Book List


As a voracious reader, I’ve tried to find ways to effectively track what I read each year. I’ve used index cards, MSWord documents, hand-written notes. I have a tendency to discover books before they’re popular, fall in love with them, and then become disenchanted and embarrassed when Oprah makes them her book club pick. Let’s just agree: I found them first. And I can’t help it if my tastes run popular rather than deep…

I’m also including a rating scale (A-E with A being the best) so you’ll know what I think of them.


  • The Nix, by Nathan Hill (B+ – fun mystery across generations – could’ve scored higher if an editor had chopped the page count – unnecessarily long)
  • The Good Goodbye, by Carla Buckey (B- trashy beach book about two cousins on life support)


  • Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer (C – he’s a good writer but this one was bo-ring)
  • Run, by Ann Patchett (B+ – a story of family and politics set in 24 hrs around Boston)
  • The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, Kelli Estes (D – good elements but clumsily executed and heavily relied on far-flung coincidences)
  • The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (B – wild ride that involves selling organs, Elvis impersonators and a lot of sex – hard to believe Atwood isn’t 20) 
  • With Love from the Inside, by Angela Pisel (C – death row drama  with compounding lies)


  • White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga (C – interesting novel about life in India, but very dark)
  • Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick (A – great autobiography: funny, clever, interesting)
  • The Chemist, by Stephanie Meyer (D+ – throwaway spy novel with a far-fetched romantic story line – dumb)
  • The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (B+ – YA book focused on BLM told by a girl who has one foot in the hood and one in a fancy school)
  • When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi (A – beautiful reflection on chasing a meaningful life and dying on the cusp of one’s prime – well written)
  • The Christodora, by Tim Murphy (A – Portrait of NYC spanning 40 years from the 80s to the near future with a focus on family, HIV, and addiction; reminded me of A Little Life)


  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood (A- – disturbing book with a premise that will challenge your thinking)
  • The Girl in the Red Coat, by Kate Hamer (B)
  • The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy (B+ – a look at love, loss and fertility for women pushing 40)

Currently Reading

  • The Fireman, by Joe Hill
  • Not My Father’s Son, by Alan Cummings
  • The Art of Tough, by Barbara Boxer
  • S., by Doug Dorst (also known as Ship of Theseus by V.M. Straka)

Among My All-Time Favorite Escapes

Abandoned Mid-Read This Year

  • None Yet!

Archives from Past Years:


What’s on your reading list? What do you recommend? Please leave a comment to help shape my reading list for the year!

18 Responses to “Book List”

  1. Karen Rita Murtagh February 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett Check it out. She writes her characters beautifully and this book had one heck of an opening scene. I myself just finished The Vampire Diaries and am reading Hoot by Carl Hiassen–nothing like choosing literature from the Young Adult section. Atlas Shrugged is going with me on my trip to Colorado next week though. It’s time. It’s past time.

    • pithypants February 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

      Bel Canto has been on my must-read list for years, and yet I haven’t gotten to it yet – for shame! I’ll move it closer to the top. (Or maybe download it on Audible?)

      I LOVE Carl Hiassen’s stuff for adults, and I can imagine him being clever for young adults.

      You’ll enjoy Atlas Shrugged… though if you haven’t read The Fountainhead you might want to start with that – it’s more macro and Atlas is more micro, if that makes any sense.

      Also – I’m really enjoying “Her Fearful Symmetry” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” if you’re looking for some fun reads. 🙂

    • pithypants March 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      Just finished Bel Canto. Really enjoyed it. Interesting premise and characters. Completely understand how the lines blur and while I didn’t expect a happy ending… Wow.

  2. Karen Rita Murtagh February 27, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    I wouldn’t download it–but then again, I usually save my audio books for stuff that’s not very well-written since I only half-listen while cleaning the house.

    Is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” part of a series? I keep almost grabbing it but then feel like it’s being marketed to me which I find annoying.

    I have a City job exam tomorrow that requires much waiting and self-entertainment and “Atlas Shrugged” was on my docket. Now I’m going to have to scour my shelves for “The Fountainhead” or read one of my customer support books. Shoot, I don’t like that last idea. I might have to peek into the items brought by my friends last week for donation to Open Books. If they are eventually donated I’m not really stealing from the non-profit, right?

  3. Lee April 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    Not to be too much of a lit nerd, but Le Père Goriot by Balzac is fantastic (and you get to say Balzac a lot).

  4. pithypants April 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Excellent recommendation, Lee. I can’t wait to carry a little Balzac around with me!

  5. ryanod June 9, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I just ran across The Hunger Games the other day and was thinking, “Hmmm…might this be an interesting read…?”

    Now I know!

    • pithypants June 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

      Definitely fun teen sci-fi (I’m reading the second in the series now). There is a bit of a romantic story-line imbedded in it that might make guys roll their eyes, but I still wouldn’t go so far as to classify it as a chick-book. I’d be curious to know your take. Reminds me of something we would’ve read and loved in fourth grade.

      • ryanod July 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

        I’ll have to take a look when I get a chance. I’m knee deep in Pride & Prejudice and The War of the Worlds right now. I kind of blew off the classics when I was a kid. Now it’s time to play catch up!

  6. departingdysfunctionjunction July 7, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    What an excellent idea! I hope you don’t mind if I do the same. Like people from my past I hear a book title and think it sounds vaguely familiar, but can’t quite place it…this list idea may be a good source of reference for myself.

    I still have Middlesex waiting for me, not sure why it’s one of those I bought & just left on the shelf.

    I started & never finished (2 times!!) Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. It was a good enough read and I’m not exactly sure why I never finished it…I think I’ve since donated it to GoodWill!

    One book to movie I really loved was Born On the 4th of July. Gritty, well told account of a man’s return from the Vietnam war.

    Congrats on becoming Freshly Pressed…that’s how I found you 🙂

    • pithypants July 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      Thanks for the shout out, and all means, steal-away. Interestingly, “Loving Frank” does a crazy-ass left turn in the last 5% of the book. I was luke warm on it over all, but it left me smacking my head, going “WTF?!” If you don’t already know the outcome, I’d recommend finishing it, just for the pay-off.

  7. thesinglecell September 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    I, too, have not finished “Atlas Shrugged” or “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” And I haven’t finished “The Pillars of the Earth,” either, because OMG. We indeed have similar tastes. I shall reference this list often!

  8. thesinglecell September 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Wait You finished the ones I haven’t. Fail.

  9. Jenny October 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I hated The Road so much. I could never understand its critical acclaim. I thought it was horrible.

    • pithypants November 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      It actually made me wish the father was a cannibal and would eat his son. It was THAT frustrating.

  10. Kimberly Choquette Pugliano August 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Have you actually read Outlander yet? That whole series goes down as my favorite series of books ever. If you haven’t read it yet, just push through the first 60 pages or so until she goes. That is all. And let me know if you love it. And him. You can find me EVERYWHERE.

    • pithypants August 31, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      I started it earlier this summer and got distracted by a string of other books. I need to dig back into it. I keep finding it frustrating that she can’t get back to the circle of rocks to get home… thanks for the push to keep going.


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