Good year for reading, but never good enough…After this, 2010 is almost over. I just have one more thing to record about it. I am kind of obsessive about recording and analyzing things (as if it’s not obvious by the fact that I have been recording my thoughts all over the internet for nearly half my life).
One star is “good,” two stars is “great.” I’m also including some key subject words and commentary if the title doesn’t make what the book is about obvious.
1. The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss – Claire Nouvian
2. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga – Colonial Africa/Feminism/Bicultural inner struggles
3. Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the city’s most unwanted inhabitants by Robert Sullivan
4. Dead in their Tracks: Crossing America’s Desert Borderlands in the New Era: Mark Annerino
*5. What is the What by Dave Eggers – Sudanese refugees
6. Under the Bridge: Stories from the Border by Rosario San Miguel
**7. Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbot Abbot
**9. As the World Burns: Fifty Things you Can Do To Stay in Denial – Graphic novel/ecocide
10. Better OFF: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende – Amish living
**11. the art of racing in the rain by garth stein
*12. Say You’re One of Them Uwem Akpan – Short stories with children protagonists set in Africa
13. Beyond the Rice Paddies by Linda West – Vietnam war memoir
14. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig – “philosophy.” I greatly disliked this book.
15. A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhov – Kommunist Russia memoir
**16. O Pioneers by Willa Cather – Swedish immigrants on an American homestead. I love Willa Cather.
**17. An Autobiography, or The Story of my Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Ghandi – AMAZING.
**18. You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train – Howard Zinn – Zinn’s autobiography. Quick and good.
19. Naturalist – E.O. Wilson – This book was a memoir and talked a lot about ants and academia. It was interesting.
20. Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us – Kate Bornstein
21. Banker to the Poor – Muhammed Yunus – The beginning of the microfinance industry by the winner of the nobel peace prize
*22. The Motorcycle Diaries – Ernesto “Che” Guevara – Didn’t have Gael Garcia Bernal, but there was a tone in the book which could not be reached in the movie.
**23. The Complete Humorous Sketches of Mark Twain – Hilarious. A good mid-year break from all the serious stuff I had been reading, but not complete fluff, either.
24. Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
**25. Jazz – Toni Morrison – The same usual themes Toni Morrison has, in the same AMAZINGLY WRITTEN way
**26. The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov – Can’t really explain what this is about, but it’s worth it.
27. The Death of Bunny Munro – Nick Cave – Stay away from Nick Cave’s books. Stick to his music.
28. One Hundred Demons – Lynda Barry
*29. johnny got his gun – dalton trumbo
30. i am america and so can you – stephen colbert
**31. the bluest eye – toni morrison
**32. song of solomon – toni morrison
*33. watershed: the undamming of america – elizabeth grossman – literally about dams. Sounds boring, actually very interesting.
34. Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya
35. A Mercy – Toni Morrison – wasn’t as much of a fan as the rest.
*36. High Tide in Tucson – Barbara Kingsolver – great essays. Better to read if you live in Tucson, but I’m sure they’re enjoyable otherwise.
*37. Love – Toni Morrison
38. Secrets, Lies and Democracy – Noam Chomsky
39. On Democratic Education – Howard Zinn
**40. Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey – Abbey’s time in Utah. GREAT BOOK.
**41. dry – augusten borroughs – alcoholism
**42. Deschooling Society – Ivan Illich – getting rid of institutions in society
**43. y: the last man – brian k. vaughan and pia guerra – apocalyptic graphic novel in which all the men except one die of a mysterious disease. The end sucks, but the other 59 issues are worth it.
**44. a power governments cannot suppress – howard zinn – essays on various movements in American history
**45. teaching to transgress: teaching as a practice of freedom – bell hooks – pedagogy/teaching/social justice
46. a sand county almanac – aldo leopold – nature essays
47. Residence on Earth – Pablo Neruda – poetry. I don’t like Pablo Neruda as much as I thought I did.
*48. footnotes on gaza – joe sacco – graphic novel set in Gaza.
*49. kiss of the spider woman – manuel puig – two people meet in an Argentine prison
**50. player piano – kurt vonnegut – deindustrialization/revolution/satire
**51. how the garcia girls lost their accent – Julia Alvarez – four sisters move from the Dominican Republic to the US
52. Chomsky on Miseducation – edited by Daniel Macedo
53. The Tortilla Curtain – T. Coraghessan Boyle – takes place in “so cal,” tells the story of an immigrant and a wealthy nature writer whose lives cross paths
Some quickly-counted subject-to-fault statistics:
Science and ecology/ecological politics: 7
Anti-modern society: 4
Politics and history: 11
Recommendations always welcome, particularly in the above-mentioned categories. Goals for next year include more stuff in Spanish, about Latin America, education, and finally finishing whatever I haven’t read by Kurt Vonnegut (it’s not much).