Sunday, January 3, 2010

Books Read in 1965 and 2009

In September 1965 I began keeping a record of the non-classroom books I read (September - August). This would have been my sophomore year in high school. There's a gap from August 1970 to January 1972 (busy English Major, I guess), but from 1972 forward I have continued to record the books I've completed during the calendar year.

Here's what I read as a high school sophomore: The Door, Mary Roberts Rinehart; Letter From Peking, Pearl S. Buck; The Revolutionary, Schoonover; On the Beach, Neville Shute; The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck; Alas Babylon, Frank; Travels With Charlie, John Steinbeck; Doctor in the House, Gordon; Doctor at Large, Gordon; Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell; Up the Down Staircase, Kaufman; Failsafe, Burdick & Wheeler; The Trouble with Angels, Trahey; Mr. Roberts, Heggen; and The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Quite an eclectic mix. Back in the day when Portland students attended the schools in their own neighborhood, I walked about a mile to and from high school with my friends Kathy and Louise. I recall our lively discussions about GWTW during those treks, and our assessments of Scarlett versus Melanie. At the time, Kathy was convinced that Melanie was a wimp. I saw her more as the steel magnolia type. As for Scarlett -- I think she'd be a female Donald Trump in a more liberated era.

Having read The Complete Sherlock Holmes, I hesitate to see the new Robert Downey version of Holmes...since I hear it veers widely from the source material. Ah well, that's Hollywood.

Too bad several of the books from 1965-66 are hard to come by nowadays. Some are pure "feel good" stories, a couple were sharp political commentaries on the times.

Okay, so fast forward to 2009. I'm reading for escapism, curiosity, and the genre in which I write: Inkdeath, Cornelia Funke; Coraline, Neil Gaiman; Silks, Dick Francis; The Red Dahlia, Lynda La Plante; The First Counsel, Brad Meltzer; The Alibi Man, Tami Hoag; The Glass Dragon, Irene Radford; What the Dead Know, Laura Lippman; Seeker, Jack McDevitt; The Devil's Eye, Jack McDevitt; The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander McCall Smith; The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Alexander McCall Smith; Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, Alexander McCall Smith; The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell; Survival, Julie E. Czerneda; Migration, Julie E. Czerneda; Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows; The Tomb of Zeus, Barbara Cleverly; What Angels Fear, C. S. Harris; When Gods Die, C. S. Harris; Why Mermaids Sing, C. S. Harris.

Predominately mysteries and science fiction/fantasy. Also several series.

Dick Francis and Tami Hoag get horses right -- he raced them, she competes at the upper levels in dressage. I like Alexander McCall Smith's atypical mysteries. I'd heard good things about Guernsey Literary and even had a copy on the shelf, but wasn't into reading a story comprised of correspondence. But I'm glad I took the advice of a friend and read the book. Sweetness was a pleasant outing with a very young detective protagonist and the beginning of a promising new series.

The Tomb of Zeus was a disappointment as an historical mystery. Not so, the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. I'm finishing up the fourth book in the series now.

I bogged down in Julie Czerneda's novels for some reason. I thought a science fiction trilogy about a British Columbia salmon researcher would be a hoot, especially since I worked with fish and wildlife biologists for 24 years. But my interest waned for awhile before I continued to the end. The last book of the trilogy has yet to be opened.

Don't know what I'll pick up next when I finish reading the current mystery. I always have to have a book in progress, even if its just placing a bookmark in my next selection. Maybe I should browse my bookcase of classics and more literary works for a change of pace.'s rather intriguing to review the list of books that piqued my interest in any given year.


AareneX said...

We've read a lot of the same stuff (although in 1965 I hadn't yet learned to read...I was learning to walk and talk that year!

If you haven't tried Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book , I recommend it. Ohhh, and if you ever read nonfiction, try also Crazy Good about the trotting racehorse Dan Patch.

Do you totally love the Botswana mysteries (Ladies #1 detective, etc)???? I want to go there!

Shared Glory said...

Oh please can we have a GWTW conversation?! If I were a psych major instead of art major, I would totally have done my senior thesis on an analysis of Scarlett. If I weren't so opposed to wasting my time with reading Twilight ;), there would be an interesting discussion between the two characters....

Anonymous said...

there is such a lamentable shortage of acurate yet interesting books featuring horses. An amusing to the point of chuckling red is Rita Mae Brown's Outfoxed. My favorite part is where the TB tells the WB to"just dump the guy if he yanks on you" (paraphrased)Yes the animals talk to each other, but say things we expect they do say behind our backs! Love you list, have read many, have you read "the three daughters of Madame Liang" by Pearl Buck. Such a sense of brutal order in the Chinese culture!

Oregon Equestrian said...

Thanks for reading my blog and offering reading suggestions! I'll add them to my list.

Em: It's been decades since I've read GWTW, but I would totally love to discuss it with you!

If books don't get horses right, movies are even worse. My barn friends and i regale ourselves with the boo boos we've seen in various movies.

Master of Fox Hounds Rita Mae Brown definitely gets horses (and dogs and cats) right.