Friday, January 01, 2010

...and in with the new

Reading List for 2010

Here are my dozen must-reads for the year. I know I'll read more than 12 books this year, but limiting myself to only one per month as a book I have to read gives me a lot of latitude to read other books I hear of and see recommended by others, or those I happen upon serendipitously, while still giving me an illusion of discipline in my reading habits.

I like this quote from Samuel Johnson:

"A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good."

So here is my task-reading:

1. I received P.D. James's latest book, Talking about Detective Fiction for Christmas. Looks like it will be interesting, though I'm hoping she'll soon write another mystery featuring Adam Dalgliesh.

2. Steve and I decided to give all the older children books by Ayn Rand for Christmas. Each child, from Tom to David, received his or her own copies of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, and We the Living. As I was wrapping the books, I realized I had never read We the Living, so I plan to read it this year.

3. The library discarded some books by Elizabeth Goudge, so I scooped up an armload and brought them home. Two I'd read as a child. Four I'd read in the past decade. One I have not read: Towers in the Mist.

4. In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden is another library discard. I have a paperback copy I've been meaning to read, but this hardcover edition will be easier to read while knitting!

5. Marvin Olasky recommended Michael Jones's book, Leningrad: State of Siege and I got a copy through PaperBackSwap last year. I think it will pair nicely with We the Living.

6. Last year Steve and I spent a few days at a resort patterned after Addison Mizner's style of architecture. Since then I've wanted to learn more about him and his influence on the architecture of southern Florida. I found this book, The Legendary Mizners, by Alva Johnston, and I think it will satisfy my curiosity.

7. Touted as what one reads after finishing all of Jane Austen's works, The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden looks interesting, and was written around the same time as Anthony Trollope's novels. Trollope's books always make great reading, and I'm hoping to be pleased with this book, too.

8. I've read and re-read all of Barbara Pym's novels, and Elizabeth Taylor has been favorably compared to Pym. I think she's worth trying, so I'll be reading In a Summer Season.

9. Somewhere I read that Georgette Heyer was not as nice as her heroines. I bought Jane Aiken Hodge's biography of Heyer, The Private World of Georgette Heyer, several years ago, but have been too timid to read it - and have my illusions dashed to pieces. This year I'm reading it and living with the consequences.

10. I know very little about physics, but I read that Richard Feynman made physics accessible for the layman. If "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" is any good, you can bet my children will be reading it as part of their curriculum in the future.

11. I love novels by Anthony Trollope, but The West Indies and The Spanish Main will be the first travelogue/non-fiction book by him that I will read.

12. One of my English professors at Auburn University was educated at Vanderbilt and was greatly influenced by Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and Donald Davidson. Because of Dr. Allen, I can't pass up anything by any of the Southern Agrarians, so when the library put this book in the discard pile I got it and will read it this year. My copy is titled Attack on Leviathan: Regionalism and Nationalism in the United States.

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Blogger hopeinbrazil said...

What an interesting list! Congratulations on the Elizabeth Goudge finds.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Clay Barham said...

Is it self-centered greed or legitimate self-interest that is the main concern with those who do not understand Ayn Rand? Those who admire and criticize Ayn Rand’s beliefs about people who stand on their own feet often say she promoted selfishness, thereby greed, which is self-centered and anti-individual creativity. That is anti-Rand. Rand admired the creative individual, people like railroad builder James Jerome Hill, on whom she was reputed to have based her character Nathaniel Taggart in Atlas Shrugged. Independent “I’m OK, you’re OK” people are OK with Rand, not the criminal takers. If we look at Howard Roark’s summation to the jury, from Fountainhead, we do not see a self-centered individual destroying his work. If he was greedy he would have simply accepted his payment. We see an other- and outer-centered individual in love with his own dreams and creations, as one would love a spouse, child or family and refuse to allow them to be assaulted. That is the kind of self-interest that built America. Though love for anything spiritual may be missing, a great idea or vision also measures up to that which is spiritual, beyond self, and that view is not even inconsistent with Christianity.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Good Yarns said...

I am reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time right now...quite a book so far. I'd love to argue and discuss with her...except I think she'd be too quick for me (and nice? I think maybe not?)
It is so fun to see your list of reads for the year. Your reading inspires mine. Thanks.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Discarded Elizabeth Goudge books? How tragic. Good for you, but sad.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Emily, the library is the regional library and they discard old books that are duplicates. So this year I got three copies of Hitty, three of The Moffats, and a bunch of Black Stallion mysteries, among others. Yes, I'm excited about the Elizabeth Goudge and Rumer Godden books I picked up!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Carol in Oregon said...

Lucky Laura! I love Goudge (but you know that already, don't you?); I put the siege of Leningrad on *my* PBS wish list (thanks for mentioning it!; I'm terrifically curious about Emily Eden (where did you hear about her?...and have you read any Maria Edgeworth, an author who supposedly was more popular than Austen back in the time); and if the physics book is helpful, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I will come to Alabama to give you a hug in person.

Laura, this is a delicious and inviting list. It makes me want to discard my plans and take up yours.



8:31 PM  
Blogger Margo said...

I'm thrilled to see your reading list because there are some authors I don't recognize! Can't wait to discover some more good reads. THanks.

9:29 PM  

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