16 January 2008

What I read in 2007

Posted in books, reviews at 9:44 pm by Tricia

Inspired by Ruth sometime early in 2007, I started keeping track of the books I read. Sadly, I wasn’t able to keep up with her pace, but I still decided to share my list. I hope to read more this year! (I’m on #3 already :^)

Not counting assorted kid books, including multiple Junie B Jones (audio books while traveling, or read-alouds to Z and T) or Magic Tree House (ditto) or Tin-Tin or etc, here are the books I read/finished in 2007 – at least, the ones I remembered to write down! It does include 2 youth fiction books (4 if you include Harry Potter, which probably have more pages than all the ‘grown-up’ books I read!), because I read those to myself :^)

  1. Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan (started in 2006 at the urgent care office when I broke my shoulder; read in chunks because it kept getting recalled by the library; finished just after my final shoulder follow-up appointment with the ortho doc)
  2. Man Eating Bugs, by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio (started last year; finished mostly during the 15 minute sessions of “ice and stim” at biweekly physical therapy)
  3. Mountains beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder (the “community reads” book for my city in 2007, although I didn’t participate in any of the CR events)
  4. Troubling a Star, by Madeleine L’Engle (my all-time favorite author – so sad to read of her passing this fall, but she had a long and full life)
  5. Hans Brinker, by Mary Mapes Dodge (Even as an audio book, I almost gave up in the 2nd chapter, trudging through Dutch history or whatever it was!)
  6. Feeding a yen : savoring local specialities, from Kansas City to Cuzco, by Calvin Trillin (not as entertaining as I’d been led to believe it would be)
  7. The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers (odd and unsettling – sorry, Ruth!)
  8. The Last Chinese Chef, by Nicole Mones (very tantalizing descriptions of ‘real’ Chinese food; nice character development)
  9. major chunks of the very silly and bizarre Areas of my Expertise by John Hodgman
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson (made me cry!!) (still haven’t seen the movie, though)
  11. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling (re-read as preparation for…)
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling (loved it!)
  13. A Crossword to Die For, by Nero Blanc
  14. 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher, by Lee Wardlaw (funny and poignant)
  15. 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents, by Lee Wardlaw (ditto)
  16. Dark Tort, by Diane Mott Davidson (murder mystery series, the main character is a caterer so the books always include recipes)
  17. Sweet Revenge, by Diane Mott Davidson

That works out to just barely more than 1 per month. Slow! I might be missing a couple between 13 (late August) and 14 (November), but I was also fairly busy in the fall so maybe I didn’t read anything else. I didn’t listen to as many books on CD as in 2006, because I now have a lot of podcasts that I listen to during my ‘commute’ (walk or bus ride).

Two things drew me to Man Eating Bugs. A while back, I heard an interview on one of my food radio shows with Menzel and D’Aluisio, a husband-and-wife team, and thoroughly enjoyed their back-and-forth banter. Menzel is the photographer and enthusiastic bug eater, while D’Aluisio is the researcher and a reluctant bug eater. Faith D’Aluisio made the point that there are 2 kinds of insect-eating cultures: the ones who like crunchy stuff (e.g. grasshoppers, ants) and the ones who like ‘creamy’ stuff (witchety grubs, termites, etc). I had to find out more! Plus, I read their Hungry Planet in 2006 and it was fascinating. Here’s a quote from the book’s afterword:

Eating insects never got easy, but I learned that it is possible. And I now realize the experience changed my life. Dropping by the local supermarket is not the same for me anymore. Though I’ve always been stunned by the sheer amount and variety of food available in the United States, the shelves of the supermarket carry only a narrow slice of what the world has to offer, one dictated by the preferences of North Americans like me. Except the small percentage of insect parts inadvertently included in our foods (and allowed there by U. S. law), there are not insects — except, sometimes, lobsters, which are relatives of spiders. I don’t really want a plethora of insects to choose from in my supermarket. But now I know there could be.” —Faith D’Aluisio. [Man Eating Bugs, Afterword. p 187]

With Harry Potter 7, I had a very different approach from many of my friends. They started reading the book as soon as they got it, and hid away from the world to avoid hearing spoilers. Although I pre-ordered from Borders and took C & Z to the midnight release party, I put off reading the book because I didn’t want the story to end. And when I started reading (a month or more later, without encountering any spoilers!), I read it somewhat slowly, because I wanted to savor every moment! I’m not saying my approach is any better, it’s just interesting to me to see the differences.

Here’s to more books in 2008!

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6 Comments »

  1. Lee Wardlaw said,

    I’m honored that two of my novels made it on your reading list last year!
    Thanks for mentioning them . . . and for saying they are ‘funny and poignant.’ That’s what I was going for!

    Speaking of Man Eating Bugs . . . the story I wrote in the anthology called
    Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories (edited by Nancy Mercado) features a bug-eating boy!

    Keep you eye open next year for my 3rd novel in the ‘bugging’ series: 101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies.

    I’m glad you’ve caught the reading bug!

    ~Lee Wardlaw
    “Behind every great woman is a cat and a fridge full of dark chocolate.”

  2. jonskifarms said,

    Wow, a comment from the author – I’m honored! I must admit that I first read 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher because my 10yo ordered it via Scholastic and I was worried about what he might inflict on his teacher! But I quickly realized that bugging your teacher wasn’t really the point. I loved the resolution with the teacher, and I love the “be true to who you are” message.

    As it turns out, my 7 year old’s class focused on Egypt for the annual multi-cultural fair this past December. I joked with his teacher that they should recreate the scenario in your book (minus the dogs), so then she had to read the book. :^) We all will look forward to reading your next book!

  3. Kathy said,

    I’m finally reading Harry Potter. I just finished Order of the Phoenix, so that’s the last one I can compare to a movie.

  4. Ruth said,

    I, too, am honored – that I inspired you! And that you read The Echo Maker when I recommended it, but sorry you didn’t like it.

    My reading’s getting off to a slow start this year. First, I’m spending way too much time reading online news, and secondly, I’ve discovered podcasts…

  5. susan e said,

    Hey T-girl — you should sign up at goodreads.com — you can keep track of your reading and rate it! If I didn’t put my books on there, I’d never remember what I’ve read.

  6. jonskifarms said,

    Kathy, Order of the Phoenix is one of the view I didn’t re-read (or re-listen to) just before seeing the movie. I probably should have, though!

    Ruth, no need to apologize about The Echo Maker. At times I wanted to stop, but I just had to keep reading, so I must have seen something in it – it was just kind of unsettling, that’s all.

    Susan, I’ll just have to look into that site. I’ve finished 3 books already this year, so I’ll even have some data at hand to enter. :^)


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