2005 Book Challenge: It’s a Tie!

I started off 2005 with a 50 book challenge, but upped it to 100 when I realized that my inclusion of both graphic novels and young adult novels made for a faster-moving list. At the end of the year, the tallies were spookily exact, though some books could be argued as to which category they belong in, e.g. Persepolis: graphic novel or non-fiction? I chose the former. When in doubt, I also went with where it would be shelved in a bookstore or library. So, the final numbers. Novels: 39. Non-fiction: 13. Young adult: 27. Graphic Novels: 25. That’s 52 novels and non-fiction, and 52 YA and GNs, for a grand total of 104. Apologies for no italics, inconsistent author names, and no links, but all books are linked in the “50 Book Challenge” category.

I’ll start with the bad news. There are only two books I read last year that I feel were a waste of my time: Prep by Sittenfeld and Rent Girl by Tea. Both were highly hyped and featured static, immature main characters. For me, the lack of character development far outweighed any good points of the narratives.

I’ve starred the books I found particularly good. Lying Awake by Salzman was an accidental find, which impressed me all the more because I had no expectations. Ex Machina, Y the Last Man, and Daredevil were my favorite graphic novels and ongoing comic book series of the past year. I am proud to have finally read the entire Don Quixote. Satrapi’s graphic novels were much more engaging and involving than Reading Lolita In Tehran.

I found the young-adult novels by writers who also write for adults more complex and better written than a lot of what’s out there: Godless and Invisible by Hautman, All Rivers Flow to the Sea by McGhee, Sexy and Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Oates.

Several books are starred because I flat-out enjoyed them: Case Histories by Atkinson, The Year of Secret Assignments by Moriarty, Magic or Madness by Larbalestier, and I Capture the Castle by Smith. Additionally, I re-read some old favorites, like Top Ten, Batman Year One, Speak, The Tempest, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Finally, some of the starred books were not only good reads, but each had a “wow” factor that particularly impressed me: Briar Rose by Yolen, Empire Falls by Russo, Paradise by Kennedy, Bangkok 8 by Burdett, Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, Housekeeping and Gilead by Robinson, What I Loved by Hustvedt, The Driver’s Seat by Spark, Mothers and Other Monsters by McHugh, In a Lonely Place by Hughes, and Alias Grace by Atwood.

1. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
*2. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
3. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
*4. Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughn, Tony Harris et al.
*5. Y the Last Man 4 by Brian K. Vaughn, Pia Guerra et al.
6. Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002 ed. Cart & Eggers
*7. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
8. Doing It by Burgess, Melvin
9. Rush Hour 1 Sin ed. Cart, Michael
10. Rush Hour 2 Bad Boys ed. Cart, Michael
11. Girl by Nelson, Blake
12. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Mackler, Carolyn
*13. Empire Falls by Russo, Richard
14 to 17: special-topic research for novel
18. From Romance to Realism by Cart, Michael
19. What You Wear Can Change Your Life by Woodall & Constantine
*20. Lying Awake by Salzman, Mark
21. Carnet de Voyage by Thompson, Craig
22. Tender at the Bone by Reichl, Ruth
23. Saving Francesca by Marchetta, Melina
24. When the Messenger Is Hot by Crane, Elizabeth
25. Stop that Girl by McKenzie, Elizabeth
26. Fast Food Nation by Schlosser, Eric
*27. Don Quixote by Cervantes
28. All This Heavenly Glory by Crane, Elizabeth
29. Beware of God by Auslander, Shalom
*30. Daredevil: Widow by Bendis/Maleev
31. The True & Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Robinson, Elisabeth
32. Embroideries by Satrapi
33. Tomorrowland ed. Cart, M.
*34. Speak by Anderson, Laurie Halse
*35. Case Histories by Atkinson, Kate
36. Where No Gods Came by O’Connor, Sheila
37. Mysterious Skin by Heim, Scott
38. Scott Pilgrim #1 by O’Malley, Bryan Lee
*39. Paradise by Kennedy, A.L.
40. Scott Pilgrim #2 by O’Malley, Bryan Lee
41. The Fall by Mawer, Simon
42. Hulk: Gray by Loeb/Sale
43. WE3 by Morrison/Quitely
44. Daredevil V. 11: Golden Age by Bendis/Maleev
45. Family Matters by Guterson, David
46. The Wonder Spot by Banks, Melissa
*47. Persepolis 2 by Satrapi, Marjane
48. Wasteland by Block, Francesca Lia
49. Necklace of Kisses by Block, Francesca Lia
50. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
51. In the Shadow of the Law by Kermit Roosevelt
*52. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
53. Rush Hour 3: Face ed. Cart, Michael
*54. Y the Last Man v. 5: Ring of Truth by Vaughan
*55. The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
56. If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell
57. Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner
*58. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
*59. Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
60. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Smith
61. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Rowling
62. Runaways v. 1 by Vaughan
63. The Cute Manifesto by Kochalka
64. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by Rowling
65. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Nafisi
66. A Changed Man by Francine Prose
67. The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane
*68. The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
69. Other Electricities by Ander Monson
70. Tricked by Alex Robinson
*71. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
*72. Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier
73. The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti
*74. Was it Beautiful? by Alison McGhee
75. DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
*76. Invisible by Pete Hautman
77. Snap by McGhee
78. Sweetblood by Hautman
79. The Kite Runner by Hosseini
*80. Godless by Hautman
*81. What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
82. The Panic-Free Pregnancy by Broder
*83. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
*84. Mothers and Other Monsters by Maureen McHugh
*85. All Rivers Flow to the Sea by McGhee
*86. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
87. The Skin Chairs by Barbara Comyns
*88. The Tempest by Shakespeare
*89. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
90. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
*91. Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
*92. Sexy by Oates
*93. In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
94. Revision by David Kaplan
95. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
96. No Limit by Hautman
97. Mr. Was by Hautman
*98. Top Ten Book 1 by Moore/Ha/Cannon
*99. Top Ten Book 2
100. Top Ten: The Forty-Niners by Moore/Ha
101. Smax by Moore/Cannon
102. Rent Girl by Tea/McCubbin
*103. Batman: Year One by Miller/Mazzuchelli
104. Batman: The Long Halloween by Loeb/Sale

4 Responses to “2005 Book Challenge: It’s a Tie!”

  1. Kelly Says:

    I am so happy someone else was disappointed by “Prep.” I read it over the holidays and was so annoyed when I finished it. How could a character not change at all over the course of five years (or longer…when she discusses herself as an adult at the end, still no change). I was so annoyed.

    “Case Histories” was probably my favorite “adult” read of the year.

  2. girldetective Says:

    In Prep’s defense, the main character was a high school student, so complaining that a 14 to 18 year old is immature and doesn’t develop may simply be realistic. But the beauty of fiction is write about what could be, rather than what is. And just because it might be realistic doesn’t make the main character any less annoying.

  3. Kristen Says:

    Maybe I missed these titles on your list– If not, you must read “The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby” by Sarah Dessen. Enjoy!

  4. girldetective Says:

    You didn’t miss them–I haven’t read them though I’ve seen Dessen’s work well reviewed, so she’s on my list to check out. But since this year’s book challenge is (supposedly) to read books I already have, I”m not sure when I’ll get to them. I’m trying to avoid the siren call of the libraries excellent catalog, and not resisting very well.