Books 2011

This year, I’m trying something new. Less structure. Less intentional. Just reading what I want.

But because I still like goals (even if I don’t reach them) I’m aiming to read 52 books in 52 weeks. Or at least have fun trying.

I’ll list them here as I finish.

1) Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Very good literary suspense novel. Southern in setting and flavor.

2) Little House on the Freeway by Tim Kimmel
Thoughts on parenting and rest.

3) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
A fun read I liked as an adult and would have loved as a 10yr old.

4) The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
Sad, beautiful, compelling fictionalized story about real-life modern Imperial Japan.

5) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart
Good end to the series.

6) The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer
Readable, interesting history that fills in some of my personal gaps in history education.

7) My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Excellent! Thoughts about the reading and writing life that made me want to read more of old favorites and introduced me to some new authors to try.

8 ) One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Excellent meditation on gratitude that draws deeply on wisdom from many sources.

9) Cakewalk by Kate Moses
Memoir of survival of a difficult childhood punctuated by delicious sounding dessert recipes.

10) Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
More of a memoir than a how-to on parenting. Brutally honest, often troubling, but very funny and with interesting questions about culture.

11) The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy
Adventure story about a cyclist in the late 1800′s who cycled around the world and disappeared.

12) Creed or Chaos by Dorothy Sayers
Fantastic witty defense of Christian doctrine.

13) The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
Fascinating look at the use of the simple checklist in medicine and beyond.

14) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Amazing WWII story

15) The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin
Insightful look at the anti-vaccination movement and at culture and medicine.

16) Unshaken by Dan Woolley
Survival story of one man trapped during the Haitian earthquake.

17) Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
Account of a parent-child book club.

18) The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
Brilliant look at Christian creeds through the analogy of the creative mind.

19) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
What is there to say? A great classic, for a reason. Well worth the huge investment.

20) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Excellent non-fiction tale that looks at the intersection of medicine, science, ethics and culture.

21) Still Life by Louise Penny
The first in the Armand Gamache series. A classic cozy mystery, done very well.

22) Whispers of the Dead by Simon Beckett
Forensic medicine thriller.

23) Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
WWII era story of  star crossed lovers. Good but not great.

24) Ape House by Sara Gruen
Thought-provoking, intriguing story that unfortunately has too many distracting side-stories.

25) A Fatal Grace  by Louise Penny
Armand Gamache series

26) The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Armand Gamache series

27) Terra Incognita by Ruth Downie
Roman doctor investigates murder and mayhem amongst the Celts in Britain.

28) A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
I disagree with most of what he says and find his style too touchy feely but it did make me think about what I do believe.

29) Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
Autobiography centered on Lewis’ intellectual life and ultimate conversion.

30) Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Dark and depressing but surprisingly enjoyable read.

31) Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Too much 20-something angst for me to relate to. More a series of short stories than a novel.

32) Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Very enjoyable read. Comedy of manners worth of the comparison to Austen.

33) Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
Great ideas, but packaged in a somewhat tiresome format and with a quite obvious political agenda.

34) The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
Cute memoir about a girl and her single father. Also a little bit about the joys of shared reading.

35) Bossypants by Tina Fey
Funny memoir. Best when giving insider view into world of network television.

36) A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
Armand Gamache series

37) Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Journalist trains for and competes in extreme memory competition. 

38) Class Warfare by Simon Brill
History of modern education reform movement 

39) State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Drug research in the Amazon by a master of the popular literary novel.

40) The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
Another Armand Gamache mystery.

41) The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Between Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us by Jeffrey Kluger
Disappointing. Not much insight and too much pop psychology and personal anecdote. 

42) Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Not the best of her mysteries but pure fun for James and Austen fans.

43) Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Compelling, tragic story.

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