A. Booker Prize winners and Short Listers, Salon top ten and other literary award winners:
B. Wodehouse and Dickens:
- Andrew Miller, "Oxygen"
- Nominated for the Booker in 2001. Read it January 13-15. Definitely not a first rate Booker, but worth reading and moderately moving nonetheless.
- Esi Edugyan, "Half-Blood Blues"
- Nominated for the Booker in 2011. From the library. Read it March 25th to April 5th. A dissapointment. I had such high hopes, but the writing style was offputting and she kept making the same points over and over. A very weak entry to the Bookers, but still better than "Snowdrops."
- Jane Gardam, "God on the Rocks"
- From the Library. Nominated for the Booker in 1978. An interesting, complicated little jewell of a book. An evangelist disintegrates while his family moves in different directions. Read it May 14-17.
- Ben Okri, "The Famished Road"
- Won the Booker prize in 1991. Read it April 22 - June 9. A tough read, very fantastical with many trips to spirit worlds and lots of wild imagery.
- Bruce Chatwin, "Utz"
- Nominated for the Booker in 1988. A short piece concerning the life of a Checkoslovakian collector of porcelain figurines. Enjoyable enough.
- Alice Munro, "The Beggar Maid"Booker nominee from 1980. Read it August 23rd - September 10th. Utterly delightful. Masterfully written. Munro is one of the giants of the short story.
- Hilary Mantel, "Bring up the Bodies"
- The sequel to "Wolf Hall." Nominated for the Booker in 2012. From the library on audiodisc. Listened to it Septmber 11-21. I liked it much more than "Wolf Hall." The audio reader made the author's style of writing much less confusing. Even so it was still a demanding but thoughtful book. A great history lesson.
- Jeet Thayil, "Narcopolis"
- Booker short list nominee for 2012. The first Booker nominee I COULD NOT get through. I could not get into this blatent homage to Willaim Burroughs.
- Tan Twan Eng, "The Garden of Evening Mists"
- Booker short lister for 2012. From the library. Read it September 24th through October 10th. A very interesting history lesson. The book is slow moving but majestically so.
C. Other Fiction:
- PG Wodehouse, "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves"
- Read it Jan 19-27. No new ground broken, but a joyful romp from beginning to end. Wodehouse was into his 80s by this time (1962-63) and I was just starting to read him as a teenager!
- Charles Dickens, "David Copperfield"
- Reading it with the Inimitable-Boz Yahoo Group at the rate of three chapters a week. Read it November 19th - April 9th. I didn't remember very much of it from when I read it as a teenager. A true delight.
- Peter Schwed, "Plum to Peter"
- A short book of letters between P.G. Wodehouse and his editor Peer Schwed. Read it April 8-9. I learned a few things about Plum. I never knew how happy he was to write his books!
- PG Wodehouse, "Author Author"
- Letters from Wodehouse to friend Bill Townsend in which he discusses the craft of writing. Reading it June 10-11. An absolute delight. Thank goodness Bill Townsend saved all those letters Wodehouse wrote over about a fifty year period!
- PG Wodehouse, "America, I Like You"
- From the library. Essays originally written for Punch which describe Wodehouse's fifty years of living in America. Published in 1956 at the age of 75. Read it July 3-10. Delightful. Some laugh out loud parts to it but mainly a nice bit of autobiography laced into essays on timely topics of the day.
- P.G. Wodehouse, "Biffen's Millions"
- The master's sole output from 1964. Read it August 10-17. Very amusing, especially the conclusion in which most of the characters lose their pants!
- Charles Dickens, "Bleak House"
- Reading it with the Inimitable-Boz Yahoo Group at the rate of three or four chapters a week. Read it April 20th - August 29th. A most remarkable book. Deserving of it's great acclaim.
- PG Wodehouse, "The Brinksmanship of Galahad Threepwood"
- One of the Blandings novels. Started reading it October 11-13. Impressively funny for a novel from his late years.
- PG Wodehouse, "Plum Pie"
- The last collection of short stories published during Plum's lifetime. From 1967, the book contains nine short stories, two poems, a short essay on humor and eight commentaries on living in America. Read it December 1-12. At age 85 the master still manages to amuse.
D. Non Fiction:
- Jonathan Franzen, "Freedom"
- Read it December 26th thru January 2nd. An engrossing read, albeit deeply disturbing. Probably Franzen's best novel. I've liked each one more than the previous one.
- Barbara Kingsolver, "The Lacuna"
- Read it February 2-10. An excellent book. A sad statement on the first half of the 20th century. Not as good as "The Poisonwood Bible" but well worth reading.
- Hari Kunzru, "Gods Without Men"
- From the library. Read it March 14-24. Recommended by Cliff. Very well written and entertaining. Compelling characters made up for a kind of loopy plot and less than completely satisfying conclusion.
- Umberto Eco, "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana"A present from Robert. Read it July 14-25. It started out great but didn't sustain the level of interest. Overall an enjoyable read.
- Carl Hiaasen, "Scat"
- Digital download from the library. Listened to it August 20-23. Funny and satisfying. Hiassen scores again!
- Zadie Smith, "NW"A loaner from Angela. Read it October 14-27. Beautifully written and profoundly moving. Much more grim than her previous novels.
- Dave Eggers, "A Hologram for the King"
- Another loaner from Angela. Read it October 29th thru November 4th. A moving and disturbing book that addresses the current mess of world economics while remaining extremely humaistic. Dave Eggers is certainly a fascianting author!
- Tom and Ray Magliozzi, "Car Talk Road Trip & Maintenance Log"
- A Christmas gift from Rob. Read it January 9-10. As usual very funny jokes with sound car advise. Now I've got to buy myself a vise grips to keep in the trunk!
- Saul Wisnia, "The Wit and Wisdom of Baseball"
- A Christmas present from Jeanne. Read it January 10-12. A great bit of fun to read. Some quotes that were new to me.
- Justin Heimberg, "Who Would Win?"
- A Christmas present from Jeanne. Read it January 15-18. Definitely a bathroom time-killer book.
- Paul Halpern, "What's Science Ever Done for Us?"
- A Christmas present from Rob. Read it February 16-22. Mildly interesting.
- Ed Arnow, "Rogue Reporter with Jazzy Notes"
- An autobiography of my Uncle Ed, self published in 1997. Read it February 26th - March 6th. Very interesting and enjoyable. Not much about my family, as he concentrates on his fascinating work in broadcast journalism.
- Paul Oliver, "Barrelhouse Blues"
- A gift from Jeanne. Read it April 09-11. A scholarly study of blues recorded on location in the south. Oliver appreciates Document CDs and references them thoughout the book. I very much enjoyed this.
- Laura Hillenbrand, "Unbroken"
- From the library on digital download. Listened to it May 18-30.A group read with Kathy and Angela. The author of Seabiscuit takes on the life of a legendary high school and college track star who becomes a POW during World War Two. Very interesting and well written.
- Harry Bernstein, "The Invisible Wall"
- From the library. Recommended by Tammy's mother. Read it May 18-31. A memoir from 96 year old Harry Bernstein recounting his Jewish upbringing in England before, during and after World War One. Fascinating.
- Renate Stendhal, "Gertrude Stein in Words and Pictures"
- A pictorial biography of Gertrude Stein. A gift from Rob. Read it June 9 - 10. Absolutely delightful with many insights into her life that I was not previously aware of.
- David E. Scherman, "Life Goes to the Movies"
- A gift from Kathy. A big coffee table book celebrating Life Magazine's coverage of the movies from the 1930s through the 1970s. Read it June 16-21. Great photos with a bit of itnteresting writing thrown in.
- Richard Havers and Richard Evans, "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll"A present from Kathy. Read it July 11-14. Great pictures and a lot of trivia I either had forgotten or never knew.
- Keith Richards, "Life"An impulse buy at an estate sale last year. Read it July 26-29. Readable but not loveable. Keith is a self-absorbed jerk who happens to be a very talented musician in the greaatest rock and roll band ever. The book doesn't offer many insights about his talent or the success of the band.
- Michelle Mercer, "Will You take Me As I Am"An anniversary gift from Kathy. The book reports on Joni Mitchell's life during the period in which she wrote the songs for the great album "Blue." Read it August 17-22. Learned a great many things about Joni and the music, some good, some not so good. All that cigarette smoking: ugh!
- Rachel Maddow, "Drift"From the library on audio disk. Listened to it August 28th - September 5th. An absolutely fascinating study of the military budget and the power of presidents to take the country into war. It confirmed all my criticism of Reagan. Highly recommended.
- David A Goslin, "Tee to Green"
- Instructional golf book for people over 50 years old. A few interesting things in it, but overall not that helpful. Read it September 1st - October 14th.
- Irving Zupnick, "Bruegel"
- Read it October 5th - November 5th. Short but interesting look at the life and works of one of the greatest painters in the history of western art.
- Sheila Weiller, "Girls Like Us"
- The lives of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. Read it December 12-29. Very interesting and very detailed. Not sanctioned by Joni. The other two women cooperated. Joni clearly comes off as the artistic genius, whereas the other two women were very popular songwriters who has their great moments.
total books read in 2012: 51
- Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Study in Scarlet"
- First book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it January 29-30. I read it years ago but remembered very little. Nearly half the book takes place in Mormon territory in the U.S. far west. I sure didn't remember that!
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Sign of four"
- Second book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it February 23-25. Holmes has a little more trouble solving this mystery. Still a bright and breezy romp wrapped up quickly and satisfactorily.
- Sue Grafton, "V is for Vengence"
- From the library. Read it March 6-10. A shoplifting gang run by Organized Crime? An ethical gangster? Not the greatest subjects for a Kinsey Milhone novel, but a fun read nonetheless.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"
- Third book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it April 11-18. Great short stories, even if there isn't usually a lot of mystery in them!
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"
- Fourth book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it June 22-29. Sherlock dies at the end of this one but after almost a decade layoff Conan Doyle went on to write many more adventures.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Hound of the Baskervilles"
- Fifth book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it August 6-10. Sherlock retutrns after a ten year hiatus. No mention of his death in the last short story. A fun exciting book from the first page to the last. Totally satisfying mystery. Worthy of it's great reputation.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Return of Sherlock Holmes"
- Sixth book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Started Read it November 5-12. Some great short stories in this volume.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "His Last Bow"
- Seventh book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Started Read it November 13-14. The quality is starting to taper off as Sir Arthur heads toward the end of his writing career. Still worth reading.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Valley of Fear"
- Eighth book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it November 15-21. The last novel in the series. As in the first novel, Doyle takes a Sherlock Holmes mystery as a jumping off point to spin a tale of the American West. Very entertaining.
- Arthur Conan Doyle", "The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes"
- Ninth and final book in "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" a Christmas present from Tom. Read it November 21-28. The final book contained several fine short stories with many great twists and turns. Holmes and Watson do talk on the telephone for the first time in this book, but they do not mention motor cars.
total from the library: 9
total listened to: 4
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