Thursday, January 5, 2012

Books of 2011 - December

I had ambitious plans for today but they (and I) have been laid low by a vicious stomach virus from, well, you can fill in the rest. Miss Lili and I both have it although the rest of our family has avoided it... so far. {ominous music}

So, instead of ambitious blogging, I'll just share my December reading list. I hope to have my "Books of the Year" wrap-up ready soon. Stay tuned...

1. The English Air. Fiction by D.E. Stevenson. A pre-WW2 story about an English family who has a young German relative come to visit. Which is an intriguing and somewhat unusually ambitious plot for Stevenson.

2.Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. Fiction by Karen Doornebos. One of the few "Austen related" books I checked out a month ago that I actually completed. Mostly. This didn't really hold my attention so well and I skimmed through parts. The heroine is a supposed Austen-ite American who competes on a British reality TV show. Hilarity ensues. Or not.

3.How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books Non-fiction by Joan Bodger. I loved this travel / book memoir very much. After finding out "the rest of the story" (thank you Google) when I finished the book, I am really happy that this family had this amazing experience in England. Divorce, death, and extreme mental illness destroyed this family in the years after their family vacation of a lifetime. Highly recommended for anyone who loves England or the Children's literature that has come out of England.

4.Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris Non-fiction by David King. "And now for something completely different!" This is a horrifying true story about Nazi occupied Paris. The crimes are horrific, never completely explained away, and a chilling reminder that the Nazis weren't the only evil ones around in 1943. This book is only for the strong of stomach.

5.From the Library of C. S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey. Non-fiction compiled by James Stuart Bell. Really,  really good. I copied large sections of this into my commonplace book and read even more of them aloud to Philip. Excellent resource!

6.The Immigrant Advantage: What We Can Learn from Newcomers to America about Health, Happiness and Hope. Non-fiction by Claudia Kolker. I was actually supposed to do a longer review of this book, which I was sent for review purposes. My main difficulty with this book is that correlation does not prove causation, a difficulty the author glosses over more than once. As to the actual practices of the immigrant groups she spent time with, I do see that there are advantages. I had a more specific review planned and then forgot about it and now my brain is fuzzy. I'll have to review this book again soon.

7.London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets. Non-fiction by Peter Ackroyd. As Spock would say: "Fascinating." Next time Philip and I go to London we're going to have to find a guided tour for some of these things.

8.Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. Non-fiction by David Bayles & Ted Orland. Another one that I copied extensively into my commonplace book. You will probably hear more about this one in the future from me. (She hints mysteriously)

9.Murder Must Advertise (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) Fiction by Dorothy Sayers. Series mystery and quite a nice one in the series, I think. Love the biting take on advertising and advertisers. Not much has changed.

10.Hangman's Holiday. Fiction by Dorothy Sayers. A collection of unrelated short stories, rather than one mystery.

11.Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature. Non-fiction by Celia Blue Johnson. "Stories behind the stories". I enjoy these types of books. This one is short and easily read, although there were several authors and stories I could have willingly gone on knowing nothing about.

12.A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter Non-fiction by William Deresiewicz. This one intrigued me because very few men read Austen at all, much less all of her finished novels. There is some language in this book that I could have done without but that's my only complaint. It is, after all, more of a personal memoir than a book about Austen.

December totals:
Fiction: 4 (mostly mysteries and all set in England - I'm just that predictable)
Non-Fiction: 8

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Karin said...

You blow me away with how much you read! Good for you! Get well soon!

Elisabeth said...

I'm sure you know by now that the stomach virus has been in our house lately as well. I am especially sympathetic for you and baby. Praying it has passed by now!

"Gram" said...

1st verse: Get well! Get well soon! We want you to get well! (You know the song.)

2nd verse: Keep that bug away! Please keep that bug away!

I really do hope you're both feeling better quickly. I know that last month we needed Tigger's tummy bug to bypass us so we didn't miss our trip. This time I don't have a reason why I must not get the one attacking you and Miss Lili other than I just don't want it!

Call if you need anything and I'll send it down the elevator shaft right away. :)

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