At the end of the year, I go through my list and note the highlights from each month. This year I didn't have the luxury of reading on the bus at all so my decline in book reading has continued - a measly 12 this year, compared to last year's 22 and the year before's 42! I've also become the type to read most of a book, but only the parts I find interesting or necessary. Obviously this applies to non-fiction, which I am reading more of these days.
So here is the (brief) Third Annual Read List! (First ARL can be found here and second one here.).
- Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - This is one of my favorite movies, and not only because the incredibly sexy Eugene Hutz is in it, I promise.
You know how with books made into movies, one is always way better than the other? (And it's usually the book.) Well in this case, I am happy to say that they are both great, and for different reasons! The movie is no less awesome after having read the book. And the book is laugh-out-loud hilarious. The way JSF uses language is delightful! Has anyone read is other works? I know they are very different but I would be interested in giving them a go.
- Pavilion of Women by Pearl S Buck -A reread for me but it still makes the highlights. This book always makes me ponder the intersection of love, vulnerability, self-control and detachment.
- Delusions of Gender How our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference by Cordelia Fine - Recommended by my awesome friend Cate, this book was both reassuring and maddening. Reassuring as it picked apart research explaining societal gender limitations as biological inevitabilities. Maddening as it exposed these "natural" gender differences as actually being created and perpetuated by us!This book might give you the best understanding currently available about where the line is between gender differences from nature and those from nurture.
- Quiet The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking by Susan Cain - Has lead to several conversations with people realizing they may be introverts trained to extrovert. You can check out her TED talk here too.
- Les Filles de Caleb: Le Chant du Coq by Arlette Cousture
- Les Filles de Caleb: Le Cri de l'aie blanche by Arlette Cousture
These are part of the reason why there are so many months without any finished books! These two tomes are l-o-n-g. And in French. And especially the first one, rather depressing so as to necessitate a break from the story sometimes. Of course, I already know everything that happens, because I watched the T.V. series when it aired in 1990 and I have rewatched them on DVD recently....at least once. This story will probably go down in my life's history as one of the most meaningful non-personal stories for me.
- Earthworks by Brian Aldiss - Recommended by JF, this was another sci-fi that I found interesting for its take on post-environmental catastrophy agriculture and societal breakdown.
- Vagina by Naomi Wolf - Reading an entire book that treats female anatomy with respect was wonderful and fascinating. The ideas in it were so new or just plain never talked about. As when I've read other work of Wolf's, I sometimes took a step back just when she was stating a conclusion with great certitude. That's not to say I don't think her research and conclusions are insightful and important to learn about.
- Not Just a Pretty Face The ugly side of the beauty industry by Stacy Malkan - I picked this one up at the free book shelf in a local coffee shop. It's not the first book I've read on toxic chemicals in the beauty industry, but I really enjoyed it. There is a good balance between information/outrage and hopeful changes/empowerment. At 153 pages it was an easy read and not too overwhelming - which is key to inspire personal change. I'll be blogging more about this one at A Chemical Recall in the near future.
Sneak Peak into 2014: I've already read Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDUnn and I cannot recommend it too highly! I've wanted to read it since it came out but also avoided it for fear of being terribly angry and depressed afterwards. In fact, I found it inspiring and am now trying to find something constructive to do with my new found knowledge.
Any recommendations for me in 2014?