions Paperbook)
28.  An Elemental Thing (New Directions Paperbook) by Eliot Weinberger
The list author says:
  "Weinberger writes strange little essays about little things:  the wind, people named Chang, the language of amazon tribes, etc.  He also retells some interesting myths from around the world.  His writing style is clear, simple, precise."
$13.84   Used & New from: $2.96
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Pedro Paramo
29.  Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
The list author says:
  "My first reread of what will surely be a book I will reread again and again in my life.  This time, it seemed heartbreakingly sad.  See last year's list for my other review."
$11.04   Used & New from: $1.21
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

Blue Nights
30.  Blue Nights by Joan Didion
The list author says:
  "Joan Didion is really something special. Her candidness makes her feel very close to my heart.  This memoir is more about aging than her daughter's death, and I am grateful for it--it opened my eyes to the mindset of the elderly like nothing else has."
Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

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A Very Easy Death (Pantheon Modern Writers Series)
31.  A Very Easy Death (Pantheon Modern Writers Series) by Simone de Beauvoir
The list author says:
  "Another candid grief memoir.  de Beauvoir tries to understand her mother through a meditation on her death.  A daughter's love comes through on every page.  She is unsentimental and honest about her mother and their relationship, and it is very beautiful."
$10.23   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Invisible Cities
32.  Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
The list author says:
  "Another perpetual reread--something new every time."
$11.44   Used & New from: $3.57
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)

Bossypants
33.  Bossypants by Tina Fey
The list author says:
  "Tina Fey is very funny.  Her eyebrows grow straight across her face and onto yours."
$20.24   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,491 customer reviews) | 7 customer discussions

100 Facts About Pandas (Penguin Original)
34.  100 Facts About Pandas (Penguin Original) by David O'Doherty
The list author says:
  "Pandas are allergic to gold."
Used & New from: $1.22
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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The Cartoon History of the Universe II, Volumes 8-13: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome (Pt.2)
35.  The Cartoon History of the Universe II, Volumes 8-13: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome (Pt.2) by Larry Gonick
The list author says:
  "More of this amazing series.  Gonick has a talent for making often confusing histories very concise and easy-to-follow.  He also traces how one thing lead to another in a logical precise way that's better than most history classes I've been in."
$17.12   Used & New from: $2.63
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (Cartoon History of the Modern World)
36.  The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (Cartoon History of the Modern World) by Larry Gonick
The list author says:
  "More of the same"
$18.38   Used & New from: $5.87
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

All the Names
37.  All the Names by Jose Saramago
The list author says:
  "A sweet, lovely book.  Saramago's creation, Senhor Jose the Central Registry clerk, is one of my literary heroes.  A simple story of trying to track down a stranger and what you learn along the way."
$13.83   Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir
38.  You Can't Catch Death: A Daughter's Memoir by Ianthe Brautigan
The list author says:
  "A loving portrait of a father-daughter relationship.  Moving insights into the life of Richard Brautigan, and the effect he had one those around him."
Used & New from: $4.28
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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B. Black "bblack17" (California)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: Bookman
Last updated: 1/1/12
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