You’ll never guess what I found: My book notebook! Yea, verily, the little black notebook that I write down everything I read in. Once upon a time I planned on doing a Sunday Books of the Year list at the last day of every year, but after 2005, every time New Years rolled around, I either couldn’t find my notebook or I was in the process of moving and really couldn’t find my notebook.

But, no matter! We can always play catchup! Anyway, years passed when I barely read anything at all. Not included are rereads, only new books I’d never read before. Nor do I include cookbooks and baby name books and decorating books other things that mark the passing of time (of which there were many, especially around 2008, especially cookbooks) these past 6 years but don’t really need to be included here.

(Small Print: I think between 2009 and 2010, when I had no idea where this notebook was, a few books may have gotten lost to the mists of time. However, when I did start reading again, I remember a certain feeling of elation so it wouldn’t surprise me that I just didn’t read anything for nearly a year.)


• Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Children’s Fiction, 1908
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (1) (Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries)
Mystery-Fiction, 2004
• Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery
Mystery-Fiction, 2005
• Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
Fiction, 1854
• Nathaniel Harris, Heritage of Scotland: A History of Scotland & Its People
History, 2000
• Arthur Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It
History, 2001
• Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel
Historical Fiction, 2004
• Michael TRB Turnbull, Scotland: The Facts
Nonfiction, 1990
• Edward Rutherford, Sarum: The Novel of England
Historical Fiction, 1987
• Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog
Travel Fiction, 1889
• Ellis Peters, The Hermit of Eyton Forest
Historical Mystery, 1988
• Ellis Peters, Summer of the Danes (Brother Cadfael Mysteries)
Historical Mystery, 1991
• Ellis Peters, Potter’s Field (The Cadfael Chronicles)
Historical Mystery, 1989
• Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Mystery, 1998
• Ian Rankin, Fleshmarket Close
Mystery, 2004
• Robert Ludlum, The Tristan Betrayal
Historical Fiction, 2003
• Val McDermid, The Torment of Others
Mystery, 2004
• Ellis Peter, Monk’s-Hood
Historical Mystery, 1980
• Tom Nagorski, Miracles on the Water
Military History, 2006
• Ellis Peters, The Confession of Brother Haluin
Historical Mystery, 1988
• John Keegan, The Face of Battle
Military History, 1976


• JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Fiction, 2007
• Tanigawa Nagaru, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu
Fiction, 2003
• Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
Fiction, 1995
• Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife
Fiction, 1997
• Tanigawa Nagaru, Suzumiya Haruhi no Tameiki
Fiction, 2004


• Shouji Gatou, Full Metal Panic! Fighting Boy Meets Girl
Fiction, 1998
• Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
Science Fiction, 2003
• Shouji Gatou, Full Metal Panic! One Night Stand
Fiction, 1999
• Evelyn Waugh, Scoop
Fiction, 1937
• PD James, Cover Her Face
Mystery, 1962
• Dan Simmons, Hyperion
Science Fiction, 1989
• Dan Simmons, The Fall of Hyperion
Science Fiction, 1990
• Shouji Gatou, Full Metal Panic! Into the Blue
Fiction, 2000
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Right Attitude to Rain
Fiction, 2006
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Careful Use of Compliments
Fiction, 2007
• Colleen McCullough, On, Off
Mystery, 2006
• Shan Sa, Empress
Historical Fiction, 2003
• Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn
Historical Mystery, 1999
• Murasaki Shikibu, Helen Craig McCullough (translator), Selections from The Tale of Genji
Fiction, 1000-8; 1994


• Princess Chichibu, Dorothy Britton (translator), The Silver Drum; A Japanese Imperial Memoir
Autobiography, 1991
• Umberto Eco, Baudolino
Historical Fiction, 2000
• Ian Rankin, The Naming of the Dead
Mystery, 2006
• Tracy Chevalier, The Lady and the Unicorn
Historical Fiction, 2004


• Maj Söwal & Per Wahlöö, Roseanna
Mystery, 1965
• Peter Godwin, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
Memoir, 2007
• Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America
Sociology, 2008
• Simon Brett, Cast, In Order of Disappearance
Mystery, 1975


• Simon Brett, The Dead Side of the Mike
Mystery, 1980
• Simon Brett, Murder in the Museum
Mystery, 2003
• Simon Brett, Star Trap
Mystery, 1977
• Simon Brett, A Comedian Dies
Mystery, 1979
• Simon Brett, So Much Blood
Mystery, 1976
• Simon Brett, The Torso In The Town
Mystery, 2002
• Simon Brett, An Amateur Corpse
Mystery, 1980
• Alexander McCall Smith, Tears of the Giraffe
Mystery-Fiction, 2000
• Simon Brett, Situation Tragedy
Mystery, 1981
• Simon Brett, Murder Unprompted
Mystery, 1982
• Simon Brett, Murder In The Title
Mystery, 1983
• Simon Brett, Not Dead, Only Resting.
Mystery, 1984
• Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls
Mystery-Fiction, 2001
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Kalahari Typing School for Men
Mystery-Fiction, 2002
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Full Cupboard of Life
Mystery-Fiction, 2003
• Simon Brett, Dead Giveaway
Mystery, 1985
• Simon Brett, A Series of Murders
Mystery, 1989
• Agatha Christie, Crooked House
Mystery, 1949
• Alexander McCall Smith, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Mystery-Fiction, 2004
• Alexander McCall Smith, Blue Shoes and Happiness
Mystery-Fiction, 2006
• Agatha Christie, The Golden Ball and Other Stories
Short Stories, 1971
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
Mystery-Fiction, 2007
• Alexander McCall Smith, The Miracle at Speedy Motors
Fiction, 2008
• Alexander McCall Smith, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
Fiction, 2009
• Rajaa Alsanea, Girls of Riyadh
Fiction, 2007
• WE Johns, Biggles: The Camels Are Coming
Fiction, 1932
• Tanigawa Nagaru, The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya
Fiction, 2003
• Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists
Fiction, 2010

Brisk debrief:

Highlights include Simon Brett’s Charles Paris mysteries (Cast, In Order of Disappearance, The Dead Side of the Mike, etc). About a barely-at-work actor in a grottier age of stardom solving murders. I was reading them at a rate of one a day back in late winter of this year.

If you have teenagers, I highly recommend the Full Metal Panic! series. Translated from the Japanese. Hilarious. Romantic. And exhibiting an anorakish level of military trivia.

Peter Godwin’s memoir about the deterioration of Zimbabwe through the old age of his parents is amazing. Read it.

Rajaa Alsanea’s book about rich girls finding love in Saudi Arabia was reeeeally good. The translation was reeeeally bad. Read it anyway.

Lowlights: Baudolino was okay, but went on too long. Way too long. Philip Pullman’s books were awful. I didn’t even bother with the third one.

My most ambitious attempt: The Tale of the Genji was much slower going that I’d hoped. But worthwhile anyway.

So, 76 books in 6 years. Not bad. Maybe some day I’ll do a year in review on my cookbooks…