« Aflame | Main | Time to Celebrate! »

December 29, 2011


Thanks, Beth! I seem to be on 2 and 1/6th times... Glad.

yes, Julian Barnes left me wondering too.

Alas, most of my reading matter has been work-related and next year it will be for my French course and work-related, but you remind me to take the time to read purely for pleasure...

Wow, that's an impressive list! And a fairly wide range, too.

I'll be embarrassed when I post my 2011 reading list next week (as per tradition), because 2011 was an all-time low, at least as far as book are concerned. That came about partly due to a drastic change in my daily schedule (no more commuting as of June) and partly due to my iPad, which has enabled me to read a lot more long-form journalism than I usually do. I've read many, many articles from The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York Times, The New Republic, The Economist, etc.; much more than in previous years. So at least I'm reading! But I hope to get back to reading actual books in 2012, especially as I have not slowed down my purchasing of said items.

Well Beth i am in the tiny village of Tahsis on the west side of Vancouver Island.Sending this from the wireless at the local dive shop where the owner/Mayor Jude has kindly allowed me internet access while she prepares her report for the council meeting Tuesday.In Tahsis for my reading week,currently reading "The Emperor of all maladies" which won Pulitzer last year i think.Its a kind of history of cancer and am finding it difficult to put down.Quite impressive so far.I think Jude is finishing report so will respond more later

Thanks for sharing your list, Beth. I found it so interesting that you've inspired me to do the same on my blog. (Oh my god, a blog post! I made a blog post!) http://martinepage.com/blog/2011/12/31/lectures-2011/

Oh, I hadn't read any of your reviews before! Nice.

Hi Beth,
While it's not surprising I also read Open City, I like that Mrs Dalloway is repeated.  Your travels are evident in the Icelandic reading; my only theme was a month of books linked by mountains.

2011 book list

Food Rules, Michael Pollan (illustrated by Maria Kalman)
The Gourmet, Muriel Barbery
How to live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Arnold Bennett
Help!, Oliver Burkeman
Letters, Saul Bellow
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
There are Other Rivers, Alastair Humphreys
The Pleasures of Reading in an Ages of Distraction, Alan Jacobs
The Double, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Birds of Selborne, Gilbert White
Romantic Moderns, Alexandra Harris
The Saint, Oliver Broudy
Hyperion, Dan Simmons
The Harpole Report, J.L.Carr
The Bay of Noon, Shirley Hazzard
The Mood of Future Joys, Alastair Humphreys
A Word Child, Iris Murdoch
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell
For Richer, For Poorer: a Love Affair with Poker, Victoria Coren
The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Finding Sanctuary, Christoper Jamison
A Time to Keep Silence, Patrick Leigh Fermor
Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
The Riddle of the Sands, Erskine Childers
To a Mountain in Tibet, Colin Thubron
Che Guevera and the Mountain of Silver, Anne Mustoe
Mountains of the Mind, Robert MacFarlane
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
One Day, David Nicholls

Happy New Year!

I recently discovered Nathaniel Hawthorne, through hearing a short story of his read on the radio, and am reading "The House of the Seven Gables". Wonderful descriptions of places and character. I'd hardly heard of him before: maybe he's not much read nowadays as his style is what's called 'leisurely'.

All the very best for 2012! (Gawd, the years mount up...)

A few more thoughts:

11 of the books were on my Kindle (which is perfect for a certain kind of book but appalling for others, notably those requiring a glossary or skipping around).

I completely agree with you about Byatt, Beth: I failed to finish Possession for the same reasons you found her hard work. I really enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray when I read it at school but do think Wilde is suited to early reading.

My favourite was Mrs Dalloway, followed by Darkness at Noon. Best light read was One Day, and Saul Bellow’s Letters took the entire year in short bursts.

Blork and Martine, thanks -- readers, do go and read their lists! John, hope you'll tell us more...

Aleppo, thanks for both of these comments and for sharing your list here. I wish more people would do that - it's fascinating to me and, I think, to a lot of readers. I'm glad you agree with me about Byatt. And isn't it funny about Dorian Gray? I really liked the first half, or more, of the book and thought it was brilliant, original, well-written, even if a bit florid. I wish he has been able to sustain it for the entire length. And good for you for reading Saul Bellow's Letters - what was that like?

I enjoy reading people's annotated reading lists. May I make a recommendation, my favourite book of the year: Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo. It's about war and food, and how eating and cooking help keep the author sane and focussed while in Lebanon and Iraq with her war-correspondant husband. It casts light on how very different our North American life is from life in the Mideast. It's well-written, and you learn a lot.

Best wishes, Beth, for a happy and creative 2012.

Thanks so much, Andrea! I'll look this book up right away because, with our own Middle Eastern connection, it sounds exactly like something I'd like. Happy New Year to you, too.

Saul Bellow's Letters was magnificent. I've enjoyed most of his novels (with Herzog my favourite, perhaps appropriately) and his letters are lyrical, marvellous things. It was also an interesting insight into the arc of his life, both personal and intellectual. And so many marriages!

You are clearly focused and organized.To tell you the truth i can't remember exactly the books i read this year,some are on the island and in some cases i can't for sure remember whether i read a particular book this year or last.Some i have read i am pretty sure this year.
The Tao of Travel -Paul Theroux
Japanese death poems-compiled by Yoel Hoffman
Turtle Feet-Nikolai Grozni
Nomad-Ayaan Hirsi Ali
True and False -David Mamet
A freewheeling Time-Suze Rotolo
A River Of Doubt-Candice Millard
Everybook Book its Reader-Nicholas Brabanes
Eating Dirt-Charlotte Gill
Andes-Michael Jacobs
Into the Silence Wade Davis
Empire of the summer sun-S.C.Gwynne
Clarissa Oakes-Patrick O'Brien
Arguably- Christopher Hitchens
The Japanese Diaries of Richard Gordon Smith-Ed Victoria Manthorpe
The Emperor of Maladies- Siddharta Mukherjee
A Drinking Life-Pete Hamill
The secret Scriptures-Sebastian Barry
The philosopher and the Wolf-Wade Rowlands
Book Row-Marvin Mondlin+ Roy Meador
Surprises would be Eating Dirt.Hard to imagine tree planting on Vancouver Island being interesting but Charlotte Gill Is a talented writer.Into the Silence was talked about in the Globe a couple of days ago.Nearly 600 pages its a door stopper but for me well worth the time.The Japanese Diaries a really nice surprise.I found it in a used book store in Campbell River.Smith himself was a dud i think but the photos and art illustrations from 1900 Japan stunning.i liked all the books or else i wouldn't have finished them.Some moved me including the latest The emperor Of Maladies about the history and the war against Cancer.I dunno maybe some made me a better person or maybe just a tiny bit wiser.
I 'll check out your list maybe the Heaney and Aira books.The Virginia woolf Mrs Dalloway and the Hardy book were on the reading list for an English U course i took forever ago.The history of the Novel maybe was the course but i didn't read them i am pretty sure so i must have cheated.Professor Young i hope you aren't reading this

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.