Sunday, July 18, 2010

A year later...

Hard to believe it has been a year since I started this project. While I haven't posted on here since January (has it really been that long?), I have still been keeping up on reading. Since Botany of Desire, I have read the following books (even included a brief thought on each book):

  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - Book based on a village's self-quarantine during the plague. Compelling account, especially in the fear and irrational behavior of the villagers.
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Burberry - Love the writing in this. Fell in love with the characters.
  • Among the Thugs by Bill Buford - I have been a fan of Buford's since his book, Heat. This book is an insiders account of soccer hooligans. It is haunting to me still the explosion of violence in the crowds; like an electrical current pulsating. Despite the shocking nature of the violence, it is a very well written book and one of my favorite on the list so far.
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright - The rise of radical Islam with the history of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Very informative and important book to read for our times.
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely - Through various experiments, Ariely demonstrates how little we are in control of our own decisions. Fascinating read.
  • Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child - A highly entertaining thriller that as my mother-in-law, whom also read the book, asked "if this sort of thing really happens in our country." Very easy read...I am sure I will catch up on the other "Reacher" novels later.
  • American Prometheus by Kai Bird & Martin Sherwin - I never knew much about Robert Oppenheimer or the Manhattan Project; it is only touched upon in school. This biography was absolutely fascinating to me. With a documentary about the frightening number of nuclear weapons still in existence (and the evil powers trying to get their hands on them) coming out soon, it seems that Oppenheimer's words still live on.
  • American Pastoral by Phillip Roth - Interesting novel of a writer who manufactures a story of a childhood acquaintance's life after meeting him just briefly prior to his death.
  • Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus - Another biography of a person just briefly touched upon in school. I never thought I would enjoy the biographies on this list as much as I do. The account of the Hiss trials and the rise of the anti-communist frenzy in America were particularly vivid.
I hope to someday write posts up for each of these books, but life has been giving me very little extra time to work on them (I prefer to be reading books when I actually have free time).

In a year, I have read 17 books, or 5833 pages. I am proud of my accomplishments considering my schedule as father, husband, salesman, and contributing editor for my CSA's newsletter. I have read recently that 1 in 4 Americans don't even read one book a year and that men who do read, read an average of 5 books a year. Based on those statistics, I feel pretty good about what I have done so far.

Let's see what another year brings! Thanks for all those who have read and/or posted on my blog, it's nice to know I have people rooting me on. As I mentioned, I started this blog partly because I wanted to have a record for my sons when I am older. Now, I am incorporating the project with them by reading the Dark Rising books to my oldest son (almost 6). While some of the books are probably hard for him to understand, he says he likes hearing me read the words; it is a special time for us both when we read at night.

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