Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006: A Year in Books

I thought it would be fun to recap the books I read in 2006 (or, as many of them as I can remember.) Here goes:

I began the year by discovering the author David Foster Wallace. As you can see, I definitely got hooked.

Consider the Lobster by DFW (January)
Infinite Jest by DFW (February)
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by DFW (March)
Girl With Curious Hair by DFW (April)
Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by DFW (May)
Oblivion by DFW (May)
Broom of the System by DFW (July)
Everything and More by DFW (August) [Although I can't claim to have really understood it.]

Yes, that's 3,570 pages of David Foster Wallace!

I also read several other novels:
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
Kafka on the Shore by Huraki Murakami
The King of King's County by Whitney Terrell
You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers

I also finally finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, over two years after I started it. I had read about half way through, up to the point where Lumumba gets assassinated, but then loaned it impulsively to the barista at the coffeehouse I used to frequent. The barista, an evangelical Christian, had seen the title and asked about the book. I had told her that it was a novel about a missionary family in Africa. I couldn't help myself; I handed her the book with a smile and hoped she would enjoy it. Six months later it was returned to me. Daring to ask what she thought, she told me she didn't like it at all. It was obvious to her that the wife and daughter's failure to support Nathan Price had sabotaged his ministry. It was the women's fault. She had read this book with the most anti-feminist lens possible!

In the realm of non-fiction, I read:
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts by Michael Berube
Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
The End of Faith by Sam Harris [for this sermon]
Living a Call edited by Michael Durall
Christian Voices in Unitarian Universalism edited by Kat Rolenz
Blessing the World by Rebecca Parker [for this sermon]
America, Fascism, and God by Davidson Loehr [for this sermon]
as well as parts of four books on Torture for a sermon on that

For my first book of 2007, I have just started Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.