83/365: The Year in Books

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Am achy and sleepy and just finished wandering around the house looking for something to snap. Books, being very slow-moving and prevalent—one might say the wildebeest of the Johnson home—were the obvious target.

Also it requires almost no mental energy to copy and paste my reading list for the year.

Here’s the list (in chronological order):

  1. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  2. Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  4. Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf
  5. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine
  6. Birthing from Within by Pam England
  7. The Documents in the Case by Dorothy Sayers
  8. Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener by Dominique Browning
  9. Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul by Brett Hoover
  10. Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols
  11. Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion by Phil Zuckerman
  12. The Best American Essays 2011
  13. Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner
  14. Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
  15. The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan
  16. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
  17. Spirit-Led Parenting by Megan Tietz
  18. Breaking Up With God by Sarah Sentilles
  19. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
  20. How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner
  21. What Good Are You Without Your Cheesecake Recipe? by Virginia Sobel
  22. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  23. The Black Tower by P. D. James
  24. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
  25. In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe
  26. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  27. The Autobiography of Margot Asquith

I seem to be allergic to fiction lately, a bad sign for a writer of the same. Bah. I also seem to be reading a lot of self-help—understandable in parenting matters but getting dull in personal enrichment. For a while I was reading self help with the hope it would tell me I wasn’t suited at all for writing and my real, true, genuine purpose was to do something else… hopefully something easy requiring very little ambition or motivation.

No such luck.

The most important books were by far Delusions of Gender and Good Calories, Bad Calories. Those are the ones that noticeably influenced my own life. For pure enjoyment, I would nominate Beverley Nichols, Amy Tan, and Twyla Tharp’s brief musings on the creative life. Although any of the essay collections I read were worth the time. I do like a good essay.

Next year: more books on creative process, childhood development and psychology (may read a textbook as I’m getting weary of upbeat parenting manuals trying to sell me things), personal finance, anything related to World War I and England, and a better showing of fiction.

Ok, and essays.

Some lovely, languid, rambling essays.

Happy reading!


3 thoughts on “83/365: The Year in Books

  1. Did you like Beverly? He makes me very, very happy. Lots of interesting titles on the list. Must make a resolution to find a few super glowy feel good fiction picks for the coming January and February. I have the same kind of list that you do. And also must re-begin recording my reading. Loved doing that.

  2. This is a really impressive list! It’s great that you read so much, and it will all enrich your writing, whether it’s fiction or fact.

  3. I’m so impressed that you managed to get this much “real” reading done given the year you’ve had. I think you should call it a huge success whether or not you’ve had much appetite for fiction.

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