Sunday, December 23, 2007

52 books in 52 weeks

28. After Dark by Haruki Murakami

I was not impressed by this book. The overnight adventures of one sister were mildly interesting, but the voyeurism on the sleeping sister seemed fetishistic at best, terribly dull at worst.

29. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Gilbert's idea that despite our most elaborate of plans, we have absolutely no way of predicting what will make our future selves happy is, in my opinion, an essential truth of human nature. He makes many similarly incisive observations, but these popular science books don't quite hold my attention like novels do.

30. This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes

After The Mistress's Daughter, I was eager to read another book by Homes, and her last novel did not disappoint. What was most surprising and delightful to me was the way she took the traditional tropes of the Hollywood novel and put a modern and distinctive spin on them.

31. Engleby by Sebastian Faulks

This engaging character study made me nostalgic for the time I've spent in England - especially my trip to Cambridge a few years ago - but it was possibly the least suspenseful serial killer narrative I've come across.

32. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

God Bless Tom Perrotta. I picked up this book wanting to spend a couple of days on the couch absorbed in a story and it did not disappoint. I'm still unsure how I feel about its conclusion, but that doesn't diminish my gratitude for the escape.

Considering these four books took up most of my semester, I will count them toward the total.

33. NextText: Making Connections Across and Beyond the Disciplines, edited by Anne Kress and Suellyn Winkle

Upon my return to teaching composition, I went looking for a textbook that would excite me with little expectation I would succeed, but lo and behold, I found this reader. It was perfect for my science and technology focused students and perfect for my desire to explore unconventional genres and contemporary texts. I'm trying it out next semester with more of a business and education crowd, so we'll see if it holds its charm.

34. Cultural Conversations: The Presence of the Past, edited by Stephen Dilks, Regina Hansen, and Matthew Parfitt

For one class I taught this semester at someplace other than my main gig, I was given a choice of three anthologies. I chose this one.

Both of the following handbooks are exceptionally helpful, though if I had to choose only one, I'd probably lean toward the Little, Brown - a decision based almost entirely on the introduction/conclusion section.

35. The Little, Brown Handbook (10th Edition) by H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron

36. A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker

I may not get to 52, but the year is still alive, I'm on vacation, and some books are mercifully short.

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