The 2006 Book List

I have kept track of every book I’ve finished since 2001. Here’s my list for 2006:

1. Don’t Try This at Home (1/2/06)
A compilation of “culinary disaster” stories by prominent/celebrity chefs. Amusing enough, with short chapters, so it was easy to put down and pick back up.

2. On Beauty – Zadie Smith (1/4/06)
Sadly, this is the first Zadie Smith book I’ve ever read. I know, I should be more up on my contemporary fiction. Feel free to revoke my English degree. Anyhow, this one lived up to the hype (it was on a number of “best books of 2005” lists). I was especially entertained by the descriptions of academic life, which were pretty much spot-on.

3. Are Men Necessary? – Maureen Dowd (1/8/06)
Blech. All I remember is not liking this very much. Methinks Ms. Dowd tries a bit too hard to stay young and hip. I’m a strong believer in aging gracefully, so I found it difficult to stomach.
4. Candy Girl – Diablo Cody (1/8/06)
I love a good stripper book. This was a good stripper book. I read it in one sitting and was very entertained.

5. Sex as a Second Language – Alisa Kwitney (1/9/06)
Reviewed for Library Journal. Passable chick lit.

6. Why Do Men Have Nipples? – Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg (1/10/06)
Informative, but I didn’t like anything that wasn’t question and answer. Another book that was easy to put down and pick up.

7. Everyone Worth Knowing – Lauren Weisberger (1/11/06)
Not as bad as everyone made it out to be. It wasn’t War and Peace, but you don’t expect The Great American Novel to be written as the follow-up to The Devil Wears Prada, do you? (I hope not.)

8. A Girl Named Zippy – Haven Kimmel (1/12/06)
Your mom would love this book. So would your grandma. And your mother-in-law. It was cute, but by the end I was ready to choke on it.

9. She Got Up Off the Couch – Haven Kimmel (1/16/06)
A one-two punch of cuteness. This was actually a little bit darker than A Girl Named Zippy, but your mom and grandma (and mother-in-law) would still love this. Keep this one in mind next time they ask you what to read next.

10. Balancing in High Heels – Eileen Rendahl (1/16/06)
More chick-lit. I read chick-lit when I work out at the gym. I can’t remember much about this one, which means I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it.

11. Holy Skirts – Rene Steinke (1/22/06)
An early contender for the best book I’ve read in 2006, and the best historical novel I’ve read since The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman. It’s a portrait of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, who was part of the surrealist movement around the turn of the century. (Think Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Ezra Pound. That group.) The English major in me felt really good when I recognized names like Jane Heap from the “Ezra Pound and the Imagist Movement” seminar that I basically slept through in college.

12. Lust for Live – Adele Parks (1/25/06)
Blech. An early contender for the WORST book of 2006, and one of the worst chick lit books I’ve ever read. And believe me, I’ve read some major clunkers.

13. Miss Misery – Andy Greenwald (1/27/06)
What is with indie rock boys and their obsession with the movie Fight Club? This is basically Fight Club, only with blogging in place of ass kicking. And yes, it is as wussy as it sounds. This book had a lot going for it (including the title–I’m a huge Elliott Smith fan) but was an absolute disappointment.

14. Bed Rest – Sarah Bilston (1/28/06)
Another Library Journal review book. Cute chick lit about a career woman sentenced to three months of bed rest due to her risky pregnancy.

15. Confessions of a Teen Sleuth – Chelsea Cain (1/28/06)
If you enjoyed Nancy Drew as a child, you will find this satire on the series absolutely hysterical. You’ll find it even funnier if you also read Cherry Ames. (I know I am technically too young to have read the Cherry Ames series, but my grandmother had them around her house and I would read everything that was available to me, so I read almost all of them.) It’s a quick read, too–maybe 130 pages–so if you’re looking for short and funny, here you go.

16. Happiness Sold Separately – Libby Street (1/29/06)
Once again, I don’t remember much about this, which means I neither loved it nor hated it.

17. The World According to Mimi Smartypants – Mimi Smartypants (1/30/06)
This was really, really funny. I tend to be skeptical of ultra-popular online journals, because I can’t really get into them as a rule. I might have to start reading this one, because the book was damn good. I don’t know that this was really fiction–I think it’s simply excerpts from her journal–but it’s one of the best “online writing in book form” books out there.

18. Bolt Risk – Ann Wood (1/31/06)
Nice girl dates nasty rock star, becomes stripper. Eh.

19. Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell (2/1/06)
I really want to dislike Sarah Vowell. Some of it is probably “why is she famous and I’m not” kind of petty jealousy, some of it is that I really dislike her preciously quirky persona. But you know what? I’ve liked all her books, so I can’t dislike her. Go figure. This would be good reading for high school American history classes, because she actually makes it fascinating for non-history wonks.

20. Snake Hips – Anne Thomas Soffee (2/4/06)
I read Soffee’s Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City in December of 2005, and I thought it was hilarious, so I picked this one up. It was an opportune time, as well, as I had just started bellydance classes and, well, this is a book about how bellydancing changed her life. It was every bit as good as Nerd Girl, so if you like memoirs that are sarcastic, funny, and not at all sappy, I recommend both of Soffee’s books.

21. Dog Days – Ana Marie Cox (2/8/06)
I will read pretty much any book by a weblogger, which means that I read a lot of really bad books by webloggers. I never really read Wonkette because, frankly, I find it hard to give a shit about the inner workings of Washington, D.C. Dog Days whooped the shit out of The Washingtonienne (not that that’s saying much, since The Washingtonienne was one of the worst books of 2005). This was surprisingly funny and engaging, and I really did enjoy it. Put this one in the “Blogger Book Hall of Fame.”

(last updated 2/11/2006)

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