Ohmygosh. I’ve totally left this and now I can’t remember all I’ve read so far. This is exactly why I need to keep the blog; even if only to list titles.
Let’s see what I can reconstruct
- A Thousand Splendid Suns: by the guy who wrote The Kite Runner I may have actually read this at the end of 2008. It is about the treatment of women (2 women in particular) by the Taliban in Afghanistan around 9/11. Those guys are f*($(&^! nuts. Nice story of heroism and perseverence. I might have read this at the end of 2008 (during the snow storm of December) so I won’t count it for my 2009 count.
- Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. One of my favorite authors. I’ve got an extended entry elsewhere on my blog of this fantastic book.
- I am Legend by Richard Matheson. Read this after seeing the movie. Way, WAY different ending – and better than the movie. But it really makes my point about a lot of science fiction; lots of science; not very good fiction. When compared to Bridge of Sighs it just doesn’t measure up. I might have read this at the end of 2008, so won’t count it for my 2009 count
- Couples by John Updike. I read this shortly after he died. I’ve tried to read this before but never really got into it until this year. Nice story; depressing. Interesting if nothing else than for the look into the 60’s society.
- The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam. Wow; what a great history of the Korean War, the 50’s and a look into how politics works. The political parts alone provide a way to look at the politics of the earliest 21st century; the more things change the more they stay the same. What I particularly liked about this book was the way it gave concise, detailed summaries of many different topics. Learned why the Korean War started; a lot about Douglas MacArthur (what a meglomaniac (sp)); and the battles against communism and the division between right and left. The Replublicans really hated FDR (I mean what did he do besides win World War II); and I guess things just haven’t changed.
- As They See ‘Em” by Bruce Weber. As baseball started I figured it was time to read a baseball book. A neat story about umpires, giving a glimpse into the methods of umpiring; the tough life of minor league umpires, and what makes umpires tick. The author went to one of the MLB sanctioned umpire schools and interviewed lots of umpires in the majors and the minors. It gave me a real appreciation for what they do. I went to some Spring Training games while reading it (and AAA games after). I focused on the umpires at work, rather that the players. It was real eye opening; they have a tough job and I’ve had a hard time heckling them since!
- The Elmore Leonard interlude. Vacation hit and I wanted something light – just a book or two. Then I listened to an interview with Mr. Leonard on On Point . One of the people interviewed is a past Poet Laureate of the United States and a book editor for the NY Times. He raved about Elmore Leonard and said he has asked to review all his books for the NY Times. So, I figured, let’s read some and see what’s up. I got hooked. Here is a list of what I’ve read so far.
- Out of Sight Started with this book about a bank robber because it has the same characters as his latest and I didn’t want to pay for the hardcover. Real fun
- Be Cool I wanted to get caught up with Chili Palmer
- Rum Punch about arms dealers in Florida. Lots of tough guys and saps not realizing how far they are into bad stuff until it’s too late – seems like a common theme
- Forty Lashes Less One. A western. Kind of dumb premise; one of Elmore’s first, not one of his best
- The Law at Randado A cool western – again about jail, hmmm lots of his books start out in jail or prison
- Escape from Five Shadows. Did I say lots of his books start in prison. Fun; good hero.
- Hombre Not one of Elmore’s most lovable characters.
- Okay, I’m going to read some more; but 1 Elmore Leonard book can’t count as a full 1 book toward by goal.
- Jesus Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman. My religious book for the year. Another foray into what has been called the New Paradigm. It takes a look at the New Testament through the lens of historical criticism. It shows the many discrepancies in the bible, why they are there, and how we can take a new look at the Bible without losing faith (although he is agnostic now). He started life as a fundamentalist and became much more liberal in his view of Christianity as he went through seminary at Princeton.
So that gets us up to early August 2009. For the official count, let’s figure this
- Bridge of Sighs Richard Russo
- Couples. John Updike
- The Coldest Winter David Halberstam
- As They See ‘Em Bruce Weber
- 7 Elmore Leonard crime novels and westerns
I’ll try to be more on top of it through the rest of the year; even if just to the point of getting titles and dates.