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What's on your reading list?
Here we are at the beginning of another year in books.
2014 was a dismal reading year for me. I did not crack a single print book, and most of my reading was on my Kindle or through links on Google News. I did a lot of reading on airplanes, and I kept up with the New York Times Sunday edition. At least, I looked at the front pages after I picked up the newspapers from my driveway and removed the blue wrappers. That counts. Other than that, it was a wash when it came to reading for enlightenment and/or enjoyment. Reading to kill time was the goal.
I like New Year's because I like making lists, and it's always fun to create a new reading list. My favorite reads from 2014 were all from the Harry Bosch homicide detective series by Michael Connelly, (the guy who wrote, The Lincoln Lawyer). These are whodunnits and not terribly hard to figure out (most real crimes aren't that complicated), but I like the characters and the slow reveal of the protagonist's backstory. Now that I've finished reading all of the Harry Bosch novels, it's time for something new.
I was scrolling around the other day and ran across Maria Popova's Brain Pickings blog. As usual, I got snagged by one of her brilliant tag lines, and this one had to do with Neil deGrasse Tyson, a fascinating astrophysicist-cosmologist, who has been on the twittersphere lately saying controversial things like...
Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them.
I like him because he makes no apologies for being smart, and he's kind of edgy about it. On Reddit's public Q&A Ask Me Anything series, he offered up a reading list of eight books that every intelligent person should read in order to gain insight into the development of the western world. Okay, I'll bite.
- The Bible
- The System of the World by Isaac Newton
- On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
- The Prince by Machiavelli
Not a bad list for growing more of the little gray cells. Hefty, meaningful, tedious but enlightening. Let's add a few more from Woody Allen's movie, Midnight in Paris, which I watched on Xfinity Encore TV last weekend.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eilliot (on which the musical, Cats, is based)
- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
I should read these Lost Generation classics. On Hemingway, I'd rather watch the 1943 production of For Whom the Bell Tolls starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, and I've read The Old Man and the Sea, his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize epic masterpiece. We'll see how far I get with this list.
To be honest, I'm in the mood for something a little lighter and more modern. Let's take a look at reader's choice Best Books of 2014 from the NY Times Sunday Book Review, LibraryThing, Amazon Books and goodreads. For starters...
- Once Upon A Town by Bob Greene (WWII in Nebraska)
- Can't We Talk About Something more Pleasant? by Roz Chast (Aging Parents)
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Building a Gothic Cathedral)
- Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (Century Trilogy, Book #1)
- Winter of the Worlds by Ken Follett (Century Trilogy, Book #2)
- Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett (Century Trilogy, Book #3)
- The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (abolition, suffrage, historical fiction)
- The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (family drama)
My 2015 Reading Resolution: Read a book that takes place in each state in the U.S.
Have fun reading!