December 29, 2011

1st Annual Read List

Last February I started keeping a list of books I've read. I like the sense of being organized it gives me, but I avoided doing this for a number of years because it feels very self-indulgent. I hope you'll indulge me my indulgence!

The last time I kept such a list was in Grade 6. I got up to 300 and something, and my mother still occasionally brings it up with pride. :)

This new list is less about seeing how much I actually read, but about remembering the reading experiences afterwards, and better utilizing my reading time. Thanks to long daily bus rides, I can get quite a bit of reading done (when I'm not knitting)!

So at the end of the year, I'm going through my list and pulling out one highlight from each month. I'd love to dialogue about any of the books on this list or any you have been reading and would recommend!

To a brand new year ripe with reading possibilities, I give you, The First Annual Read List! 

- Oscar et la dame rose by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt: this one was so creative, touching, sad and meaningful. It was one I read in French to practice. It's about a boy with cancer, and they made it into a movie.
- The City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan (1363-1430): This book is a challenge to the misogeny of de Pizan's society. She is considered Europe's first professional woman writer. 

did I say one highlight a month? Ok, scratch that, that's not going to work! 

- What are People For? Essays by Wendell Berry
- Small is Beautiful; Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher
- All About Love by bell hooks 

- The Exile (her mother's biography) by Pearl S Buck  P.S.B. was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, for her 1931 novel The Good Earth. 
- Watch with Me by Wendell Berry. This is a collection of seven lighthearted fiction stories.  

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. A small and fascinatingly terrifying book.
- You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail. This beginner gardener's book is fantastic. I also follow Gayla's gardening blog. 

- The Shape of a Year by Jean Hersey. This one has a chapter per month, and would be lovely to read over a year, but I had to finish it to return it to my mother! 

- Fighting Angel (her father's biography) by Pearl S. Buck. This is interesting juxtaposed with her mother's story. 

- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Can I just say I've heard about this book forever and I thoroughly did not enjoy reading it. 

- nothing noteworthy 

- Satan Never Sleeps by Pearl S. Buck. A novel about a priest, communism and unreasonable forgiveness. Also made into a film (1962), overly focused on the romance and now hilariously retro. 

- The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delaney. From time to time I read sci-fi at J's recommendation, but I realized this is the only one I remembered to write in the list. And it was a good one!
- The Living Reed by Pearl S. Buck. A longer novel about Korean history and revolutionaries (some disputes exist over accuracy), I think this is my favorite work of hers that I've read so far (there are something like 80 novels, articles and short stories!). 

- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. If you haven't read this well-known novel yet, it might be because it's so disturbing, but it's worth it.
- The Good Life by Helen (1904-1995) and Scott Nearing (1883-1983). Writing about their decades of back-to-the-land self-sufficiency, starting in 1932. See The Good Life Center.

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