Archive | December, 2011

2011 Reading List

30 Dec

At the end of the year, people always write how many books they read. So last year, I was curious and decided to write down every book I read throughout 2011. Of course, as with any list or task, I sometimes forgot – and then had to recall from memory, so if anything, this list is missing one or two books. Also, I noticed that when I started my teaching job my reading-for-enjoyment level plummeted quite severely. To note: these are all books I read in their entirety (I did not include any book that I didn’t read from cover to cover). Finally, some of the books I’ve read before (Fahrenheit 451 and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) but I re-read them for teaching purposes.
I had fun keeping a list. Tomorrow I may state my top favorites out of this list.

Here they are:

  1. “X” out of Wonderland – David Allen Cates (from Missoula; read this book on a flight to L.A. in January)
  2. “1” – Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada
  3. Intuition – Allegra Goodman
  4. The Big Questions – Steven E. Landsburg
  5. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  6. Wide Awake – Diana Winston
  7. 365 Ways to Change the World – Michael Norton
  8. Norwood – Charles Portis (of True Grit fame)
  9. Play it as it lays – Joan Didion
  10. Winter in the Blood – James Welch
  11. In Defence of Food – Michael Pollan
  12.  The Bean Trees – Barbara Kingsolver
  13. Outer Dark – Cormac McCarthy
  14. This Land Is Their Land – Barbara Ehrenreich
  15. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
  16. The Realm of Possibility – David Levitahn
  17. Three Pigs in 5 Days – Francine Prose
  18. Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  19. Termite Parade – Joshua Mohr
  20. The Financial Lives of Poets – Jess Walter
  21. WTF – Peter Lerangis
  22. The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
  23. The Gospel of Anarchy – Justin Taylor
  24. With or Without You – Brian Farrey
  25. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart – Gordon Livingston, M.D.
  26. One Day – David Nicholls
  27. The Notebook – Jose Saramago
  28. A Lesson Before Dying – Ernest J. Gaines
  29. The Tale of the Unknown Island – Jose Saramago

Here is where I started my job:

30. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

31. The Tale of Desperaux – Kate DiCamillo

32. An American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang

33. Where You Are – J.H. Trumble (not yet published)

34. More Sex is Safer Sex – Steven Landsburg

35. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

36. Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas – John Baxter

In total, I realized that I read a lot less this year than last (which I figured from my bookshelf, that I had read around 45 books in 2010), and I think it’s due to the job. I was averaging about four books a month until August, at which point I only managed 7 titles in four months.

Here’s to the books I will enjoy and learn from in 2012!


Christmas 2011

25 Dec

A few quick thoughts (don’t take me too seriously): I’m sitting – looking out the glass doors of my Palm Springs resort condo. But that’s a lie. It’s Christmas Night 2011 and I’m lying. The resort is actually in Rancho Mirage. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither. It’s near Palm Springs – so there’s approximation.

            It’s dark. The sliver of the moon is actually falling below the mountains that stretch just beyond the pool; the sun fell so quickly today – within a few minutes it was gone. The same bright star (planet? space station?) is out as was out last night. The only light in the sky – directly west.

            I wished on that star last night. It contented me for the night. Am I content again tonight? I am not. Should I wish upon it again? I shall not.

            The moon is falling further behind the horizon that ate the sun. Only the silhouette of the mountain range lies awake. Though it’s only 6:30 – and mother in the other room preparing Christmas dinner, brother and dad out to the store. Myself, with a screen and a cold, staring out the sliding doors. This is the epitome of aloneness. Not that being alone bothers me. But that is also what my wish was all about. Sort of.

            Isn’t the moon supposed to rise as the sun falls? Isn’t that the way we’ve been raised?

            It’s funny. The song that just came on was Stars by the XX.

            “Cause we can give it time. So much time.”

            My wish had to do with patience, too.

            I feel like I’m always being played with – toyed with. I let myself. My emotions fluctuate. I let them. I’m wild. Perhaps crazy.

Like Hemingway, I am a writer. Though don’t think I’m actually comparing my writing skills to Hemingway. Just his craziness.

            “But if stars should shine, by the very first time, then dear it’s fine, so fine by me.”

            Another magical night – this one more magical because it’s supposed to be. Christmas time always reminds me of the sadness that corrupts my deep soul. Life is often painful, but perhaps my family, in the other room (my dad and brother now back) is where I will let the pain dissolve. That is part of my definition of love.

            Merry Christmas.