What I Have Been Reading in 2011

LizzieLou | nablopomo,reading | Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Ugh. Couldn’t
Finish It.
Read It. Might Maybe Recommend It? It’s a Keeper! Love It Unconditionally

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell [4] – While I’m starting to get a little burnt out on the memoir genre, I did enjoy this book and I generally like the tv show that goes along with it too. Cute goats.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson [3] – I saw the miniseries first, but have liked reading the books too. I appreciate all the details that were left out of the pictures. (Strangely, my mother recommended these. However, she has told me that she “just skims over” anything that is too explicit, too dark, or upsetting; I’m not sure what is left after that.)

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays by Candace Savage (and) In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff [4] – The latter is by a guy who is nearby at the University of Washington and was featured in the PBS Nature show “A Murder of Crows.” Good Stuff!

Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires by Michael E. Bell [3] – The topic of this book is very interesting but the book wasn’t put together all that well. It becomes repetitive and the style starts to unravel in the second half. There are long passages of quotes from other books and ramblings that seem out of place. But, I have a special connection to this book as I cleaned and sampled some skeletons from one of the burial sites mentioned in the book when I was an undergraduate archeology lab volunteer. Spoiler alert: They weren’t vampires; they had tuberculosis.

Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China by Guy Delisle [4] – The graphic novels (memoirs) that this author does are really interesting snap shots of the places he has gone to work. This one in particular ended up providing a little background info before I went to The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which you should go see if you ever get the chance.

Case Histories (and) One Good Turn (and) When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson [5] – I read these three novels out of order but it didn’t matter. Again my mother recommended these. Again surprising. They are a bit dark and sad, but also funny with (mostly) likeable people. It doesn’t seem fair to label the books as mystery/detective fiction. The characters have a lot more depth. When I read these I did not think that they would make for good films. It’s an odd thought to have perhaps but a lot of the mystery fiction I’ve read in the past seems to be written more like a screenplay than a novel. (I’m looking at you James Patterson.) Here, there is a lot of internal monologue and memory and different perceptions of events from different people. But then, hello Masterpiece Mystery, which picked these up and made some rather excellent telly.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan [3] – This book was written well, but the story and the characters didn’t speak to me; I just wasn’t that intersted in them. It could be I wasn’t in the mood for this book when I read it and maybe it needs another chance.

War Dances by Sherman Alexie [4] – An collection of short stories that I really liked at the time I was reading it, but I honestly don’t remember much of it now.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach [5] – First, I’m a big fan of Mary Roach and have loved her other books too. Second, a short story: Once I totally loved The Space Program. I had posters and models of the new space shuttle (and Space Legos). Then was totally out of love with The Space Program because why spend so much money on something silly like whether there is microscopic lifeform fossils on Mars when people are suffering and starving here on Earth. Then, I heard Neil Degrasse Tyson explain how the cost of The Space Program is relatively small as it inspires people to do Math and Science and flex their imagination muscles and improve many aspects of life through discovery and innovation. And now I love The Space Program again. And this book too.

Who Would Buy This? The Archie McPhee Story by Mark Pahlow [2] – In case you were ever interested about this store, and the crap in it, you can read this book that is mostly pictures.

Stumptown Volume 1 by Greg Rucka [3] – I liked this too, but read reviews first that made me think it would blow my socks off and it didn’t. Had I not read them, or had they not been as raving, I would probably have liked it a lot better. I know, so dumb.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay [4] – Someone at work gave me this book a while ago and it was just sitting around. I finally had to read it because the movie was coming out and KST is in it and we’ve be watching all the KST lately. This book was actually better than I thought it would be and I still haven’t seen the movie.

Dear Fatty by Dawn French [in progress] – I love Dawn French. And I like learning bits about her life. But I expected the funny parts of this book to be funnier. Lolly likes me to read this to her in bed. I don’t do the accent.

Best American Science Writing 2010 ed. by Jerome Groopman [in progress] – Already the book for 2011 is out! I’m so far behind. This collection is terrific and everyone everywhere should read it. The end.

1 Comment

  1. As you know, I’m not a big reader unless you count Snarry, and I don’t know anyone who does. However, this summer I actually gave “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins a chance, based on Bwana’s recommendation and the fact there are rumors it’s going to be the next big YA (young adult) franchise. They were surprisingly good, even though the second two in the trilogy I did as audiobooks from Bwana and I hate audiobooks, can’t stay awake with someone reading to me, and the narrator they hired had a super super annoying voice. But still, recommended.

    Comment by Eelaine — December 8, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

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