2011
02.21

2010 Reading List

Okay, maybe one final one for today. I need to get the books off my chest so they can go back to their place on the shelf rather than in one lumpy pile. Good year for reading. In 2009 reading was limited to vacation and air travel. This year I did more at home, so nice. Plus I pretty much enjoyed everything (that I was able to finish). So what did I read? In roughly calendar year order:

How Doctors Think — Jerome Groopman — I don’t know, came across this a few years ago on a business blog suggestion list. I guess I just prefer how I think over these doctor people. Reading this book maybe made me feel like these doctors he writes of are more limited in their thinking than he realizes. But, to think that I had to read the book so there is that I suppose. Glad I don’t think like a doctor though. (Vacation Book)
The Sun Also Rises — Earnest Hemingway — Revisiting an old friend here. Nice contrast for me, this book with us on the west coast of Kauai pretty much middle of nowhere Hawaii in the blazing sun. (Vacation Book)
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian — Wallace Stegner’s posthumous love letter to John Wesley Powell. Liked it but it was a meaty read. Started it when we were on Kauai but then put it down until the October Boston trip… then put down again… finished over Christmas break. It’s a long dense bit of book but the early part was neat focusing on the exploration rather than the grandiosity of the West and what foresight Powell had etc. (Vacation book, from J’s library)
Dave Barry does Japan — Dave Barry — P suggested this as mandatory reading for my trip to Japan in March 2010. It’s a funny little book. Feels a little awkward but definitely a classic for Japan touring. (Work travel)
Under the Banner of Heaven — Jon Krakauer — Sort of a book about Mormon fundamentalists and such. Was kind of a follow up for me from the Powell book where there is documented speculation about maybe early Mormons massacring settlers passing through Utah once upon a time. Friend A picked this book up and passed it on after I became curious about the rest of the story. Pretty much a cover to cover read. (work travel book)
One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich — Alexandr Solzhenitsyn — Read this sometime late winter. Dug it. (winter book, J’s library)
Cruising Paradise — Sam Shepard — Collection of short stories from J’s Nebraska library. Fast and tasty this one I burned right through it. One bit of trivia: Jens Lekman’s song ‘Your Arms Around Me’ (the avocado slicing song) is a riff off Shepard’s ‘More Urgent Emergencies’ in this collection. Looking at the book again though, just fond indistinct memories. (home/winterbreak book, J’s library)
McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #29 Generally, a short story collection where the goal is to celebrate writing or something. Some good nuggets in this one. Been in J’s library unread for a while. I was totally into it. (winterbreak book, J’s library)
Superbad Stories an Pieces — Ben Greenman — Fair to middling. Kind of an erratic read like an album that isn’t solid start to finish. But, I liked it. (winterbreak book, J’s library)
Zeitoun — Dave Eggers — I had this on my want to read list for a while but I could never remember the name when J would put in the McSweeney’s orders. So, it took a year or two to get read. Totally enjoyed it. It’s all about this dude semi-surviving Katrina and the aftermath with the twist that he’s originally a muslim from the middle east with a sucessful small business in New Orleans and the havoc that comes in part from being so complicated. Total page turner and mind number because it’s just unbelievable as the pace picks up the cards he’s dealt. (winterbreak book)
Big Dead Place — Nicholas Johnson — An unlikely choice. I aimed to stretch myself a bit more 1) reading books we already had in the library this year (plane purchase…) 2) pick up odd ones that I didn’t think I’d like from J’s collection for a bit different than the usual (mainly this). This book is totally in this category (the other J books on this list were in this category but the ‘different’ came from a… different direction). I was pretty skeptical going in but I enjoyed it. It’s all about life on Antarctica and the dumb rules & regulations and the stupid stuff people do working in and around all that. An intentionally abrasive read I’d imagine for some but… having spent more time on the slope than I care for there were plenty of echoes of similarity. So, rather than a window into the a lifestyle few are lucky enough to participate in it was more an affirmation of the zaney direction an organization can take with overzealous obsession with safety and regulation. (winterbreak book)

So I think that’s basically it. There might be a book or two missing and I have this problem of which 2011 Christmas books I read before the end of the year (only a couple months back and I already can’t remember) but I’ll post them to the 2011 list. In general, 2010 came to conclusion and I was happy with the state of my reading. Feels nice getting back into the book business rather than just catching up with garbage internet to fuel my need to read anything as long as the words stream past my eyes (a hereditary disease).

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