Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Abbreviated reading list for 2009

For the last two years I have selected a dozen books to be my "must-read" choices for the year. It has worked well, allowing me to look forward to one particular book each month, and giving me time to read other books I see or hear about, too. Often the twelve books I've chosen have inspired me to look for other books by the same authors, or more books on the same topic.

Here's my reading list for 2009:

1. What's So Great about Christianity?" by Dinesh D'Souza. I've read several books and many articles by Mr. D'Souza and found them all thought-provoking. This looks like it will be good.

2. A World Lost by Wendell Berry. This past year I read three books by Wendell Berry and am now an unabashed fan.

3. The Story of Edger Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Long before Oprah picked this for her book club, I read a review in the Sunday newspaper book section that made this novel sound very interesting. I bought the book and then tried to convince our local book club to read it. We will read it this year. I can't wait.

4. Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski. Everything I've read by Mr. Rybczynski has been good enough to recommend and loan to other readers.

5. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. In my opinion, Georgette Heyer is the only worthy successor to Jane Austen. Her Regency novels read like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Emma without being second-rate sequels.

6. Fishing for Gold: The Story of Alabama's Catfish Industry by Karni R. Perez. I saw this at PaperBackSwap and requested it. I know nothing about it, but I grew up near the Auburn University Fisheries and knew quite a few international students through the years who came to Auburn to learn how to "grow fish" for their homelands. It looks odd, but interesting.

7. 1700: Scenes from London Life by Maureen Waller. Last year I read London 1945 by Maureen Waller and I enjoyed it and started looking for more of her books.

8. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. While Penny and I were on our spinning trip last fall I read a review of this book in USA Today. The next day we went to a book store and I bought it. The trick will be waiting to read it.

9. First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps by Victor H. Krulak. This book by General Krulak has been in my "to read" pile for a couple of years. This is probably a book I should have read as a young Marine bride. Better late than never!

10. A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World by Nicholas A. Basbanes. I love Nicholas Basbanes's books. What could be better than reading about books and reading?

11. The Chilling Stars: A Cosmic View of Climate Change by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder. I bought this last year as one of Joan's science books, but I really wanted to read it myself. (That's one of the bonuses of homeschooling.)

12. The American Senator by Anthony Trollope. Trollope was a contemporary of Charles Dickens. His books are generally set in the country rather than the city, and they are social and political commentaries with usually a romantic story thrown in. His novels are lighter and generally happier than anything by Dickens.

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Blogger Good Yarns said...

Thank you for your comments on these authors. You always give me good ideas for new material. I've long loved Georgette Heyer and am in the unenviable position of having to re-read her stuff when I've forgotten it well enough. I also read my first Trollop this year, "The Claverings".

9:49 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You've read ALL of Geargette Heyer's books?! PLease, please, suggestions! I have many of them, and someday would like to have all, but have only read 4 or 5 thus far. Have you read the biography of her?

Have you read Barbara Pym's books?

9:53 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Making notes of your fine suggestions. I already own the Sawtelle book and have read a few pages.

Happy New Year!

11:37 AM  
Blogger Sarah M. said...

Have you heard of/read The Way We Live Now by Trollope?

11:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, Sarah - I read it back in September 1998. It's not a part of a series, but is a "stand-alone" novel of his that's more political in nature. I liked it a lot.

Do you like Trollope?

12:25 AM  
Blogger hopeinbrazil said...

Laura, I like your list because it's so ecclectic. I haven't read Heyer, but she comes highly recommended by another book blogger I know. I love Trollope, but I think you have to be a patient reader to enjoy him. He purposely wrote "against the grain" of the sensational novels that were popular at his time so he can be a little "slow". But worth it!

4:59 AM  
Blogger Beth F said...

I have Waiting for the Weekend sitting on a shelf somewhere in the house. Maybe I should dig it out and read it!

9:08 AM  
Blogger magistramater said...

I **love** the idea of picking 12 must-read books and filling in.

We're working through some of the same authors, Laura. I still have a few Wendell Berrys novels awaiting me. Then I will start working through his nonfiction, which is more work.

I loved Waiting for the Weekend; I have three more Rybczynski's to read.

My Anthony Trollope collection is growing. I just read Phineas Finn. It was slow in parts, but perfectly enjoyable. Trollope is my next-best-thing-to-Austen author. The first one I read was An Old Man's Love. I've read all but the last Barset Chronicles, and have the Pallisers to work through.

BUT! I have not read ONE Georgette Heyer! I shall have to remedy that in 2009. This is so exciting!! Where have I been? My lips are numb...

9:31 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hi Laura! Thanks for visiting my blog today. In answer to your question about the monk books: Yes, the Monk Upstairs is by the same author, and I liked it better than The Monk Downstairs. I found some of the theology in the first book in the form of the letters to be a bit slow--bogged it down for me. I also wavered back and forth as to whether or not I liked the main female character--eventually I did like her and thus decided to read the sequel--which was much better in my opinion!

I laughed when I saw on your list that you love Wendell Berry! I have never heard of him until Christmas Day, when my son-in-law was raving about him and saying he was his new favorite author! Since then, I have been seeing this author pop up all over the place. :)
*smiles and happy reading for 2009*
(page after page)

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Memory said...

Many of those sound very good! I especially like the sound of WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND by Witold Rybczynski. I read his HOME a few years ago, but I have yet to give any of his other books a try.

6:05 PM  

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