If you hadn’t guessed yet, I love lists, and this set of posts is a lot like my music series, but looking at the huge list of books I’ve read, a few books at a time. I’m starting with 2007, because while I had been reading adult books ever since I was in 3rd grade, in the mid 80’s, I only started recording my reading in my spreadsheet in 2007. So, while my list is missing 20 years of reading, the ~7 years I have been recording my reading in a spreadsheet have amassed 881 books, that actually got recorded. There were a few I forgot to write down, so the real total is a bit higher. And I am still reading, so the number keeps growing.
Here are the books I read in August of 2007. I had just finished working a summer at a scout camp, and was in recovery mode, reading and sleeping after 3 months of 18-hour days, 6 days a week, half of that with a walking pneumonia the boss didn’t want us to report and risk raising his insurance premiums. A few weeks of reading were a great relief, but I only read for a few weeks before I started another grueling job at an animal shelter during the last weeks of August.
In August 2007 I read….
The Bacchae and Other Plays, Euripides (7)
Letters to Lucerne, Fritz Rotter and Allen Vincent (7)
Rosshalde, Hermann Hesse (7)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon (7.5)
Simple Prayers, Michael Golding (10)
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn (4)
The Homeric Hymns, Charles Boer (translator) (5.1)
Stallion Gate, Martin Cruz Smith (5.8)
The Promise of Public Education in America: Possible Lives, Mike Rose (8.9)
Babylon Revisited and Other Stories, F.Scott Fitzgerald (8)
Environmental Politics and Policy, Walter A Rosenbaum (6)
A Maggot, John Fowles (7)
Ain’t No Makin’ It, Jay MacLeod (7.5)
Simple Prayers is one of my all-time favorite novels, and it took me forever to finish it because I didn’t want it to end. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was also very good; it puts you in the mind of an autistic boy, with his particular sort of logic and awareness. Since every autistic person is different, don’t make the mistake of thinking everyone with autism is like this character, but it probably is accurate enough for some people on the spectrum.
The book by Mike Rose was also excellent, a very inspiring book my ex passed on to me from his failed attempt at earning an education degree. It looks at how we educate children in the United States and what forces prevent great teaching ideas from being encouraged and disseminated to other teachers. He looks at racism and classism and how our attitudes about minorities and poor kids influences how they are taught. He also highlights many great teachers who have developed successful strategies for teaching disadvantaged kids, even if many of these teachers have to bend, break or ignore rules the districts impose in order to be great teachers.
Ain’t No Makin’ It was another book from my ex’es required reading for the same course, but it was more about just discussing problems, not showing successful solutions and inspiring better teaching. The numbers in parentheses after each book are the ratings I gave these books right after reading them. I hated Kuhn’s book, so it only got a 4 out of 10, but Simple Prayers got a 10 out of 10. I have only given 10’s to a handful of books ever; most books I really enjoy get between a 7 and a 9, and yes I do use decimal values. A 7.5 and a 7.7 are almost equally good, but the 7.7 was better. I do think Stallion Gate would have gotten a higher score if I was not still grumpy from reading Kuhn’s tedious but classic book.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?