Books I’ve Read: 2010 and before

I first kept this list on my webpage, but then figured that it would be easier to edit (and access) on my blog. So, I started this list on 7 July 2008 (my 39th birthday), and try to keep it up to date when I can, more for me than anyone else! This is the archival post with 2010 and before. From 2011 onwards, you can search for my yearly reading lists…

I’ve kept an informal list of books I’ve read in the last few years though I’ve missed recording a number. I sometimes get this feeling I don’t read enough – but then realise that I actually read a lot, especially on planes and in hotel rooms, with all the work travel I was doing. Now, with less travel, I’m making more of an effort to make time for reading when I’m not on a plane!

Miscellaneous books that I read and loved (before I started keeping this list)
  • Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being (and others)
  • Alice Munro’s Short Story collections
  • Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America
  • Edmund White’s Boy’s Own Story (and others)
  • Favourite poets (of which I’ve usually read a few of their books): Margaret Atwood (Selected Poems 2 is excellent), Mark Doty, Sharon Olds, Patrick Lane, Pablo Neruda.
  • Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall On Your Knees
  • Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy
  • Salman Rushdie’s novels (particularly Midnight’s Children, Satanic Verses)
  • Paul Monette’s Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
  • James Merrill’s Changing Light at Sandover
Bolded means that I think your life is less complete without reading this book (or at least that I really really loved the book).

2010

  • Jee Leong Koh’s Equal to the Earth (Poetry)
  • Eli Jaxon-Bear’s The Enneagram of Liberation (Spirituality)
  • John Miller’s A Sharp Intake of Breath (Fiction)
  • Dr Arthur Agaston’s South Beach Diet (Diet/Health)
  • Tracy Quan’s Diary of a Jet-Setting Call Girl (Chick-Lit) – The adventures of Nancy Chan. Should I admit that I was looking to see if Borders carried my own book (er… no) and found instead another author named Quan? I’ve read all of her books (three so far) and found them very enjoyable. Taking the Sex-and-the-City genre and making the protagonist a sexy, Asian-American call girl living in the Big Apple – how could I resist?
  • Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap (Fiction) – I’m elevating this to a recommendation. I’m not in love with the actual writing but Tsiolkas’ characters are wonderfully-drawn, the story contemporary and the momentum of the prose unstoppable – and it’s a great portrait of modern Australia.
  • Tom Cardamone’s The Lost Library, Gay Fiction Rediscovered (Essays/Gay History)
  • Eve Escher-Hogan’s Way of the Winding Path: A Map for the Labyrinth of Life (Spirituality)
  • Gabrielle Roth’s Sweat Your Prayers (Spirituality)
  • Blaine Marchand’s The Craving of Knives (Poetry)
  • On The Line: the Creation of the Chorus Line (Non-Fiction)
  • John Barton’s Hymn (Poetry)
  • J.A.G. Roberts’ China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West (Non-Fiction)
  • Paul Kane’s Work Life (Poetry) – Holy Cow, I liked this book of poems. Am going to search out more of his work now.
  • Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Fiction) – The writing in this book is so energetic, I read it in a few days, very impressed. Wonder what the experience is for readers who have no Spanish language background at all as he drops Spanish words and slang into the text regularly.
  • Kevin Killian’s Argento Series (Poetry)
  • Jerome Parisse’s The Wings of Leo Spencer (Young Adult) – A friend published his first novel, a story about angels and families. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a “young adult” book but it was engaging.
  • Roberta Lowing’s Notorious (Fiction) – A friend gave me a pre-publication copy of this to read, by someone I know who organised a poetry reading series. It’s an ambitious thriller, or sorts, that moves between Italy and Poland and Morocco.
  • Kate Story’s Blasted (Fiction) – I went to college (and university) with Kate and was excited to order her first novel – it’s engaging and surprising with some really lovely writing.
  • Chris Adrian’s A Better Angel (Short Fiction) – Loved a story by this guy in the New Yorker. This is a beautiful collection.
  • Steig Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played With Fire, Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest (Thrillers) – Completely addictive and enjoyable..
  • Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (Fiction) – As with the Corrections, I loved it. It’s my 2010 must-read recommendation.
  • David Caleb Acevedo’s Bestiario en nomenclatura binomial (Poetry in Spanish)
  • Sara Gruen’s Ape House (Fiction) – What a disappointment. Water for Elephants really grabbed me, but this had poor writing and, one-dimensional characters. The pain of it increased because of my expectations for it. 
  • Jeannette Winterston’s Lighthousekeeping (Fiction)
  • Ken Wilber’s the Integral Vision (Philosophy) – I think this guy is a really interesting thinker and this made me think about a lot of things…
  • Andrew O Hagan’s The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe – completely surprising. From the cover and title and marketing, I just wasn’t sure, but my pal Chris said it was good, and by the first page, I could see what a beautiful writer Hagan is. I really liked it.
  • Kimberley Mann’s Awake During Anaesthetic (Poetry Chapbook)
  • Bonny Cassidy’s Said to be Standing (Poetry Chapbook) – Vagabond Press produces these absolutely beautiful chapbooks called “Rare Objects” and they’re publishing usually emerging poets. Great stuff, good to read Bonny’s work as I’ve heard her read before.
  • Stuart Cooke’s Corrosions (Poetry Chapbook) – Ditto above, and *great* to read Stuart’s work as I haven’t really heard him read before. Interesting range of poems here.
  • Benjamin Law’s the Family Law (Humour/Family) – Very enjoyable, great voice, great writing from a young, gay Asian writer from Brisbane
  • Graeme Aitken’s The Indignities (Fiction) – A fun, gay romp through Sydney, circa 2004.

2009

  • Anne Enright’s The Gathering (Fiction) – Booker winner, and she went to my international college, many moons ago. I can see why people had trouble with it – as I see it hasn’t gotten universally great reviews. There’s something unsentimental and hard about it, but it’s also an amazing book.
  • Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Fiction) – Now this is the type of book that readers like – engaging, original, accessible. Both gritty and sweet. I can see why it was a best-seller, and enjoyed it myself.
  • Reading Six Feet Under – TV to Die For (Cultural Studies) – not for everyone, academic analyses of different themes in the TV show, but it allowed me, with pleasure, to revisit the best TV show ever.
  • Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon (Fiction) – it didn’t grab me, or was this just because The Lovely Bones was so unforgettably good.
  • Dorothy Porter’s The Bee Hut (Poetry) – a beautiful short collection, published posthumously and including some of the last poems of this very original voice.
  • Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself (Science) – thought about this for weeks, talked about it with friends for weeks. Still affecting the way I view the world.
  • Lorrie Moore’s Collected Stories (Short Fiction)
  • Tara Moss’ Fetish (Crime/Thriller)
  • Robert Bly’s translation of Rumi, The Kabir Book (Poetry).
  • Haruki Murukami’s Dance Dance Dance (Fiction) – Wow, does this man have an interesting mind. Really enjoyed it.
  • Henry James’ The Aspern Papers (Fiction) – since I was passing through Venice, I took a friend’s recommendation to read this slim book set in Venice. Now I can say I’ve read some Henry James…
  • Tim Winton’s Breath (Fiction) – A lot packed into this short novel.
  • Second Person Queer (Essays) – Finally read this anthology that I was included in. A few great pieces, not sure whether the idea works as a whole book.
  • James Robert Baker’s Adrenalin (Fiction) – Phew. A wild ride, read on the high recommendations of friends who are huge fans of his. A piece of gay history.
  • David Ebershoff’s the 19th wife (Fiction) – Interesting topic. Didn’t like it as much as the Danish Girl.
  • Tim Winton’s Dirt Music (Fiction) – God I loved this book. Great introduction for me to a premier Australian writer.
  • Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (Crime) – read for a literary salon which I eventually couldn’t make it too. Darn. Could see it was the model for much of what followed – but didn’t love it.
  • Dorothy Porter’s Monkey’s Mask (Poetry/Crime) – also (re)read this for the salon. Amazing book. Quick read!
  • Michael Ondaatje’s In The Skin of The Lion (Fiction) – I read this aloud to my partner – an interesting experiment. When are they going to make a movie of this?
  • Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News? (Crime Fiction) – A nice surprise, as I loved her first novel, to see she’s turned to crime… and with a great story and characters. sweartogod.
  • Anne Enright’s Yesterday’s Weather (Short Fiction) – Enjoyed them. Now curious to read her Booker Prize winning novel.
  • Edmund White’s Hotel de Dream (Fiction)
  • Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing (Short Fiction)
  • Ken Wilber’s Grace and Grit (Philosophy/Biography) – I’m loving this book as I read it and it’s changing the way I think about spirituality, enlightenment, disease and the new age movement.
  • Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics (Culture/Non-Fiction). A great read. Fun and insightful and challenging.
  • Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women (Fiction). I’m a huge fan of Alice Munro – and it was interesting to read one of her early books.
  • Best American Poetry 2008 (Poetry) – My pal John introduced me to this series years ago. I really like this year’s collection. Some stunning work.
  • Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence (Fiction) – completely adored this.
  • Best Gay Poetry 2008 (Poetry) – some amazing work in here
  • The Kite Runner (Fiction) – Good story but I didn’t love the writing itself. Maybe I expected too much because of the hype.

2008

  • Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (Fiction)
  • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants (Fiction)
  • Sean Horlor’s Made Beautiful By Use (Poetry)
  • Lorna Crozier’s Whetstone (Poetry) Stunning.
  • Sharon Olds’ Blood, Tin, Straw (Poetry)
  • Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You (Short Fiction)
  • Alex Boyd’s Making Bones Walk (Poetry)
  • Fiona Tinwei Lam’s Intimate Distances (Poetry)
  • Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall On Your Knees (Fiction)Reread it to see if I still liked it as much. I did.
  • Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder (Short Fiction)
  • Jes Battis’ Night Child (Fantasy)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (Fiction)
  • Elizabeth Bishop’s Eat Pray Love (Memoir)
  • Alain de Botton’s Essays on Love (Fiction)
  • Sarah McDonald’s Holy Cow (Memoir)
  • Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II (Personality Test)
  • Nam Le’s The Boat (Short Fiction)
  • Brian Rigg’s A False Paradise (Poetry)
  • Augusten Buroughs’ A Wolf at the Table (Memoir)
  • Sarah McDonald’s Holy Cow (Memoir/Travel)
  • Candace Bushell’s Sex and the City (Fiction/Journalism)
  • Martin Harrison’s Wild Bees (Poetry)
  • Alan Weiss’ Getting Started in Consulting (Business)
  • John Gould’s Kilter (Short Short Fiction)
  • A.M.Homes’ Things You Should Know (Short Fiction)
  • Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire (History/Fiction)
  • Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (Fiction)
  • Raimond Gaita’s Romulus, My Father (Biography) – Loved this book as a portrayal of immigrant Australia. Great characters, great storytelling.
  • David Marr’s The Henson Case (Non-Fiction) – A clear, lucid account of the Bill Henson controversy
  • Kevin Hart’s Flame Tree: Selected Poems (Poetry)
  • Colin Carberry’s Ceasefire in Purgatory (Poetry)
  • Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero (Fiction) – Great finish to the year. What a beautiful book.

2007

  • Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel (Philosophy)
  • Henri von Doussa’s The Park Bench (Fiction)
  • Jonathan Lethem’s Men and Cartoons (Short Fiction)
  • David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten (Fiction)
  • Linda Gregg’s Flesh and Things (Poetry)
  • Billy Collin’s Sailing Alone Around The Room: New and Selected Poems
  • Best American Poetry 2006
  • Jerry and Esther Hicks’ Ask and It Is Given (New Age/Philosophy)
  • Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s Sightseeing (Short Fiction)
  • Steven King’s On Writing (Non-Fiction)
  • Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (Fiction)
  • Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. Ladies’ Detective Agency (Fiction)
  • Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Fiction)
  • Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving-Bell & The Butterfly (Memoir)
  • Anonymous’s The Bride Stripped Bare (Fiction)
  • Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Law Vegas (Nonfiction/Journalism)
  • David Allen’s How to Get Things Done (Career/Self-Help)
  • Gangaji’s Diamond in Your Pocket (Spirituality)
  • Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets (Poetry)
  • Patrick Lane’s What the Stones Remember (Memoir)
  • Eckhardt Tolle’s A New Earth (Philosophy)
  • Ben Elton’s High Society (Fiction)
  • Suzanne Chick’s Searching for Charmiane (Biography)
  • Tracy Quan’s Diary of a Married Call Girl (Fiction)
  • Alice Munro’s The View From Castle Rock (Memoir)
  • Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder (Short Fiction/Memoir)
  • Alice Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife (Fiction)
  • Pablo Neruda’s Isla Negra (Poetry)
  • Milan Kundera’s Farewell Waltz (Fiction)
  • Salman Rushdie’s Grimus (Fiction)

2006

  • Mark Doty’s The Source (Poetry)
  • Mark Doty’s School of the Arts (Poetry)
  • Ken Wilber’s No Borders (Philosophy)
  • Stephen Greco’s The Sperm Engine (Erotica/Memoir)
  • Alice Munro’s Runaway (Short Fiction)
  • Sean Condon’s My ‘Dam Life (memoir/humour)
  • Daniel Gawthrop’s The Rice Queen Diaries (memoir)
  • Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi (Fiction)
  • Joanne Harris’ Chocolat (Fiction)
  • Edmund White’s My Lives (Autobiography)
  • Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (Fiction)
  • Michael V. Smith’s What You Can’t Have (Poetry)
  • George Ilsley’s ManBug (Fiction)
  • Edmund White’s My Lives (Autobiography)
  • Eckhardt Tolle’s The Power Of Now (Philosophy)
  • Shauna Singh Baldwin’s What the Body Remembers (Fiction)
  • Shalini Akhil’s The Bollywood Beauty (Fiction)
  • John Murray’s A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies (Short Fiction)
  • Lorna Crozier’s What the Living Won’t Let Go (Poetry)

2005

  • Jonathan Franzen’s The Twenty-Seventh City (Novel)
  • Gerald Stern’s Last Blue (Poetry)
  • Alain De Botton’s Status Anxiety (Non-Fiction)
  • Michel Houellebecq’s Lanzerote (Fiction)
  • Noel Rowe’s Next to Nothing (Poetry)
  • Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line Of Beauty (Novel)
  • Dorothy Porter’s The Monkey’s Mask (Poetry)
  • Lynne Truss’ Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Non-Fiction)
  • Gerald Stern’s This Time (Poetry)
  • Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink (Non-Fiction)
  • Jill Jones’ Screen Jets Heaven (Poetry)
  • Marshall Moore’s Black Shapes in a Darkened Room (Short Fiction)
  • Sandra Alland’s A Shape of a Tongue (Poetry)
  • Victoria Finlay’s Colour: Travels through the Paintbox (Non-Fiction)
  • Michael Cunningham’s Land’s End (Non-Fiction)
  • Gerald Stern’s Lucky Life (Poetry)
  • Steve Kluger’s Almost Like Being in Love (Novel)
  • Tony Hoagland’s Donkey Gospel (Poetry)
  • Greg Wharton’s Johny Was and Other Tall Tales (Erotica)
  • Kevin Bentley’s Let’s Shut Out the World (Memoir)
  • Randall Mann’s Complaint in the Garden (Poetry)
  • Jameson Currier’s Desire, Lust, Passion, Sex (Short Fiction/Erotica)
  • Ann Hood’s An Orthinologist’s Guide to Life (Short Fiction)
  • Kevin Bentley’s Wild Animals I Have Known (Memoir)

2004

  • Best Gay Erotica 2004 (Erotica)
  • Mark Doty’s Still Life with Oranges and Lemons (Non-Fiction)
  • Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda (Novel)
  • Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets (Poetry)
  • Peter Minter’s Empty Texas (Poetry)
  • The Complete Guide to Spirits and Liqueurs (Non-Fiction)
  • Best Gay Asian Erotica (Erotica)
  • David Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Humour)
  • Ian Phillips and Greg Whartons’ Law of Desire (Erotica/Anthology)
  • Meanjin’s Australasian Issue (Review/Anthology)
  • Gerry Turcotte’s Winterlude (Poetry)
  • Philip Hammiel’s In the Year of our Lord’s Slaughter (Poetry)
  • Marshall Moore’s Ideal for Living (Novel)
  • Wayson Choy’s All That Matters (Novel)
  • Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (Novel)
  • George Ilsley’s Random Acts of Hatred (Short Fiction)
  • Anne-Marie MacDonald’s The Way the Crow Flies (Novel)

Around 2003

  • Best Gay Erotica 2003 (Erotica)
  • Tracey Quan’s Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl (Novel)
  • Jim Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (Non-Fiction)
  • Joel Tan’s Monster (Poetry)
  • Sharon Olds’ The Unswept Room (Poetry)
  • Laurie Moore’s Self-Help (Short Fiction)
  • Luke Davies’ Running with Light
  • Carol Shield’s Unless (Novel)
  • Kevin Bentley’s Boyfriends from Hell (Anthology)
  • David Sedaris’ Naked (Humour)
  • Kate Fagan’s The Long Moment (Poetry)
  • Michael Farrell’s Ode Ode (Poetry)

Around 2002

  • Michael Cunningham’s Home at the End of the World (Novel)
  • David Eberschoff’s Rose City (Short Fiction)
  • Michael Chabon’s Adventures of Cavalier and Clay (Novel)
  • Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost (Novel)
  • Martin Foreman’s Butterfly’s Wing (Novel)
  • Noel Alumnit’s Letters to Montgomery Clift (Novel)
  • Michael Smith’s Cumberland (Novel)
  • Michael Cunningham’s Flesh and Blood (Novel)
  • Louis Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Novel)
  • Jonathan Franzen’s the Corrections (Novel)
  • Imogen Edward Jones’ My Canape Hell (Novel)
  • Scott Heim’s Mysterious Skin (Novel)
  • Colm Toibin’s The Story of the Night (Novel)
  • Eva Sebold’s The Lovely Bones (Novel)
  • Ursula Leguin’s The Other Wind (Novel)
  • Seamus Heaney’ The Open Ground (Poetry – Collected)

Around 2001

  • Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Novel/Autobiography)
  • Jhumpa Lamphiri’s Interpreter of Maladies (Short Fiction)
  • Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (Novel)
  • Neal Drinnan’s Glove Puppet (Novel)
  • J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace (Novel)
  • Nicholas Jose’s The Red Thread (Novel)
  • Blaine Marchand’s Bodily Presence (Poetry)
  • Billeh Nickerson’s Asthmatic Glassblower (Poetry)
  • Mitch Cullin’s From The Place in the Valley Deep in the Forest (Short Fiction)
  • Steve Kluger’s Last Days of Summer (Novel)
  • Neal Drinnan’s Pussy’s Bow (Novel)
  • Elizabeth Knox’s Vintner’s Luck (Novel)
  • Edmund White’s Farewell Symphony (Novel)
  • Francisco Ibanez’s Flesh Wounds and Purple Flowers (Novel)
  • Bruno Bouchet’s The Girls (Novel)
  • Dennis Altman’s Global Sex (Non-Fiction)
  • Micha Ramaker’s Art of Pleasure (Non-Fiction)
  • Marshall Moore’s the Concrete Sky (Novel)

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1 Response to Books I’ve Read: 2010 and before

  1. Chris says:

    Brilliant! I was just looking around for a few good books to read. Thanks Andy!

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