Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not Everyone Spends A Year Reading Shakespeare And Samuel Johnson

I certainly didn't.

Actually, my primary reading matter in 2011 was showbiz biographies/memoirs.

In case you don't believe me, here's the list of books I read from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2011. When necessary (i.e. when I feel like it), I'll add a note or two.

Death and the Virgin Queen- Chris Skidmore
Jane Addams- Louise W. Knight
Never Let Me Go- Kazuo Shiguro*
Cage Of Stars- Jacquelyn Mitchard
A Student of Living Things- Susan Richards Shreve
The Blind Side- Michael Lewis
Duplicate Keys- Jane Smiley
American Rose- Karen Abbott
Cain- Roy Hoopes**
The Killer of Little Shepherds- Douglas Starr
This Laugh Is On Me- Phil Silvers
And The Show Goes On- Sheldon Leonard
Unsolved- Richard Glyn Jones ed. (The only book I read all summer)
Dick Van Dyke- Dick Van Dyke
The Descent- Fritz Peters
Mary Tudor- Anna Whitclock
Funny Woman- Barbara W. Grossman
Hide And Go Seek- Andrew Garve
The Lennon Sisters- A. H. Parr (Marci, knowing my taste, gave it to me)
USA- John Dos Passos (reread; I read it in high school)
Ladies Man- Paul Henreid
Snips And Snails-Louise Baker (also read in high school)
From Sawdust To Stardust- Terry Lee Rioux
Iron House- John Hart
Sybil Exposed- Debbie Nathan
A Skating Life- Dorothy Hamill (also given to me by Marci)
That's Not All Folks- Mel Blanc
The Litigators- John Grisham
The Silver Seven- Rita Ritchie (another Marci gift)***
The Garner Files- James Garner****
Spencer Tracy- James Curtis (very long and very entertaining)
Star Trek A Choice of Catastrophes- Michael Schuster and Steve Mollmann*****
Wandering Stars- Jack Dann ed.
Lost In Shangri-La- Mitchell Zurkoff (tied for my favorite book of the year)
Robert Ryan- Franklin Jarlett (missing 20 pages, but I'm claiming it anyway)
A Quite Remarkable Father- Leslie Ruth Howard******
Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919- Stephen Puleo
Who Killed Mr. Crittenden- Kenneth Lamott
Hedy's Folly- Richard Rhodes
11/22/63- Stephen King (really really really long)
Cold Heaven- Brian Moore (reread)
Destiny of the Republic- Candice Millard (my other favorite book of the year)

* I don't read a lot of fiction, but this one was really stupid.
** It has the best line of the year. James Cain wrote of one of his books,"It must have been a saga, because it sagged all over the place."
*** And don't you wish Marci was your friend also!
**** James Garner doesn't mention it, but he was rumored to have had an affair with Lauren Bacall and you have no idea how long it took me to confirm that fact via Google.
***** Now this is what I call great fiction.
****** I bought this book in high school and have carried it around with me ever since. When I realized it was coming up on the 50 year test, I figured I'd better actually read it, since I'd hate to have moved it from place to place over so many decades without having bothered to.


Amanda Leigh said...

What a perfect way to recap the year! I keep track of the books I read too but I haven't seen my notebook for it the last few months. >< (Since then I think I read the most all year) I am definitely doing this at some point.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning Amanda Leigh and thank you-

I kept a booklist for years, and then I stopped. I started again when I thought it might get to me reading some more. There is a feeling of satisfaction when you write something down.

It also helps me confirm that when I say I read more non-fiction than fiction, I'm actually right!

Glen said...

So, which did you like the best?

(Personally, I wished the Stephen King book was longer.)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Glen-

My two favorites were definitely Lost In Shangri-La and Destiny of the Republic. Both were non-fiction books that read like novels. I even lost sleep reading Destiny, by saying, Oh one more chapter, please one more chapter, when I should have gone to bed.

I have friends who really liked the Stephen King novel, so I read it on their recommendation. I enjoyed it, but I felt like I was slogging through much of it.

Glen said...

From what I see of Destiny, it looks like a very good book. I will see if the library has it on CD. How was the Phil Silvers book, by the way?

Abigail said...

On a scale of 1-10 (ONE being the BEST) how would you rate the stephen king book? Would you recommend it to highschoolers?
and how do you think this compares to his other books? (I have read The Shining, Duma Key and Colorado Kid)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again Glen and hi Abigail-

The Phil Silvers book was a very interesting read, but it was also sad. He suffered from serious depression before antidepressants helped out.

I'm the absolutely wrong person to ask about whether a book would work for high school students. I always miss the sexy and/or violent parts when I read. I take them for granted, so I don't notice them.

It's been a long time since I'd read any Stephen King, so I don't know where to put this one in relation to his others. My friends who read a lot more fiction than I do really liked it, and I certainly think it's worth the read.

After that you're on your own!

Anonymous said...

Baseball. Any chance for a book with a central baseball theme? (Blame my watching Jack Klugman for this one). W. S.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning Anonymous W.S.-

If you mean reading a book with a baseball theme, that's always a possibility.

If you mean writing one, I don't think so. Team sports books are tough to write. There are so many characters, 9 or 10 in a baseball starting lineup, plus the manager, plus whoever else is in the main character's world.

I was very proud of myself for handling a lot of characters in This World We Live In (9 plus a baby and a cat and the occasional walk on), but at least I didn't have to identify them as the catcher or the shortstop!

Anonymous said...

Re the Dick Van Dyke. He always seems pompous and arrogant in interviews - did he seem so in the book? Even when interviewed with MTM he was like a bull in a china shop, charging through whenever she tried to speak.

Also - do you listen to music when you read? Or otherwise. What kind? Inquiring minds want to know. W.S.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello again Anonymous W.S.-

I don't remember any sense of pompousness or arrogance in the Dick Van Dyke book. I liked all the movie star biography/memoirs I read last year.

I read in silence. Pretty much the only time I listen to music these days is when I'm driving.