Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Books I Read in 2009: Part Eins

As you may know, I keep a list of all the books I read and have done so since 1999 (the year I read only 11 books). This year I would like to share an annotated list of books I read in case you are interested. And if you are not, just go here.

(* = Extra Good/You Should Read)

*1. Extremes: How to Keep Your Virtues from Becoming Vices by Robert Eaton. This is a good book. When I saw it in the library I immediately thought of several people I know whose virtues have become vices because they are so extreme and weird. I read this book to justify my judgment of those people. Probably not what the author intended. Still, thumbs up!

2. The Somnambulist: A Novel by Jonathan Barnes. A good book about freaks in Victorian London.

3. Absolutely Organized: A Mom's Guide to a No-Stress Schedule and Clutter-Free Home by Debbie Lillard. I'm obsessed with organization books and this one, while lovely, is not very helpful. Don't buy it. I wish I hadn't.

4. Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business by Danny Goldberg. Very awesome with some boring parts in the middle--but worth reading for the Led Zeppelin and Kurt Cobain insights.

*5. Preparedness Principles: The Complete Personal Preparedness Resource Guide for Any Emergency Situation by Barbara Salisbury. I recommend buying this book. I am always discouraged about food storage because 1,000 lbs of grain per person per day or whatever it is overwhelms me. And then I think, what if I have to flee? Am I supposed to have food for that? Will we be on foot or in the car? And so I just don't even try. But this book breaks preparedness up into components which are manageable and make sense. It is truly helpful. Better than reading it--give it to your mom for Christmas and tell her you are coming to her house in case of an emergency. She'll get everything ready, like potable water and all that crap.

6. Counter-knowledge by Damian Thompson. I liked this book. It's interesting. You might not want to read it if you're really into homeopathy, but you probably should.

7. The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule. I got this book when I was doing some research for another article Parents Magazine wants me to write. Incidentally, I sent them the article but have not heard back for like 3 months. What do you think that means? DON'T ANSWER THAT! Hope springs eternal for my publishing "career." Anyway, Amanda Blake Soule is a totally famous blogger that I didn't even know about before I read her book. So now I check her blog every day. She's really great and inspiring and knits a lot. I think she might believe in homeopathy, but I'm not sure. She has a lot of doable projects in her book. I actually made some of them. It's a good book.

8. Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life by Cesar Millan. I have read all of Cesar's books. I find him very interesting. So does Malcolm Gladwell. I think he's right about dogs, but his advice doesn't always help me that much. You kind of have to be him. Cesar Millan is just one of the reasons I freely welcome immigrants to our country.

*9.Ireland: A Novel by Frank Delaney. I don't know why. I can't explain--I love Frank Delaney. I actually sent him a fan letter this year (more on that in a later installment). The only other fan mail I've written is to David Letterman. I went on an American History Tour in 12th grade. We were in New York during a writer's strike and I was so disappointed that I wouldn't get to go to a taping of David Letterman. But enough about Dave. Let's talk about Frank. I love his writing and I recommend this book. I don't particularly care about any of the the aforementioned books, but I actually care about this book and it will hurt my feelings if you don't like it. That said, I'm not sure you will like it as much as I do. It's kind of weird how much I love Frank Delaney.

*10. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Another book I care about. So good. Please read.

There you have it! The first ten books I read this year. Can you stand to wait for the next ten? Isn't the anticipation DELICIOUS!


  1. Oh my gosh, James Herriot has so much to answer for. I mainly blame him for my goats and my dog obsession and the cow I will someday have. It's his fault I have hair all over my house and smell like the poop of many animals.

  2. I wrote a fan letter to an author earlier this year and he answered me back. That's a first! Now I can't even remember who is was.

    Is my memory really that bad?

  3. Oh yes, it was John M. Barry who wrote The Great Influenza. That book still haunts me, and I've read it a couple of times now.

  4. I wrote a fan email to James "Dutch" Griffioen of www.sweet-juniper.com because he had an interesting picture of feral fire hydrants and ... anyway, he emailed me back almost immediately and now I am a fan forever.

  5. I wrote a fan letter to Ann M. Martin (author of The Babysitters Club books) when I was younger. I don't remember what I said, or why I thought I'd send her a letter, but she sent me a picture of herself holding "my" letter amongst a throng of others. I'm highly suspicious that it wasn't mine, she can't possibly take a picture of herself holding each letter, can she?

    Anyway. My 12 year old self was touched.

    And I loved All Creatures Great and Small. So good.

    Oh, also, hi! I found you somehow, read your post on your Halloween church party (on Light Refreshments) and cried I was laughing so hard. Whack a deacon!? Are you kidding me?! My sore abs! It was hilarious. So creative and SO true. Anyway, just wanted to let you know, since it wouldn't let me create an account so I could leave you a comment.


    (after such a long comment, i felt that was necessary...)

  6. Love, love, love James Herriot.

    You have to get all the TV adaptions on DVD. We watch them over and over and over and never tire of them. They are just as good as the books. I almost named my son Siegfried. (Glad I didn't, but still...)

  7. i didn't even finish this post, i just went straight to tetris. thanks!

  8. I love that you read such a wide variety. I haven't read James Herriot in years, but I remember loving it. And those organization books are always hit and miss.

  9. You should list your favorite tv shows, too. Then I would feel better about myself.

  10. I haven't read any of the ones you listed - and I consider myself well-read.

    Maybe "well-read" is totally relative!!

    I will be on the lookout though!

  11. I WILL read your Ireland book. And I CAN'T wait for the next installment.

    I have considered writing a fan letter to Mark Helprin. Nobody I have recommended his books to likes them, but I do. I think he's a genius. Freddy and Fredericka was one of the only books this year I read and really liked (pregnancy makes me harsh literary critic.)

  12. I found your blog, it's hilarious...thanks for the reading pleasure while I put off cleaning the house. I'm sure my husband won't thank you, but who cares. ;)


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