December 31, 2009


I joked that I needed to start cheating if I'm going to make it to 62 books by the end of the year.  Unfortunately, I had misremembered the goal: Rove read 64 books.  I realized this only a couple of days ago.  Even with a couple of hanging-chad books in here towards the end (books that probably shouldn't be counted but we're gonna count 'em anyway on a technicality), I couldn't make it.  No one can beat The Architect.

But I didn't get divorced either, so who's the big winner?  (Ew, that's mean.)

All in all, I was surprised that I could average more than a book a week.  And a decent mix of fluff and "real" books.  I found that a year of reading goes by fast, and several books are still in the pile.  I didn't read a book in French like I planned to.  I also never made it to Lone Survivor; I just didn't have the stomach for it right now.  I'd like to read it once my husband gets home.  Also in the stack for the beginning of next year are several baby books.  I have two months to study up on baby's first year, breastfeeding, how to get her to sleep, etc.  And then, according to popular wisdom, I'll never read again.

All in all, this was a neat exercise, and that original article about the challenge remains one of my favorite things written about George Bush ever.

62)  Zen and the Art of Knitting  (Bernadette Murphy)
I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading about knitting.  Once I realized it was hopeless to make it to 64 books, I decided to read something relaxing.  It's a little hippie-ful for my taste, but it's soothing.

61)  Babyhood  (Paul Reiser)
It's my understanding that there are lots of books lying around Iraq and Afghanistan.  The troops read them and leave them in common areas for someone else to pick up.  My husband happened upon this book and read it.  He then bought it for me for Christmas because he thought it was funny and I might enjoy it.  I laughed so hard I cried in parts.  (Of course, I'm hormonal, so then I kept crying.)

60)  The Crisis of Islam  (Bernard Lewis)
I don't know how I didn't read this six years ago, but I ought to have.  Nonetheless, it was still worth reading today.  It's a basic primer on where Islamists are coming from, the history and philosophy that drives terrorists.

59)  Charlotte Sometimes  (Penelope Farmer)
I've been stocking up on books for my little girl, and I got this one because of the song.  And because of, well, other reasons.  And who knew that there would also be a character named Sarah?  Or that the first lines of the song, the ones that make me think of my struggle to have this baby, were the first lines of the book...

All the faces, all the voices blur
Change to one face, change to one voice

58)  Charlotte's Web  (E.B. White)
An endearing secondary storyline I remember from the TV show Ed was when Carol said she liked the book Charlotte's Web and didn't understand why people always thought it was so sad.  It turns out, at the end of the episode, her dad gives her a new copy of Charlotte's Web, saying that when she was young and her mother died, he had cut the final pages of the book out and typed up a new ending in which Charlotte lived happily ever after.  He had wanted to protect her from sadness.  I always thought that was a sweet story of parenthood.

57)  Pursuit of Honor  (Vince Flynn)
I wanted to read this just because Glenn Beck called Chapter 50 "conservative porn."  Heh.  It turned out to be an enjoyable read all around.
A while back, Amritas asked why I liked Brad Thor's books.  I think Vince Flynn's character Mitch Rapp falls in the same category as Scot Harvath.  And my answer was simple: these protagonists are like Jack Bauer, but in the books, the bad guys are always terrorists and usually Muslims...unlike the show 24, where we always seem to learn in the fifteenth hour that the bad guys are really white guys working for a corporation.  They are simple stories about clandestine operatives working to keep the United States safe, with none of the PC baggage that shows and movies seem to have these days.  No evil white CEOs.

56)  What Americans Really Want...Really  (Frank Luntz)
I had no intention of reading this book because, really, I thought the title was just too goofy.  But AirForceWife also gave it her seal of approval, so I went for it.  What struck me about this book is how unlike me everything seems.  I don't fall into one of the five categories of how people behave and think, I thought the political chapter was absolutely off-base with my values, I thought the chapter on teens made me feel like an old fuddy-duddy (I stopped dating before cell phones and digital cameras), and so on.  I don't doubt Luntz's work or research; I just wonder how I am so unlike these great swaths of Americans.  I feel like that apocryphal lady who didn't know anyone who voted for Nixon: my people, my tribe, doesn't believe these things.  So how American does that make us if everyone else around us just wants security and organic food?  (I mean, nearly 50% of poll respondents said that the 2nd Amendment mattered the least to them...and a good margin less to them than even the self-incrimination part of the 5th!)

55)  Survival of the Sickest  (Dr. Sharon Moalem)
AirForceWife lent me this book, and I couldn't recommend it more.  It explains why we have certain diseases today: At one point in history, diseases like hemochromatosis and diabetes were actually selected for because they helped people survive in their environment.  It was so interesting.  There was also a section vindicating Lamarck and talking about how your fetus' genetic makeup can be altered by what you eat even before you know you are pregnant.  I ate seven days of Las Vegas buffets...yikes.

54)  Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control  (Jeff Snyder)
Nothing pumps me up like guns and taxes.  I really enjoyed reading this book and the arguments behind the fundamental right of gun ownership.  I found it after CVG sent me the link to Walter Mitty's Second Amendment, one of the essays in this book.

53)  Pearl Harbor  (Newt Gingrich)
The authors really did a good job of making you feel like you were at Pearl Harbor.  It was harrowing.  However, I didn't realize until I was finished that it was a set-up book for an alternate history sequel, in which the Japanese hit hard in a third strike and really piss off a sleeping giant.  I guess I would've preferred a straight-out historical fiction instead of trying to figure out after the fact what was real and what was invented.

52)  For The New Intellectual  (Ayn Rand)
Blog post on the book here.

51)  What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding  (Thomas Hill)
My husband got this book as a gift when I was pregnant the first time.  He read a few pages and then set it aside when disaster struck.  So I pulled it back out and decided to read it now and annotate the margins for him, noting things I was indeed experiencing.  I mailed it to him so he could flip through it in Afghanistan, and he said he has been reading it.

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Posted by: Sarah at 06:51 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I told you how horrified the Frank Luntz book made me!  All I could think for three days after reading it was,  *We are all so screwed.  So damn screwed...*

And I think I need to get Charlotte Sometimes for my girls.  Thanks for reminding me. 

Posted by: airforcewife at December 31, 2009 06:30 PM (uE3SA)

2 I didn't read many actual books this year.  Most of my reading has been online.  Time not spent online, I mostly spent on other projects (a lot of cross-stitching, and for a good cause).  Grim over at Grim's Hall has a post about doing a book club kind of thing, starting with a Louie Lamour book, and I think I'll try to participate.  I still have a stack of books in my possession (not all mine, some are my dad's) that I want to get read.  I need to finish the one book I've been working on for a while (it's been on hold a lot, so I could hit my deadline in the fall for the cross-stitch).  I need to get that one done, and then get started with some other reading.

Think you'll find out how many books Bush & Rove read in 2009?  I don't think I'll be able to get anywhere near 1+ books a week.  I tend to go through phases where I read, read, read, and then phases where I don't pick up a book for quite a while...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 01, 2010 08:27 PM (vqKnu)

3 Whoa, I had no idea that Charlotte Sometimes was a book first!! And an Emma is in there, too.....

Posted by: Kate at January 04, 2010 12:57 PM (JIGe1)

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