Read in 2013, Part 1

Last December I thoroughly* enjoyed reading the lists of what my friends had read the previous year.  My friend Rachel quotes her English teacher: “If I could remember all of the books I’ve read, it would be the perfect autobiography.”

Here’s my own list for the first half of 2013.

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  This book came on an e-reader my sister in-law passed on to me.  I couldn’t stop reading the story, and it really helped me get over my e-reader prejudice.  A very good read.

  2. It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot.  Lovely collection of stories from an English country vet in the 1930s.

  3. Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.  Oh, Douglas Adams.  The story took a while to come together, but it was quite fun when it did.  Apparently an early Doctor Who episode almost exactly matches this plot.

  4. City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  I saw the very end of the movie version once in a hotel and added it to my BookMooch wishlist.  A very enjoyable work of children’s apocalyptic fiction.

  5. People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau.  Part 2 of City of Ember.  Also quite good.

  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  Greg got me this one for Valentine’s Day.  I really, really enjoyed it (and saw it on my advisor’s desk a few weeks ago).  This post shares some of the thoughts it inspired.

  7. Lillith by George MacDonald.  Rachel’s been after me to read this for years, but I figured it was some work of deep theology and put it off.  Plus, I couldn’t ever find it in a used book store.  Enter: gifted e-reader, free books from the Gutenberg project, and trip to Peru.  It was wonderful.  It had a slightly similar feel to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I liked Lillith 1000 times better.  I can see why C.S. Lewis was so influenced by MacDonald’s imagery.  (And it is deep theology, but told through a beautiful story.)

  8. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein.  This was the one physical novel I carried with me across Peru, in case my e-Reader died mid-trip.  I picked it up because Bilbo’s wonderful line from the movie trailer (“I’m going on an adventure!”) summed up my most optimistic attitude towards my Peru trip.  Naturally, the book holds up well to re-reading.

  9. The Time Machine by HG Wells.  Another free ebook.  I’d forgotten what a short story this is!  I read it on the train to and from Machu Picchu.

  10. Harry Potter 1-7 by JK Rowling.  Delightful as always.  I really enjoyed reading these all in a row.  (They finished out my Peru trip.)

  11. 2

  12. 3

  13. 4

  14. 5

  15. 6

  16. 7

  17. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.  Greg owned this one for some class.  It follows a high-powered, Robin Hood-like doctor (true story) practicing in rural Haiti.  He has insightful thoughts about medicine, global health, poverty, and common sense.  Plus, what I learned here about the drug-resistant TB epidemic in Peru and Russia has come up in multiple conversations.

  18. The Chosen by Chaim Potok.  This and The Promise are some of Greg’s favorite books – it was time for me to read them!  They follow two Jewish boys in New York during and after WWII as they navigate different interpretations of their faith, the revelation of the Holocaust, and their vocations.  I enjoyed the read.

  19. The Promise by Chaim Potok

  20. Confessions by Augustine.  This book took about 6 months to finish!  For a fast reader like me, it felt like eternity.  I was quite struck by how modern many of Augustine’s struggles and musings were (some of my musings are here and here, with more to come soon).  I’m quite glad to have read this foundational work.

  21. The Yearling by Majorie Rawlings.  We got to hear Andrew Peterson sing his new album Light for the Lost Boy in concert, and several of the songs on it were inspired by The Yearling and Peterson’s childhood in Florida.  I remember picking out this book as a child at the Scholastic warehouse because it had a pretty picture of a fawn on the cover.  I cried and cried the first time I read it.  This time, I identified less with the theme of adorable deer and cried less at the ending, though it is still quite moving.

  22. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  This novel and its sequel are now imprinted especially strong on my imagination.  In the near future, a handful of Jesuit priests and friends are the first to travel to a world with other sentient species.  I’ll leave it there so as not to spoil anything.  The author’s musings on Christianity, suffering, and encountering new races were generally pretty good.  I can see, however, her (adopted) Jewish faith in the way she has the characters process through suffering – though God is involved, God’s suffering in the form of Christ on the cross doesn’t make a major impact.  Still, it will be a long time before this story fades from my mind.

  23. Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.  Part 2.

  24. Let Sleeping Vets Lie by James Harriot.  On “book hangover” from The Sparrow, I chose the next installment of the light, easy stories of the country vet.

  25. Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau.  Finally gave in and bought the final book in the City of Ember series.  Not as good as the first two, but still enjoyable.

  26. Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel.  Another book Greg had left over from some class.  The author gives a biography of Galileo Galilei informed by the surviving letters from his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste.  It was wonderfully written and gives a really fair treatment of the Church and scientists involved in the “conflict” surrounding Galileo’s work, as well as some insight into day-to-day life in the 17th century.  I see a lot of parallels in the evolution “vs.” creation debate now (“vs.” since I think this and many such controversies are false dichotomies) and the debate over a heliocentric worldview in Galileo’s time.

 

*Anyone else have a word that you can never spell right on the first try?  Mine’s thoroughly.  And recipe.

 

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1 Comment

Filed under What I've Read

One response to “Read in 2013, Part 1

  1. Lisa

    Mine is exercise. Auto correct just saved me this time 🙂

    Also, I’ll have to check out some of these!

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