Giant Book Blog, November 2010

I haven't properly book blogged since, I think, July. And even then I don't think I actually caught up, I only posted about a handful of books. It's time for one of those clearout book blogs where I just post all the stuff I've read without much comment. Those suck for everyone, but they satisfy my slightly obsessive need to record every book I read here.

Incidentally, I tried Goodreads, and I think it's a really neat idea but it's not working for me. I like to keep my book list close to home (which is to say, here on Blog-o!). I expect I will still use it to research books and get ideas.

Without further ado, here are the books I've read this year:

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon is the last book I finished. It was lent to me by a friend (Janet!). It's the story of a middle-class English man who has just retired, and who discovers a patch of diseased skin on his hip. This leads him to confront his mortality in a dramatic manner, while still attempting to maintain his dignity and not make a fuss. I started off not liking the lead character, but after a few chapters I understood and liked him, and I liked all the other characters, too; they were well-written and engaging.

Time is running out and I apparently don't have time to write about any more books I've read, so here's the list, sorted into moderately helpful sub-lists:

Fiction I Loved
  • Solar by Ian McEwen
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • The Pleasure of my Company by Steve Martin
  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (kids'/young adult)
Fiction I Really Enjoyed
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • Love Songs and Lies by Libby Purves (My notes: "Wonderful writing, great characters—felt like the ending was kind of limp. But good plot twists.")
  • The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (for book club)
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (for book club)
Fiction I Enjoyed
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • Raincloud by Richard Todd
  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich 1
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory (for book club)
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova (for book club)
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett (for book club)
  • Holes by Louis Sachar (kids'/young adult)
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (kids'/young adult)
  • The Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn Laskey (kids'/young adult)
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (kids'/young adult)
  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (kids'/young adult)
  • Minnow on the Say by Phillipa Pearce (kids'/young adult)
  • Moses in Egypt by Lynne Reid Banks (kids'/young adult)
Fiction I Didn't Enjoy
  • Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Roznay (for book club)
Fiction I Don't Remember Reading
  • Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Cruisie
Non-Fiction That Made Me Think
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky
  • Sleeping Naked is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days by Vanessa Farquarson
  • Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey—and Even Iraq—Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
  • The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
  • Camp Nurse: My Adventures at Summer Camp by Tilda Shalof 2
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins 3
  • Born to Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—and Endangered by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner
Non-Fiction That Made Me Laugh And/Or Cry
  • The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (read aloud to Delphine)
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (read aloud to Delphine)
  • C'mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark by Ryan Knighton
Non-Fiction That Helped
  • Your Seven-Year-Old: Life In A Minor Key by Louise Bates Ames and Carol Chase Haber
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Non-Fiction That Didn't Help
  • Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You by Simon Doonan
Non-Fiction I Don't Remember Reading
  • How to Talk So Kids Can Learn by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

  1. Here's a quick review I wrote for Tracks: A couple of years ago I had a book swap party—a bunch of friends came over with few books they were done with, and we talked about books and life and everyone left with a new (to them) book. This was one of the books I picked up. It's about Fleur Pillager, an Anishnabe woman with mysterious powers, and the people around her. It's told alternately by Nanapush, an old man speaking to his grand-daughter, and Pauline. I wouldn't have picked this book out at the library, but I enjoyed it, especially Nanapush's quiet humour. 

  2. Here are my notes about Camp Nurse: - about her experiences as camp nurse at three different camps - one chaotic and disorganized (socialist), one fancy and over-structured and one just right - Jewish camp which includes differently abled and sick kids as well as kids sponsored by the United Way. Discussed what makes a kid a "good camper" (in the conformist fancy camp). Lots of discussion of various ailments from splinters to strokes, seizures, infections, and a camp-wide norovirus. Made me want to send my kids to (a carefully selected) camp, which is expensive but counts as childcare for tax purposes! Author has two other books which I would like to check out. 

  3. Here are my notes about The God Delusion: Useful vocabulary and buttresses arguments about god - some parts of book seem beside the point (memes) - not sure about his vehemence about referring to "a Jewish child", etc; seems to be the old culture versus religion problem. Reminded me of Douglas Adams: boo hoo. 

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