Last year, I decided to do a "second look" at my reading list from ten years ago. I've secretly been thinking about doing it again ever since, because god knows I cannot assign myself enough Annual Posting Tradition Chains, particularly where it concerns books. But in my defense, I didn't start doing book surveys until 2011! There's a lot to reminisce about!
Also I guess there's some meme on Twitter where you compare a photo of yourself in 2009 vs. 2019, and since I don't really take or post photos of myself, can this be my version of it?
Reading List 2009: Ten Years Later
Age Then: 22-23
Not sure if I've added them all to Goodreads yet, but here is what I have on that site, for quick links to my reviews, since in 2009 I was still linking to Amazon on the LJ list. Italicized titles were 4 stars, bold titles were 5 stars and strikethrough = 1 star.
1. The Crumb - Jean Slaughter Doty. 122 pg/1976.
I still own this, because Doty, but I can confirm it is not among the top half of her books. I do remember the storyline well, though: the dark side of owning valuable show horses.
2. Top Horse of Crescent Ranch - Howard L. Hastings. 248 pg/1942.
I don't remember this one, even though I have possibly read it twice (!), and have been meaning to reread it for at least 5 years because I am so upset that it lacks a proper Goodreads summary, and since I own it, there is no good reason I could not be the one to provide it.
3. Magic Carpet Ride - Audrey McClellan. 240 pg/2005.
I will always remember this for a) being HILARIOUSLY BAD and b) how very, very strongly this guy was Kevin McKidd in my head.
4. Don't Kiss Them Good-bye [NF] - Allison DuBois. 224 pg/2005.
Truly only read because I was obsessed with "Medium." Would not be able to take it on now.
5. How NOT To Be Popular - Jennifer Ziegler. 239 pg/2008.
I don't remember anything specific about it, but I feel like it was worth my time.
6. Fix - Leslie Margolis. 241 pg/2006.
See above. Except I feel less strongly about its worth, despite rating it higher.
7. Go Figure - Jo Edwards. 271 pg/2007.
"Overweight girl trying to be happy with her life" stories would be so much more compelling if said girls had more interesting thoughts than "I want a boyfriend. Sex would be good."
I'M SORRY I COULDN'T WARN YOU, PAST ME. That's one good thing about Goodreads these days, if a book looks dodgy I can skim the reviews to decide if it should be thrown out unread.
8. Girl of the Moment - Lizabeth Zindel. 283 pg/2007.
Apparently I pictured the starlet as Miley Cyrus, in perhaps one of my earliest mental celebrity castings. I would consider reading this one again just to see how that lens holds up, though I'm surprised it rated above a 3.
9. Or Not - Brian Mandabach. 404 pg/2007.
I'm glad I read it but once was enough; it gave me way too many flashbacks to my AP History class and their constant bitchery about President Bush. I do like my short-n-sweet review, though.
10. Doctor Who: Shining Darkness - Mark Michalowski. 249 pg/2008.
I remember my review more strongly than the book. ("The Doctor/Donna banter? Excellent! Donna's characterization as a whole? Pretty good. The plot? Somewhere between a coffee grinder and American Idol on the scale of annoyance." Please know I have grown zero percent less annoyed by talk of whether artificial intelligence is different from human intelligence when it comes to sentience and rights, and I hope to god I die of old age before this conversation becomes reality in progressive circles.)
11. The Secret Life of Cowboys [NF] - Tom Groneberg. 272 pg/2003.
This was definitely a good memoir. I still think about it from time to time, especially now that I have read a fair bit more about Montana and have a better idea of what its weather is like.
12. Doctor Who: Ghosts of India - Mark Morris. 256 pg/2008.
Its biggest distinction is being the last Doctor Who novel I ever read.
13. Dirty Work - Julia Bell. 181 pg/2007.
Still think it LOOKED more interesting than it was. By the time I added it to Goodreads 3 years later, I had bumped it down to 3 stars.
14. Hurt Go Happy - Ginny Rorby. 261 pg/2006.
Good for what it was; I smile when I see it at sales, but you will never get me to read a novel featuring a primate twice.
15. Escape from Botany Bay: the true story of Mary Bryant - Gerald & Loretta Hausman. 220 pg/2003.
This is where/how I learned about this woman and her story.
16. Total Constant Order - Crissa Jean Chappell. 278 pg/2007.
I stand by my "the inferior version of Kissing Doorknobs" statement.
17. Eggs in the Coffee, Sheep in the Corn: My 17 Years as a Farmwife [NF] - Marjorie Meyer Douglas. 247 pg/1994.
I bought this book because I remembered enjoying it so much. Debating whether that is still true after ten years of buying great books. But the fact that it's Minnesota history from my most romanticized era (1943-1960) makes me think that I will keep it.
19. Alive and Well in Prague, New York - Daphne Grab. 256 pg/2008.
I swear my memory of this grows fonder with every passing year. I really want to reread this one, because only snatches of details drift back to me, but my review promises me nothing gross, I love its cover and compact size, and right now I'm really into stories about girls who've moved and have to start off at a new school, especially in a small town type of area. Honestly, if I see it at a library sale, I'm buying it.
20. Frost in May - Antonia White. 221 pg/1933.
Given to me by the English professor I worked for, I still haven't uploaded a photo of my (British!) edition's cover. Despite Past Me insisting otherwise, my feeling now is that the writing might have been a bit dry -- which is why ten years later, I still haven't read any of the sequels -- but I really treasure my pretty little book and have no plans to ever let go of it. Actually, come to think of it, if I haven't recced this to my mom, I probably should.
21. The Last Dog on Earth - Daniel Ehrenhaft. 234 pg/2003.
It's better than your average apocalyptic scenario and also your average Ehrenhaft novel, but worse than your average dog book and not worth a second look.
22. The Unrivalled Spangles - Karen Wallace. 219 pg/2005.
4 stars? Must have been one of those books where I was impressed by the writing quality or the fact that a historical novel held my interest so well, because I do remember it being better than most books on this list, but do I want to revisit / own it? I do not.
23. Secrets of my Suburban Life - Lauren Baratz-Logsted. 225 pg/2008.
Yep, this sure looks like the kind of average YA novel that was my reading bread and butter before I had tailored recs coming out my ears. (p.s. omg why I have I read so much Baratz-Logsted in my short life. why is she so prolific. nothing she's ever done has been outstanding, merely serviceable!)
24. White Girl - Sylvia Olsen. 235 pg/2004.
This is definitely more middle grade than YA, despite its placement in the latter, but I maintain that despite being a lower reading level, it's still a really good look at a white girl living on a reservation due to her stepfather's heritage, as well as what modern day reservation life looks like (at least in Canada). This one stands out in my memory well.
25. Cheating Lessons - Nan Willard Cappo. 234 pg/2002.
Past Me, literally what was good about this / how was it better than book 23.
27. Invincible Summer - Jean Ferris. 167 pg/1987.
The library has since purged this title, but I can't remember if I bought it at a library sale, or decided not to. Nevertheless, this was a really good and heatbreaking romance with a side of leukemia.
28. Breathe My Name - R.A. Nelson. 320 pg/2008.
This impressed me so much (I think as a thriller?), and yet even though I don't really remember it, I also don't want to read it again? Weird. Would still recommend, though.
29. How To Ruin My Teenage Life - Simone Elkeles. 281 pg/2007.
You! Whiny girl! Refusing to neuter your dog because it's "mean"! This is the only book from this trilogy I read, and I've flatly avoided its sisters ever since. (and also its cousins, from the summary of Perfect Chemistry alone. honestly, Elkeles is on the no-fly zone with me)
Legen - wait for it - dari - wait for it - ly bad. LE-GEN-DARI-LY BAD! See also: my review of it.
31. My Sister's Bones - Cathi Hanauer. 258 pg/1996.
Me: "I think this might actually be an adult title I will enjoy!" // This book: "Haha you sweet summer child."
2 stars was generous.
32. Savage Sam - Fred Gipson. 214 pg/1962.
Good, quality classic. Always surprised to realize it isn't older. Still own it.
33. Girl With a Baby - Sylvia Olsen. 203 pg/2003.
Not as good as White Girl, and felt more like a teaching book (again, the middle grade is showing), but still worth a read.
34. Model Student: A Tale of Co-eds and Cover Girls - Robin Hazelwood. 390 pg/2006.
One of the first "adult books" I really enjoyed. I can see why, as it was fairly fun despite the dark parts, though I am also glad I didn't stay real long in chick lit.
35. Remember This - S.T. Underdahl. 288 pg/2008.
Didn't make a strong impression then or now, but it was well written and easy to recommend for all age readers of YA, and safe for the preteen end.
36. Waiter Rant [NF] - Steve Dublanica. 320 pg/2008.
Worth reading at the time, would not read again. Dude was too joyless in between funny stories. Though I will say that when I'm editing mystery shop surveys for high-end restaurants where the tip is sometimes the size of me + boyfriend's whole dinner bill, I think about his description of working in them.
37. What Erika Wants - Bruce Celements. 224 pg/2005.
Booooooored. But at least Goodreads won't recommend it to me now that it knows what I think of it.
38. The Wish House - Celia Rees. 272 pg/2006.
Still think it would work better as a movie. Be a movie already! Or at least, somebody adapt something Celia Rees has done!
39. First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover - Mitali Perkins. 192 pg/2007.
This was such a good book to introduce to the YA world, particularly one that had not met the First Family of Obamas yet. Even a few months into his presidency, when I read it, it was still really solid. I'm proud of it. I feel like it was ahead of the We Need Diverse Books / Own Voices game so I bring it up on those lists whenever possible if it isn't already there.
40. Starlet - Randi Reisfeld. 289 pg/2007.
Worth reading once as a beach read; never did read any follow-up books or even look them up to see what happened.
41. Click - David Almond et. al. 209 pg/2007.
I gave this ALL THE STARS when I read it, my review is glowing, and at one point I bought it...but a few years later, I couldn't remember anything about it except that the stories were interconnected, so I sold it off during the Great Book Purge of 2017.
42. Baby - Joseph Monniger. 173 pg/2007.
I don't often outgrow authors who write at least middle grade level, but I have outgrown Monniger.
43. Last Chance for Paris - Sylvia McNicoll. 204 pg/2008.
Such a good middle grade novel. I found this for someone on What's The Name of That Book?? too, I think. Or would have before someone beat me to it. Not sure I need to reread or even own it, though.
44. Waiting for Sarah - Bruce McBay & James Heneghan. 170 pg/2003.
I visualized my high school (senior campus) library and its collection of yearbooks SO HARD while reading this. Not sure I'd read this again either, though.
45. Pictures in the Dark - Patricia McCord. 288 pg/2004.
I know it was about having an abusive mother and set in the 1950s suburbs, but do not recall specific details.
46. Chloe Doe - Suzanne Phillips. 188 pg/2007.
I remember so little about this that when somebody asked about it on What's The Name of That Book??, I didn't recognize it at all, even after someone else identified it. The setting is either juvie or rehab, I forget which. Or both.
47. Everything Beautiful in the World - Lisa Levchuk. 203 pg/2008.
HAHAHA, my legendary trashbag introduction to the world of student/teacher novels, as inspired by the Glee pilot! It's terrible and I love it. Still own it. Should remember what box it's in so I can look at it again. I also really love this title and it's probably a reference to something, but I want it known that I use this phrasing in my head a lot, with or without substituting different words in for "beautiful," especially when I'm writing / titling blog posts.
48. The Iceberg Hermit - Arthur Roth. 219 pg/1974.
It's a beat-up paperback but I still own it, just because this is such a unique adventure.
49. Baby-Snatcher - Susan Terris. 234 pg/1984.
It's so TRERRIBLE that I had to keep it. FOR THE MELODRAMZ.
50. One Step at a Time - Deborah Kent. 198 pg/1989.
I just can't bring myself to split up the garage-sale set of Apple Scholastic paperbacks, so I still own this too. It's a worthwhile kids' book about getting a guide dog.
51. Blind Faith- Ellen Witlinger. 280 pg/2006.
Own it. I'm debating whether or not to keep it, because I gave it glowing praise but it didn't leave a strong enough impression on me to think I need to revisit it ever.
52. Forever In Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares. 384 pg/2007.
I...REALLY need to reread this series. I kept saving it, planning to do the reread when I was 29 so I could immediately read the adult sequel and understand where the characters were at in life, but 29 came and went before I remembered it existed. And now I actually have this one in both physical book form AND audiobook, but I'm mired in that rapturous state of "the first book meant so much to me; am I ready to experience this whole series again? Knowing how well it will start and yet also all the pain it will end up causing me by the end?" and so that'll probably continue until I'm, like, 40. Which is the age I am closer to now than the age I was when I read this book, OH GOD.
53. A Year in the Merde - Stephen Clarke. 304 pg/2004.
This was a hoot and a half, and not one I will ever read again probably, due to its crass nature.
54. Street Pharm - Allison Van Diepen. 306 pg/2006.
This was pretty much the end of my reading YA novels about drug problems, which were a not-insignificant part of my high school reading material, I suppose because I enjoyed feeling superior to my dumbass fictional peers (and by extension, the real-life peers they represented).
55. Going for the Record - Julie Swanson. 217 pg/2004.
High-quality read. If I ever need to sob for a lot of hours, I'll read it again.
56. Creepers - Joanne Dahme. 232 pg/2008.
It is probably not as amazing as I thought it was on first read, but I haven't tested this theory. The fact remains that it is a beautiful work of art and I own a signed copy that is going nowhere.
57. Bowery Girl - Kim Taylor. 223 pg/2006.
Past Me says it's better than I think it is; I'll trust her. Best memory here is that the author commented on my review.
58. Last Kiss - John Ripslinger. 268 pg/2007.
Was this about murder? I forget. (lmao, I didn't even remember enough 3 years later to write a Goodreads review.)
59. Ivy - Julie Hearn. 351 pg/2008.
I LOVE U, IVY. I own this now and sometimes I see it sitting on the floor (where it lives for lack of other space) and I just pick it up and hug it, a feeling I keep alive by occasionally paging through it and confirming, yes, this is a wonderful tome of heft and historical brilliance. Possibly best book I read that year?
60. Brooklyn Bridge - Karen Hesse & Chris Sheban. 240 pg/2008.
Blergh, boy books.
61. Silent Echoes - Carla Jablonski. 288 pg/2007.
One of the rare historical novels (or half-historical; there are two timelines) where I remember it vividly as standing out above the pack. I even remember the ending*! Mostly because I've always wished that kind of thing could be true, whether as the person in the past or the present. I was surprised I never found this at a library sale; I had hoped to buy it and kinda still do.
*(at least I THINK it's the end of this book -- the girl in the past had hidden some stamps or coins or something, giving the girl in the present a windfall upon finding them)
62. Dirty Laundry - Daniel Ehrenhaft. 227 pg/2009.
SO BOARD. (it's a pun because this is set at a boreding school)
63. In the Merde for Love - Stephen Clarke. 400 pg/2006.
"It's like Wonder Bread - low quality and of no nutritional value, but you can't stop (reading) them anyway."
64. Artichoke's Heart - Suzanne Supplee. 276 pg/2008.
I have declined to buy this at library sales, but I nod and smile at it in recognition of its quality.
65. Broken Days (Quilt Trilogy no.2) - Ann Rinaldi. 273 pg/1995.
A solid historical novel, probably would have enjoyed it more in middle school though.
66. Planet Janet - Dyan Sheldon. 223 pg/2002.
This book apparently has a sequel; less interested I could not be.
67. Painting Caitlyn - Kimberly Joy Peters. 189 pg/2006.
This book apparently also has a sequel, and I am decidedly interested in it, per Past Me's analysis of it being a Teaching Novel "endearingly like someone's creative writing thesis." The sequel looks like less of a Lesson Book and more about romance.
68. Hacking Harvard - Robin Wasserman. 320 pg/2007.
Was worth reading but I feel like this plot is just a cliche at this point.
69. Enthusiasm - Polly Shulman. 198 pg/2006.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, always recommended and eventually bought it, but later got rid of it when I realized I didn't actually want to reread it.
70. A Girl Named Disaster - Nancy Farmer. 293 pg/1996.
Really wish I'd read this in 5th or 6th grade / at the same time as Island of the Blue Dolphins, since my present reaction is "oh. Africa," but don't let that take away from what a quality book that I will recommend to anyone at the drop of a hat this is.
71. Same Difference - Siobhan Vivian. 287 pg/2009.
Summer art school! I'm high-fiving this book for existing, and I think it was a really great time to read this since as I mentioned in my review, it reminded me a fair bit of what Pam Beesley at art school would have been like, despite the character being a teen. Siobhan here is such a dependable author of quality YA.
72. Saving Grace - Katherine Spencer. 246 pg/2006.
Original review: "It is not often that you have completely neutral feelings about a book. This is one of those times." I think it had some kind of weird angel character?
73. The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies - Lizabeth Zindel. 288 pg/2008.
I really do not remember this book's plot at all. It was fun in the moment / fine?
74. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen. 488 pg/1814.
As I mentioned a little while ago -- really glad I read this then (I specifically remember I read a lot of it during our garage sale that I ran in that summer I didn't have a job), since the internet has brainwashed me into thinking it might be boring if I read it again. I still love Fanny! And she's always gonna be Billie Piper in my head!
75. Merde Happens - Stephen Clarke. 393 pg/2007.
76. Chanda's Wars - Allan Stratton. 377 pg/2008.
Not as good as Chanda's Secrets and definitely will never read again, but would still recommend to anyone who's interested, especially teens.
77. Killing Britney - Sean Olin. 234 pg/2005.
The book that made "Harper's Island in a YA novel" a thing that I both now look for, and sometimes say in reviews. Pictured Brittany Murphy as the main character.
78. Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance [NF] - Martin Gurdon. 155 pg/2003.
Awwwww that book about pet chickens with the clever title. Cute.
79. The Winter Road - Terry Hokenson. 175 pg/2006.
I called this a "decent survival/adventure story" and really wish I could remember why. I guess she survives a plane crash? In the Canadian bush?
80. Notes on a Near-Life Experience - Olivia Birdsall. 257 pg/2007.
I LEGIT CANNOT REMEMBER A SINGLE THING ABOUT THIS. There's a dysfunctional family? I keep picturing a teenage Olivia Munn?
81. Violet & Claire - Francesca Lia Block. 169 pg/1999.
I called it one of if not my very favorite FLB books. I can't precisely remember why. But I bought a copy at a used book sale and still own it because of that. What can I say, it's a compact book with a nice cover.
82. December Stillness - Mary Downing Hahn. 181 pg/1988.
I own this in paperback because I still think it's a great representation of encountering Vietnam war vets when they were the most recent combat-zone veterans to be found. And also it's a good example of an 80s teen novel that really feels like YA, not a juvenile book that happens to have teen characters, the way a lot of the mass-produced paperbacks of the era do.
83. Vidalia in Paris - Sasha Watson. 282 pg/2008.
I had so much fun punching this book out.
84. Gone - Michael Grant. 588 pg/2008.
god am I glad I did not attempt a second one of these behemoths. Gladder still that this series promptly got drowned out by Twilight movies and Hunger Games and never achieved the same pop culture traction, despite doing well sales-wise.
85. Everything You Want - Barbara O'Shoup. 207 pg/2008.
One of my two fave books about teenage lottery winners. I think I own this one. Thinking about it makes me smile.
86. The Slave Dancer - Paula Fox. 176 pg/1973.
Really wanted this to be better than it was.
87. Runaway - Wendelin Van Draanen. 245 pg/2006.
I've reread this book since then and I would read it again, despite the scattered poetry that keep it from being 5 stars. Holly is such a memorably scrappy character. Can't forget her trying to live in a refrigerator box.
88. Itch - Michelle Kwasney. 236 pg/2008.
Don't remember much. Trying to figure out what even made me read this; it must have been shelved in YA because I wasn't looking in the juvenile section that year, but it looks more like middle grade, and my memory is of it feeling rather too young.
89. Half-Breed - Evelyn Sibley Lampman. 261 pg/1967.
MY BEAUTIFUL JUVENILE HISTORICAL NOVEL with a title that people are getting afraid to say even in reference on social media these days. It's wild to me that this term, while always derogatory, is rapidly approaching "slur" territory despite how common its use was in both the actual past and in historical novels set there. Anyway, I still own this, and I can't believe it continues to have like zero presence on Goodreads. Y'all are missing out on a good 19th century story about outsider relatives bonding and making a place for themselves in a hostile world of conformity.
I get angry every time I even see this cover or think about its dumb and pointless writing.
91. Bad Tickets - Kathleen O'Dell. 232 pg/2007.
I was delighted by the scandalous rebel teen when I read it, in ways I rarely am about scandalous rebel teens. I don't think I'd be quite so in love with it now, but I'm glad I read it.
92. Hippie Chick - Joseph Monninger. 156 pg/2008.
Seriously, I've outgrown this guy, even though "rescue manatees" does sound neat.
93. Strange Relations - Sonia Levitin. 298 pg/2007.
YOUR RELATIVES ARE WEIRDOS and you're a
94. Bringing the Boy Home - N.A. Nelson. 211 pg/2008.
Another early TV casting success: the woman in this book is Sara Sidle and none can convince me otherwise.
95. The Dogs Who Found Me [NF] - Ken Foster. 177 pg/2006.
Still a better concept than actual book.
96. Plague - Jean Ure. 218 pg/1991.
Oh yes, that terrifyingly plausible post-apocalyptic pandemic story. You haunt me. I love it. There are plenty of this type of story nowadays, but because this one is older, it feels...I don't know, more serious. More real. It's hard to explain but it did a real good number on my head. I think about rereading it sometimes and then I remember how freaked out it made me, even though I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic stories caused by pandemics since then.
97. Phoning A Dead Man - Gillian Cross. 252 pg/2001.
I NEED TO REREAD THIS. I still love how well it matched up with the story I wanted to write as part of the future in My Great Big Complext Fictional Universe, and I want to relive that. The library actually still has it!! I really need to get to it before they cull it. [2020 edit: I did not get to it before they culled it.]
ANGRY MEMORIES. What a brat of an MC.
99. The Patron Saint of Butterflies - Cecilia Galante. 292 pg/2008.
A really solid story that I recommend all over, but once was enough as far as reading it goes.
100. Waiting for Normal - Leslie Connor. 290 pg/2008.
A strong contender on my "best books of 2008" list, as well as "best books read in 2009." I own this and should think about rereading it.
101. Cassandra's Sister: Growing Up Jane Austen - Veronica Bennett. 229 pg/2007.
"If she wrote such fantastic novels, how do depictions of her real life always turn out so dull? This one in particular suffered from periodic bursts of awkward, overly forced feminism."
Pictured above: the reason I groan every time I see the library hasn't culled this yet. (WHATAYA WAITING FOR)
102. Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies - Erin Dionne. 243 pg /2009.
Cute if slightly forgettable middle grade.
103. Wherever Nina Lies - Lynn Weingarten. 316 pg/2009.
A good single-read thriller that I always, always confuse as either being a book written by Nina LaCour, or the title Where the Truth Lies unless I stop and think hard about the cover.
104. What Happened to Cass McBride? - Gail Giles. 211 pg/2006.
Unforgettable title. Somewhat more forgettable plot.
105. Nailed - Patrick Jones. 216 pg/2006.
I regret spending time on this boredom. I also always confuse this as being a book written by Patrick Ness, which in turns makes me avoid his books.
106. Zero - Diane Tullson. 178 pg/2006.
Eh, a plain and simple "intro to anorexia" novel.
107. Feral - Bev Cooke. 197 pg/2008.
I was impressed by the writing style at the time, but not enough to buy it when I saw it for sale on the library sale cart.
108. The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose - Mary Hooper. 334 pg/2006.
Awwww, my beloved "the girl on this book cover looks kind of like Kat McPhee" title, a fact which, after this summer, has only made me want to reread this more. I remember the setting being very vivid in this one. Honestly, at this point in time, I'd say it's probably one of the top 5 I read that year. Maybe should upgrade Goodreads rating.
109. Teach Me - R.A. Nelson. 264 pg/2005.
Fun facts: I pictured the girl as a teenage version of Survivor: Tocantins' first-boot Carolina, given their shared first name. It absolutely delighted me at the time as a vast improvement over Everything Beautiful in the World as far as student/teacher stories go, though like Nelson's other title, the love has faded with time. I'm glad I read it when I did.