Saturday, December 26, 2009

Annual Book and Movie Ratings

Although the end of the year is still a few days away, I'm going to go ahead and list my annual book and movie ratings. I don't expect to finish any more books by the end of the year and I may still see another movie or two, but I'll just include them in 2010. The ratings are based on five stars being the highest. The books are ones I have read or listened to this year, some of them for the second or third time. I read (or listened to) a record number of books this year, 67, up from last year's record of 61. Twenty-one were non-fiction; 46 were fiction.

Some of the books were short, but there were also some long ones, topped by Part II of The Man Without Qualities, by Robert Musil, which came in at 1,067 pages. (That's a book that is probably deep, but it is so deep that I don't know it's deep.) I think the reason for my increasing number of books is that I watched practically no television last year. I have to watch The Office, but that's about it, except for a few Illinois football and basketball games. My number will probably go down in 2010, as we just signed up for AT&T's UVerse package, which includes telephone, internet and 200 cable channels. With that many channels, there must be some television worth watching, although I'm not holding my breath.

My book of the year is Saturday, by Ian McEwan.


Five Stars

Political Fictions, Joan Didion
Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver
Rabbit Run, John Updike
Saturday, Ian McEwan
Indignation, Philip Roth
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
Road Dogs, Elmore Leonard
I Married A Communist, Philip Roth
Fine Just Like It Is: Short Stories, Annie Proulx
Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
The Omnivore's Dilemna, Michael Pollan
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
The Age of Lincoln, Orville Vernon Burton
Fire In The Blood, Irene Nemirovsky
The Nine, Jeffrey Toobin
All The King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
Terrorist, John Updike
Homeland And Other Stories, Barbara Kingsolver
Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
The Stranger, Albert Camus
Short Stories of John Cheever, John Cheever

Four Stars

After Henry, Joan Didion
The Plague of Doves, Louise Erdrich
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Burbery
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Descartes' Bones, Russell Shorto
Naked, David Sedaris
The Financier, Theodore Dreiser
Where The Roots Reach For Water, Jeffrey Smith
The Source, James Michener
Soldiers' Pay, William Faulkner
In The Company of Cheerful Ladies, Alexander McCall Smith
The Sound and The Fury, William Faulkner
Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Summons, John Grisham
Oh, What A Slaughter, Larry McMurtry
Taft, Ann Patchett
The Power of Now, Eckhardt Tolle
The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
Too Politically Sensitive, Michale Callaghan
Tender At The Bone, Ruth Reichl
A Gate At The Stairs, Lorrie Moore
The Humbling, Philip Roth
Up In Honey's Room, Elmore Leonard

Three Stars

The Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Rabbit Redux, John Updike
Where I Was From, Joan Didion
Mosquitos, William Faulkner
Flags In The Dust, William Faulkner
Mummy, Daniel Curley
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, Alexander McCall Smith
44 Stockholm Street, Alexander McCall Smith
His Excellency: George Washington, Joseph Ellis
Shanghai Girls, Lisa See
The Villa of Reduced Circumstances, Alexander McCall Smith
The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, Alexander McCall Smith
Three Cups of Tea, Craig Mortensen
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon
The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil
Rhino Ranch, Larry McMurtry

Two Stars

The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon
Beethoven, Edmund Morris
Slowly Down The Ganges, Eric Newby
Sounding, Hank Searls
Leave Me Alone I'm Reading, Maureen Corrigan

One Star

Haven, Iodine Kimmel


I saw 42 movies year in theaters, down a few from the 44 I saw in 2008. I saw a few movies on DVD, but I don't count those because that's not the real movie experience.

Five Stars Plus

The Reader

Five Stars

Gran Torino
My Winnipeg
Begging Naked
Frozen River
An Education
A Serious Man

Four Stars

The Class
Sunshine Cleaning
The Last Command
The Fall
Sita Sings The Blue
Good Bye Solo
The Hangover
Away We Go
Julie and Julia
The Informant
The Bicycle Thief

Three Stars

Trouble The Water
Let The Right One In
The Soloist
Easy Virtue
Whatever Works
Public Enemies
The Ugly Truth
Food, Inc
Cold Souls

Two Stars

Nothing But The Truth
Year One
Pirate Radio

One Star

Night At The Museum II


forsythia said...

I was so horrified/turned off by Ian McEwan's AMSTERDAM that I don't know if I want to chance another book, 5-star or not.

Crockhead said...

I haven't read that one, Forsythia. Some of McEwan's books are pretty intense, but he is such a good writer. "Saturday" is suspenseful, a genre that I don't usually appreciate that much, but this one is so well done.

PG said...

I'm OK with your lists.

Anonymous said...

It was the year of William Faulkner, more Joan Didion, Philip Roth and Barbara Kingslover for you; I've read a lot this year and many that I would recommend but surprisingly very few matched your list.

I've loved EVERYTHING that I've read of Ian McEwan (but I haven't read them all)

rdl said...

Wow, commendable!! maybe you can add patry's new one to next years list- when it comes out. :D

Crockhead said...

Thank you PG for keeping your criticisms to yourself.

I've shown you mine, Anonymous Becky, let's see yours. You have good taste, I would probably like some of them.

RDL, I didn't know Patry was coming out with a new one. I will definitely buy it. Is it fiction or non-fiction. What she has gone through in the last few years and her attitude towards it would definitely make a good book. Wish her a Happy New Year for me.

PG said...

Didn't withhold criticism; just didn't have any to give. (All critics must be ready to accept criticism, though. Otherwise, it's way hypocritical.)

Thought you might be interested in this: Worst Movie of the Decade -- CRASH

sarala said...

What a list! I haven't read or viewed most of them. The movies isn't such a big deal since I never find the time but I'm feeling guilty for not reading more modern literature. Then again maybe we just have slightly different tastes. I'll have to swing by for an occasional recommendation.
Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words.