Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books I've Read 2009

I’ve been keeping track of the books I read each year for about 10 years now. I usually just write a page about them in my planner and move on, but this year I thought I would share the list. My goal is to read at least a book a month, on average. Sometimes I get bogged down with other things, or I pick a really long one, so the cadence isn’t right, but I usually catch up with a shorter book or when I travel for work. I usually only get a half hour or so of reading in before bed, but that isn’t every night, so a typical book takes me several weeks to get through it. I’m not a particularly fast reader...20-50 pages an hour, depending on the density of words and ideas in the text.

Instead of going through them in the order I read them, I am clumping them according to subject.


Introduction to Space Weather, Moldwin:

I used it for the text for my class for the first time this year, so I am counting it as a “new” book read in 2009. It’s a switch from what I had been using, but the other one wasn’t really a textbook, so I thought I’d try this out. It’s the right subject, but I think it is too low of a level for the junior-oriented class I teach. However, one student (out of 15) complimented it very highly in their open-form evaluation. I have a few months to decide if I want to use it again or not. For those of you not in the space weather business, this is a nice introduction to the field (with easy problems at the end of each section).


Call to Conversion, Wallis

I really like the Christian viewpoints of Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine and author of several books. This is one of them. It’s not a new book, but it was very well written and I enjoyed it very much. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Christianity.

The Shack, Young

I don’t know whether to put this here or in general fiction. It’s not a particularly well-written book , in my opinion, but others were raving about it, so I gave it a try. I like the main religious idea of the book in that God wants to have a personal relationship with us, but I don’t like the make-believe fantasy aspects of the story and I really don’t like the attempt of the author to make it seem like a true story (in the foreword and afterward sections).

Political/Current Events

How Soccer Explains the World, Foer

Clever book in which the author travels to famous soccer venues around the world and then uses the stories and sights of the area to interpret world events. His main conclusion is that even though globalization has made the world smaller and made local name brands meaningless, the local people still have strongly held views of nationalism, even to the point of xenophobia. Even though capitalism loves globalization, actual people usually do not.

The Federalists, Anti-Federalists, and the American Tradition, McWilliams

A long and arduous book containing various essays regarding the Founding Fathers. A good read, overall, but some parts were very slow going. I think that I am somewhere in between the Federalists (strong central government, weak state governments) and anti-Federalists (just the opposite), but in general my political leanings are towards the Federalists.

Citizen Paine, Kaminski

This book had a short biography of Thomas Paine and then several hundred pages of quotes from his writings, organized by category. I found the quotes difficult to understand without the rest of the text around them, so after a while I just breezed through them. The bio, however, was very informative. I didn’t know Thomas Paine came to America just a year or so before 1776, and wrote his major works (The American Crisis and Common Sense) after only being here for a very short while. He was a man looking to start fight, one who wholeheartedly committed himself to a cause with fervent zeal. He went on to be a rabble-rouser in France during their revolution a few decades later.

One United People, Millican

An excellent (but slow-going) examination of every single one of the Federalist Papers. The Federalist is still one of the most authoritative works on the thoughts behind the Founding Fathers regarding the Constitution. Millican reaches the conclusion that the 3 writers of these essays are all in agreement that the Constitution supports a strong central government and weak state governments. After reading his book, I agree.

General Fiction

Streets of Laredo, McMurtry

Larry McMurtry is an excellent storyteller. This is number 4 in the Lonesome Dove series (Lonesome Dove is number 3, but it’s the most famous of the set).

The Host, Meyers

Yes, I read a Stephanie Meyers book this year. At least it wasn’t one of the Twilight books, okay?! Seriously, though, she is also an excellent writer and this was a terrific book. I highly recommend it, especially to science fiction lovers.

Kids’ Books

The Lightning Thief, Riordan

Sea of Monsters, Riordan

The Titan’s Curse, Riordan

Battle of the Labyrinth, Riordan

The Last Olympian, Riordan

Yes, I read the entire Percy Jackson series. My son was so excited about them and kept asking me to read it that I eventually gave in and plowed through them. They are good books, and Rick Riordan has a nice way of weaving a storyline together throughout several books. It was worth the time.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, DiCamillo

Okay, I’ve read a lot of kids’ books this year, but this is another that I am including in the list because my son read it for his school “book club” and parents are invited to the discussion. So, I thought I’d read it. It’s a 200-page book, but with the large font and pictures, it took about 2 hours. It’s a captivating story about learning to love, losing love, and moving on to new love.

I’m currently reading Jews and Christians: A Troubled Family as well as Eragon. The latter is a back-and-forth deal with my son where we each read a page. Not quite as good as the Riordan books, but my son is enjoying it. So, I don’t think these two books actually make it on the list, since I am not done with them yet, but I’ll mention them here at the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment