365 Books: A Year of Mourning and of Joy

Fourteen years ago, my oldest sister died of cancer. Three years later, I began a year of reading a book a day as a way to cope with my grief. The intense reading brought me out of the pits of sorrow and showed me that I was not alone in my experiences of loss, sadness, guilt, and uncertainty. The writers that I read shared with me their own visions of how the world is, and brought me back to a place where I could see the future while also remembering the past.

As I wrote in my memoir of reading a book a day, “life is hard, unfair, painful. But life is also guaranteed — one hundred percent, no doubt, no question — to offer unexpected and sudden moments of beauty, joy, love, acceptance, euphoria. The good stuff. It is our ability to recognize and then hold on to the moments of good stuff that allows us to survive, even thrive. And when we can share the beauty, hope is restored.”

I carry my sister with my always, and although I will never be reconciled to her loss, the writers I read restored to me the ability to find whatever joy the world has in it, to share what I find, and to endure as best I can — and fight against — misery, inequity, and despair. I still turn to books for comfort, escape, wisdom, and strength. To quote from the wonderful writer Tatjana Soli, from her book The Lotus Eaters, “…after so much had been taken, so must could still be received.”

Complete List of Books Read From October 28, 2008 –October 28, 2009

20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

A Celibate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard

A Curtain of Green by Eudora Welty

A Dead Man in Barcelona by Michael Pearce

A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Great Day for a Ballgame by Fielding Dawson

A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias

A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

A Rogue’s Life by Wilkie Collins

A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert

A Smile of Fortune by Joseph Conrad

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

A Sun for the Dying by Jean Claude Izzo

A Terrible Splendor by Marshall Jon Fisher

A Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles

A Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles

A Toast to Tomorrow by Manning Coles

About Schmidt by Louis Begley

Act of the Damned by Antonio Lobo Antunes

Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor

Algren at Sea by Nelson Algren

Alice Fantastic by Maggie Estep

All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

All Souls by Christine Schutt

All That I Have by Castle Freeman Jr.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Amphibian by Carla Gunn

Ancient Shore by Shirley Hazzard

Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez

Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

Are You Somebody? By Nula O’Faolain

Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon by Nancy Atherton

Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett

Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin

Bellwether by Connie Willis

Better by John O’Brien

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates

Blank by Noah Tall

Bombay Time by Thrity Umrigar

Boston Noir edited by Dennis Lehane

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

By Chance by Martin Corrick

Bye, Bye Soccer by Edilberto Coutinho

Call Me Ahab by Anne Finger

Camera by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Castle Nowhere by Constance Fenimore Woolson

Charles Dickens by Melissa Limaszewski and Melissa Gregory

Cheese by Willem Elsschot

Christmas in Plains by Jimmy Carter

Climate of Fear by Wole Soyinka

Conjugal Love by Alberto Moravia

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace

Cooking and Screaming by Adrienne Kane

Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Crusader’s Cross by James Lee Burke

Dangerous Games by Margaret MacMillan

Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

Dead Giveaway by Simon Brett

Dead Horse by Walter Satterthwait

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Death Rites by Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett

Death etc. by Harold Pinter

Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton

Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

Delhi Noir edited by Hirsh Sawhney

Desperate Characters by Paula Fox

Disquiet by Julia Leigh

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

Dogs, Dreams, and Men by Joan Kaufman

Double-Click for Trouble by Chris Woodworth

Dreamers by Knut Hamsun

Drink to Yesterday by Manning Coles

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Escape Under The Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem

Esther’s Inheritance by Sandor Marai

Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues by Blaize Clement

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Explorers of the New Century by Magnus Mills

Facing the Bridge by Yoko Tawada

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

Family Business by Laurie Colwin

Female Trouble by Antonya Nelson

Fiendish Deeds by P.J. Bracegirdle

Fight Scenes by Greg Bottoms

Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx

For Grace Received by Valeria Parrella

Forty Stories by Donald Barthleme

Frida’s Bed by Slavenka Drakulic

Gerald Keegan’s Famine Diary by James Mangan

GirlBoyGirl by Savannah Koop

Godlike by Richard Hell

Gold by Dan Rhodes

Good Behavior by Molly Keane

Grief by Andrew Holleran

Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno

Half in Love by Maile Meloy

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Happens All the Time by Isabel Gillies

Her Deadly Mischief by Beverle Graves Myers

Housekeeping versus the Dirt by Nick Hornby

How I Became A Nun by Cesar Aira

How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

I Love Dollars by Zhu Wen

I Was Dora Suarez by Derek Raymond

In Her Absence by Antonio Munoz Molina

In Time of Peace by Thomas Boyd

Indignation by Philip Roth

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

In the Meantime by Robin Lippincott

In the Pond by Ha Jin

In the Woods by Tana French

Iron Balloons, edited by Colin Channer

Iron Balloons edited by Colin Channer

Jacob’s Hands by Aldous Huxley and Christopher Isherwood

Jerusalem by Selma Lagerlof

John Crow’s Devil by Marlon James

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Krapp’s Last Cassette by Anne Argula

Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

Last Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan

Laura Rider’s Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos

Love and Death by Forrest Church

Madame De Stael, The First Modern Woman by Francine Du Plessix Gray

Make No Bones by Aaron Elkins

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

Marley and Me by John Grogan

Masterpiece by Elise Broach

Meat Eaters and Plant Eaters by Jessica Treat

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West

Miss Misery by Andy Greenwald

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones

Murder by Installment by A.C. Baantjer

Murder in the Calais Coach by Agatha Christie

Murder is My Racquet by Otto Penzler

My House in Umbria by William Trevor

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglas

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Newton by Peter Ackroyd

Nobody Move by Denis Johnson

Nothing to Be Frightened of by Julian Barnes

Oh Joe by Michael Z. Lewin

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

On Kindness by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor

One Dog Happy by Molly McNett

One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash

Onitsha by J.M.G. LeCLezio

On the Line by Serena Williams and Daniel Paisner

On the Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt

Out of Captivity by Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, Tom Howes, Gary Brozek

Pastoralia by George Saunders

Payback by Margaret Atwood

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Petey and Pussy by John Kerschbaum

Pilate’s Wife by H.D.

Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

Poisonville by Massimo Carlotto and Marco Videtta

Polaris by Fay Weldon

Pressure is a Privilege by Billie Jean King

Pulpy and Midge by Jessica Westhead

Rage by Sergio Bizzio

Rancho Weirdo by Laura Chester

Respected Sir by Naguib Mahfouz

Revelation by C.J. Sanson

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Rhino Ranch by Larry McMurtry

Rimbaud by Edmund White

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth

Rome Noir edited by Chiara Stangalino and Maxim Jakubowski

Ronald Reagan by Andrew Helfer, illustrated by Steve Bucellato and Joe Staton

Roseanna by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

Ruins by Achy Obejas

Russian Journal by Andrea Lee

Salvation and Other Disasters by Josip Novakovich

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

Self’s Murder by Berhard Schlink

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann

Six Kinds of Sky by Luis Alberto Urrea

Smile as They Bow by Nu Nu Yi

Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz

Something Nasty In The Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli

Somewhere Towards the End by Dianna Athill

Songs My Mother Never Taught Me by Selcuk Altun

Son of Holmes by John Lescroart

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Spooner by Pete Dexter

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stealing Children by Peg Kehret

Stitches by David Small

Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh

Ten Poems to Set You Free by Roger Housden

The 6th Target by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The Abbot’s Ghost by Louisa May Alcott

The African Queen by C.S. Forester

The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Assault by Harry Mulisch

The Believers by Zoe Heller

The Best Place to Be by Lesley Dormen

The Body Artist by Don Delillo

The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Calling by Mary Gray Hughes

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

The Council of the Cursed by Peter Tremayne

The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almudena Solana

The Curse of Eve by Liliana Blum

The Darts of Cupid by Edith Templeton

The Deer Leap by Martha Grimes

The Detective Wore Silk Drawers by Peter Lovesy

The Devil’s Tickets by Gary M. Pomerantz

The Diamond Girls by Jacqueline Wilson

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith

The Door to Bitterness by Martin Limon

The Duppy by Anthony C. Winkler

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Emigrants by WG Sebald

The Emperor’s Tomb by Joseph Roth

The English Major by Jim Harrison

The Fairacre Festival by Miss Read

The Faithful Lover by Massimo Bontempelli

The Fall by Albert Camus

The Famous Flower of Serving Men by Deborah Grabien

The Ferguson Affair by Ross Macdonald

The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

The First Person by Ali Smith

The Forged Coupon by Leo Tolstoy

The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield

The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Good Life According to Hemingway by A.E. Hotchner

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

The Granny by Brendan O’Carroll

The Grotesque by Patrick McGrath

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain

The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain by Charles Dickens

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Hollow-Eyed Angel by Janwillem van de Wetering

The House Beautiful by Alison Burnett

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The House on Eccles Road by Judith Kitchener

The Howling Miller by Arto Paasalinna

The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette by R.T. Raichev

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey

The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta

The Kind and the Cowboy by David Fromkin

The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters

The Laws of Evening by Mary Yukari Waters

The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith

The Lost Prophecies by C.J. Sansom, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Michael Jecks, Susanna Gregory, and Philip Gooden

The Love Song of Monkey by Michael S.A. Graziano

The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh

The Love of the Last Hollywood Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill

The Man of My Life by Manual Vazquez Montalban

The Master of Petersburg by J.M. Coetzee

The Mercy Papers by Robin Romm

The Moon Opera by Bi Feiyu

The Musical Illusionist by Alex Rose

The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainier Maria Rilke

The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy

The Open Door by Elizabeth Maguire

The Orchid Shroud by Michelle Wan

The Palestinian Lover by Selim Nassib

The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri

The Peregrine by J.A. Baker

The Perfectionists by Gail Godwin

The Picts and The Martyrs by Arthur Ransome

The Pisstown Chaos by David Ohle

The Plated City by Bliss Perry

The Poorhouse Fair by John Updike

The Poorhouse Fair by John Updike

The Private Patient by P.D. James

The Provincial Lady in London by E.M. Delafield

The Public Prosecutor by Jef Geeraerts

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Rules of Engagement by Anita Brookner

The Salt-Box House by Jane de Forest Shelton

The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

The Servants’ Quarters by Lynn Freed

The Session by Aaron Petrovich

The Seven Deadly Sins, by Angus Wilson, Edith Sitwell, Cyril Connelly, W.H. Auden, Patrick Leigh Fermor

The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapucinski

The Simulacra by Philip K. Dick

The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis

The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis

The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano

The Slippery Year by Melanie Gideon

The Spoke by Friedrich Glauser

The Sun Field by Heywood Braun

The Sun Field by Heywood Braun

The Swap by Antony Moore

The Tempest Tales by Walter Mosley

The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

The Three of Us by Julia Blackburn

The Tomb in Seville by Norman Lewis

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton

The Unknown Masterpiece, and Gambara, by Honore Balzac

The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder by John Bellairs (with John Strickland)

The Venice Train by Georges Simenon

The Vicar of Sorrows by A.N. Wilson

The Weekend by Peter Cameron

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo

The Wright Three by Blue Balliet

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Yellow Leaves by Frederick Buechner

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

To Siberia by Per Petterson

Towards the End of Morning by Michael Frayn

Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

Two Marriages by Phillip Lopate

Under the Frangipani by Mia Couto

Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers

Victorian Tales of Terror, edited by Hugh Lamb

Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer

Waiting in Vain by Colin Channer

Wake by Lisa McMann

Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan

War Dances by Sherman Alexie

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Watership Down by Richard Adams

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

What I’d Say to the Martians by Jack Handey

When You are Engulfed by Flames by David Sedaris

Where 3 Roads Meet by John barth

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf

Where the Money Went by Kevin Canty

Wilful Misbehavior by Donna Leon

Will War Ever End? by Paul K. Chappell

Will Work for Drugs by Lydia Lunch

Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert

Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen