Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 12.10.2009


Winter Reading
There’s never enough time.

That’s the annual refrain around here when Winter Reading rolls around, when books requested late in the game start piling up and threatening to topple off desks, couches, any relatively flat surfaces within reach of a reasonably comfortable chair. We organize them in piles in order of resistability: This I can wait on; this I must read now; this I should have read yesterday.

But eventually, we have to stop reading and start writing — though not before a few last discussions of the books that got away (for now). Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City is still in one to-read pile; Colum McCann’s National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin partly listened to on Thanksgiving car rides; Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, still on hold at the library. We’re impatiently awaiting the one fiction finalist for the Oregon Book Award we haven’t yet reviewed, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner (it’s out in February).

Our Winter Reading list doesn’t purport to be a best of the year list, but we do try to fill it with books we recommend, from nonfiction books about green chemistry to novels about imaginary robots to Washington treasure Sherman Alexie’s latest, a collection of short stories and poems. We’ve highlighted a few Oregon books we haven’t had a chance to finish yet, and we tried to be brief while discussing an engaging (and, in one case, infuriating) quartet of sequels to some of last year’s best young adult fantasy.

And we’ve got so much more to read. Happy winter, happy reading; may your toes be warm and your books be enthralling. — Molly Templeton

Unless otherwise noted, all books included in Winter Reading were published in 2009. If you’re looking for Northwest authors, look for the small icons of Oregon and Washington next to the author’s name.



Fiction & Poetry

Short Stories


Skipping the Sophmore Slump

Tough Choices
Graphic novel recommendations for 2009 

A Few  More New Books From Oregon Authors



Unless otherwise noted, all books included in Winter Reading were published in 2009