01 January 2010

What Rise read in 2009

A happy new year to all!

The first decade of the present century has zoomed by and today marks again the new beginning of our lives - reading, writing, traveling, playing, working, and (I'm now officially adding) blogging.

My year in blogging was marked by a lot of highlights, focusing mostly on book reviews and book-related matters. I have started actively writing on April 2009 with my first post In lieu of a field guide. The old entries in 2006 and 2007 were just imported from a now-defunct blog. This blog then is technically eight-and-a-half months old, and I'm glad that I was able to sustain it. I will perhaps make April 14 my "blogaversary" - I hope I spelled that (blogalese / Internetese) correctly.

I've been late in coming up with a summary of my reading. My Christmas holiday reading was just spent on two books - the last two books in the list below. I was much too distracted by Christmas eat and play.

Report on reading challenges. I planned to read 36 books (preferably 18 fiction and 18 non-fiction) - my Quantity Challenge. I've read a total of 48 books, an average of four books a month, and I'm counting 16 non-fiction here, so overall it's not bad at all. I basically passed the challenge with reading colors. However, I was not able to progress with my Challenge Read, the thicky-thicky War and Peace.

As for the Diversity Challenge, I was able to read all of the 24 books from diverse categories, except for the common title. I kind of half-finished the common book as I was able to finish Rizal's Noli Me Tangere as translated by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin. I guess I will continue with the sequel El Filibusterismo this year, even if I've previously read these books in the translations done by Leon Ma. Guerrero. The Noli and Fili are always worth re-reading.

My other challenge, "Lost in Translation," is easily surpassed as most of what I read are books in translation anyway. I count 19 translated books from the list, way more than the required 6 books.

My 2009 reading log:

1. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
2. The Romantic Dogs by Roberto Bolaño (re-read in June)

3. Love Story by Erich Segal
4. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
5. The Lives of Animals by J. M. Coetzee
6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

7. Written Lives by Javier Marías
8. Kokoro by Sōseki Natsume
9. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
10. Tugmaang Matatabil by Axel Pinpin

11. Einstein's Monsters by Martin Amis
12. Beyond Words by John Humphrys
13. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

14. The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco
15. Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño
16. Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño
17. Amulet by Roberto Bolaño
18. By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño
19. Fermat's Last Theorem by Simon Singh

20. How Fiction Works by James Wood
21. Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
22. A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

23. Ecology and the End of Postmodernity by George Myerson
24. Rashōmon and Other Stories by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke
25. Five Moral Pieces by Umberto Eco
26. Six Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman
27. Gerilya by Norman Wilwayco
28. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

29. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez (re-read)
30. Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism by James P. Sterba
31. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
32. Why We Are Poor by F. Sionil José
33. The Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive

34. Learning to Think Environmentally: While There is Still Time by Lester W. Milbrath
35. Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction by John Polkinghorne

36. You Lovely People by Bienvenido N. Santos
37. Trese: Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo
38. Trese: Unreported Murders by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo
39. Everyman by Philip Roth
40. Why We Are Hungry by F. Sionil José

41. The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman & Yoshitaka Amano
42. The Mystery Guest by Grégoire Bouillier
43. Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens
44. Trese: Mass Murders by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo
45. Hear the Wind Sing by Murakami Haruki

46. The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolaño
47. The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald
48. Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal, translated by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin

I have made some "field notes" on most of these books but I wasn't able to write my full review. I will perhaps carry over to this year some of my takes on the books I read in 2009. Blogging is fun, and reading bliss.


  1. Happy New Year Rise!

  2. Thanks, Blooey. A Happy New Year to you!

  3. You are such a consummate reader, Rise. I say this because of the diversity of your list. Happy New Year, and looking forward to more "field guides."

    Oh, and good luck on War and Peace. It's worth it.:)

  4. Hi, fanta. Joining the FFP Diversity Challenge afforded me the chance to try out new authors and books that otherwise I wouldn't have been compelled to read by myself. The books I read for the first time (by Sōseki, Eco, Sionil José, Lahiri, among many others) are great discoveries.

    There's no excuse for me now not to finish War and Peace. And the few pages that I read convince me that this is one read that I wouldn't mind taking my time to explore. Thanks!