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2008 Lists > Alan's 2008 list

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message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 1. Exit Ghost Philip Roth
2. Yiddish Policeman’s Union Michael Chabon
3. Cheating Destiny James Hirsch
4. Memorial Day Vince Flynn
5. Relativity Albert Einstein
6. A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway
7. The Trojan War Barry Strauss
8. On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan
9. Dead Cert Dick Francis
10.Gentlemen of the Road Michael Chabon
11.Ghost Writer Philip Roth
12.A House for Mr. Biswas V. Naipul
13.Justice Denied J.A. Jance
14.Paris Pilgrims Clancy Carlile
15.Leo Strauss and the American Right Shadia Drury
16.Uncommon Reader Alan Bennett
17.Finding the Hot Spots Riedel
18.Strong Enough Rippetoe
19.Inheritance of Loss Desai
20.The Interview Game Nierenberg
21.Sharpe's Prey Cornwell
22.Leaving Town Alive Frohnmayer
23.Buddha of Suburbia Kueishi
24.Ireland and the Irish Ardagh
25.Theory of Clouds Audeguy
26.Ireland Delaney
27.Cultures and Organizations Hofstede
28.Bridge of Sighs Russo
29.Never Go Back Goddard
30.A Soldier's Heart by Samet
31.The Mind of the Market by Shermer
32.Alexander the Great by Cantor
33.God is not Great by Hitchens
34.Breakfast with Buddha by Merullo
35.The White by Larsen
36.Sharpe's Waterloo
37.Peloponnesian War by Kagan
38.My Detachment by Tracy Kidder
39.Riding the Wavesof Culture by Trompenaars
40.Death of a Joyce Scholar by Gill
41.Expert Expat by Hess
42.Hornet's Flight by Follett
43.Players : The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare by Fields
44.Landmark Thucydides
45.From Here to Infinity An Exploration of Science Fiction by Drout
46.Death Song by McGarrity
47.The New Capitalists by Davis
48.Radical Son by Horowitz
49.Kingmaker by Haig
50.Allure of Toxic Leaders by Lipman-Bluman
51.Making Societies by Roy
52.Freakonomics by Levitt
53.Hitman by Parnell Hall
54.American Creation by Ellis
55.In the Past Lane by Kammen
56.Born Standing Up by Martin
57.Intellectuals by Johnson
58.Predictably Irrational by Ariely
59.Oracle Lake by Adams
60.Wealth War and Wisdom by Biggs
61.The Headmaster's Dilemma by Auchincloss
62.The Ghost Map by Johnson
63.Land of Echoes by Hecht
64.Bread Upon the Waters by Shaw
65.Unfit to Practice by O'Shaughnessy
66.Why Geography Matters by de Blij
67.Zen at War by Victoria
68.Partners in Command by Perry
69.Monkey's Raincoat by Crais
70.Stuff of Thought by Pinker
71.Demolition Angel by Crais
72.America, 1908 by Rasenberger
73.A Bound Man by Steele
74.Bad Luck and Trouble by Child
75.Sometimes They Bite by Block
76.The Other Side of Death by van Gieson
77.The Echo of War by Linn
78.The Men who Loved Trains by Loving
79.Blindfold by Hustvedt
80.Nothing to Lose by Child
81.Restless Giant by Patterson
82.So Far From God by Eisenhower
83.Model Railroading with John Allen by Westcott
84.Shadowcatcher by Wiggins
85.Turpentine
86.Irish Country Doctor by Taylor
87.Fatal Voyage by Reichs
88.Population:486 by Perry
89.Enchanted April by von Arnim
90.War that Made America by Anderson
91.Irish Country Village by Taylor
92.Crucible of War by Anderson
93.Fall of Frost by Hall
94.Fork in the Road by Hamill
95.A Land So Strange by Resendez
96.Paradoxes of Group Life by Smith
97.Stretch to Win by Frederick
98.Shelf Life by Shea
99.A G-Man's Life by Felt
00.The Good Soldier by Ford


message 2: by Anne (new)

Anne | 18 comments Just purchased Ghost Rider myself, its in the "to be read" pile. Have read several other books by Roth, my favorite so far being The Human Stain. Did you enjoy this one?


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne | 18 comments Ghost Writer, I mean...to much time around the kids LOL



message 4: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments I did like the Human Stain. The books have strong writing; Stain had more of a plot, more drama to it, more commentary.


message 5: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Not all of these are worth reading. The Roth's were better than I expected, and so was Dead Cert. Bridge of Sighs is more open than many Russo books, split between upstate and Italy.

Many good comments on Goodreads about Chesil Beach, Inheritance, Mr. Biswas -- and all are well written but seem close and mannered to me. A lot about class, maybe why I don't read Austen. Uncommon Reader is a spoof on such things. Paris Pilgrims wasn't well written. Buddha of Suburbia I found offensive.


message 6: by Alan (last edited Feb 08, 2008 01:21PM) (new)

Alan | 290 comments 30. The Mind of the Market by Shermer
31. Soldier's Heart by Samet


message 7: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 32.Alexander the Great by Cantor
33.God is not Great by Hitchens


message 8: by Schnuckiputzi (new)

Schnuckiputzi | 11 comments Have you read any other Dick Francis books? I love them -- try "Shattered", one of my favorites.


Don (The Book Guy) (donthelibrarian) How do you find time for all these books?


message 10: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 34.Blue Hearts by Lehrer


message 11: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments I'm cheating a little; most of the books on the list are short, and those I didn't like, I certainly didn't dwell on. Usually I have one on audio for the car (Tipperary now) and a couple for evening and bedtime. Three or four will get knocked off on the average air trip, like my last one to Ireland.


message 12: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Alexander the Great was the most disappointing of Cantor's books, who writes well about Middle Ages and Law. This seemed like it was cribbed from the dustjacket of other books.

God is not Great is OK. If you're already troubled by evangelicals and fundamentalists, you might agree with some of it; if you're devouring the Left Behind series or DaVinci Code you probably shouldn't bother. Bertrand Russell did it pretty well years ago in Why I am Not a Christian.

Blue Hearts is by Jim Lehrer the McNeill/Lehrer guy. Just implausible enough to work, a book about the CIA/Washington scene without exclamation points or too much activity.


message 13: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 546 comments Your book choices are interesting to me as are your posts about them. I had been considering God Is Not Great, The Nine, The Uncommon Reader, Inheritance of Loss. Your comments have helped me eliminate God Is Not Great.

I'm also interested in finding the best of novels by Jim Lehrer and Roth. I've read one by Lehrer that was just okay(about a civil war historian), and what I've read of Roth convinced me I did not like him until The Human Stain. Would you recommend anything from either of these authors?

How do you select the books you read?


message 14: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Judith,

I liked Lehrer's White Widow. Started Phony Marine but put it down, no real opinion. Have not read the "one eyed detective" series like Kick the Can. Maybe if I were from Oklahoma ...

The Roth Zuckerman series is pretty good, starting with Ghost Writer. It took me a long time to come back to him after Portnoy which I read when it first appeared. Dreck. I liked the Human Stain movie, so that helped.

As to The Nine, OK. I've read most of Toobin's books. Uncommon Reader was funny, apt. Inheritance of Loss was part of a whole Indian expatriate writer subculture that I end up reading as if in the accent of the Simpsons 7-11 guy, which is politically not very correct. Started Interpreter of Maladies and it's on hold. Read most of Mr. Biswas recently. Buddha of Suburbia was insufferable.

Although Hitchens is interesting to listen to or in essays, I have never liked any of his books. Thought he would have something to say about Orwell but it didn't come through.

How do I select? I troll the library's new book section, read the digest of reviews from Powell's, check Amazon suggestions, compare notes with my brother and colleagues, see what Goodreads and library discussion people are reading, use Librarything and Novelist to recommend books similar to those I like, watch BookTV, TiVo the stuff on at 1 am. MIT and Yale have open curricula for courses online, and if it's something I don't know, I'll check it out (like Mary Oliver, whom I found from MIT's poetry class). If Oprah recommends it, I probably won't like it.

I don't have to feel guilty about reading "junk" since I trolled through almost all the "greats" of world literature and standard British and American novels in my teens and twenties. Usually there's a stack of paperbacks to read and discard on plane trips.


message 15: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Never Go Back follows Harry Barnett, also featured in Into the Blue, and Out of the Sun, as a fairly unassuming participant in and solver of mysteries. I don't think Goddard is big in the US, but always featured prominently when I'm in Australia or in this case Ireland. Worth a look.

The White is a novel about Mary Jemison, taken captive as a child, and a Seneca for most of her life. I read Seaver's 1824 "A Narrative of the Life" 40 years ago. The rest of the books have been for children, Larsen's is adult literary, written in a spare, unsentimental style.

Breakfast with Buddha is on the road with rinpoche, bowling, miniature golf, eating. Not bad.

Sharpe of course is Hornblower on foot, except that Hornblower wasn't in any of the big battles like Trafalgar and Sharpe always is.


message 16: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 37. The Peloponnesian War by Kagan

Prefatory to reread of Thucydides.


message 17: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 546 comments Thanks for your comments on Roth and Lehrer novels.
I'll continue to check in to see what you are reading and what you are thinking about the books and authors you choose.

I find that I do like some of Oprah's selections, but wouldn't want to o.d. on them, which is quite possible if you read them all one after another. Themes and tones are way too similiar, but I've discovered some new first-time novelists through her list. And she did add some Faulkner to it once upon a time.

I re-read part of Portnoy's Complaint the other day. It's still a tough sale for me, but the book really IS funny enough to make it hard to dismiss, isn't it?

I think I'll try The Uncommon Reader and The Nine.

Thanks again for your response!



message 18: by Anne (new)

Anne | 18 comments I usually like Oprah's choices but recently read Eat, Pray, Love (which I later learned she raved about) and did not care for it at all. (I know, I know, most people loved it but it just rubbed me the wrong way for a variety of reasons). Other than that, haven't read any of her recommendations for a while.

After having joined this website I have discovered so many books that I want to read that I haven't even bothered to check out what Oprah's reading.

Loved Portnoy's Complaint, it was so over the top.


message 19: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Angel, I caught a piece of the interview on Eat, Pray, Love. The author is an engaging person, and the popularity of the book seems to be in the mid-life "finding yourself" group, although I've only heard women praise it. I think it's good to look for yourself.

As an antidote to gurus, I read Shoes Outside the Door about Zen Center and its troubles.

Nothing against Oprah, but her list for awhile seemed to be about the abused and addicted. Maybe it's come up from there.


message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne | 18 comments Alan, as someone in "mid-life" (as I was recently informed by my husband, thanks babe) I just could not relate to her method of finding herself. It just came across as unrealistic and inapplicable for the majority of people. Although I do wish I had that kind of time for self-discovery...(thank God she didn't have kids...)

I agree with your comment on Oprah's choices. Most I have enjoyed, though there does seem to be a theme :)


message 21: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 39.Riding the Waves of Culture by Trompenaars

Business. Uses Talcott Parsons 5 dimensions and other tools to contrast "AngloSaxon," "Latin," and "Oriental" cutures.

40.Death of a Joyce Scholar by Gill

Just for fun. Dirty Dublin.

41.The Expert Expat by Hess

For relocation consideration.


message 22: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 42.Hornet's Flight by Follett
43.Players : The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare by Fields
44.The Landmark Thucydides



message 23: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 45.Death Song by McGarrity


message 24: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 46.The New Capitalists by Davis

Save yourself the trouble.


message 25: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 47.From Here to Infinity by Drout
48.Radical Son by Horowitz


message 26: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 49. Kingmaker by Haig
50. Allure of Toxic Leaders by Lipman-Bluman


message 27: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 51. Making Societies by Roy


message 28: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 52. Freakonomics by Levitt

Good. The chapter on names wasn't great, but realtors, school tests, parents, very thought provoking.

53. Hitman by Hall

Good, gentle detective story.


message 29: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 54.American Creation

In the "John Adams" vein.

55.In the Past Lane

Kammen reflects on history. Not as good as some of his.


message 30: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 57.Intellectuals by Johnson


message 31: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 61.The Ghost Map by Johnson

Listened to CD. Interesting backdrop to Dickens and counter to the 19th century belief in being "scientific" when medicine wasn't.


message 32: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 63. Land of Echoes by Hecht

I like the New Mexico part, the paranormal less. Characters are mostly "stock."


message 33: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 64. Bread Upon the Waters by Shaw


message 34: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 65. Why Geography Matters by de Blij


message 35: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 66.Unfit to Practice by OShaughnessy

Not great. A legal procedural, with too many threads.


message 36: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 67.Zen at War by Victoria

Not anti-Zen, but a book about the political and nationalistic side of Japanese Buddhism in WWII.


message 37: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 68. Partners in Command -- pretty good account of WWII using Eisenhower and Marshall as focus.

69. Monkey's Raincoat -- a shoot em up.


message 38: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 70.Stuff of Thought by Pinker
71.Demolition Angel by Crais
72.America, 1908 by Rasenberger

My reading pace has slipped in April and May; busy with other things. Have an overseas trip coming up; business class is usually good for a couple reads.


message 39: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments It's now June, and I have spent more time packing, shipping, and unpacking books than I have reading. The cost of shelves may exceed the books. They now reach to the ceiling, and I have come to understand that I am not nine feet tall. Hmm.

At the moment I am trying to sort and even alphabetize (which is a bit crazy).

During the Goodreads era I have accumulated a goodly number of fiction works, from Allen to Zukcas, bought for leisure and discussion, but unread. The selection has become entertainment, usually the price of a movie, and taking about the same time. Movies seen, however, don't need to be stored.


message 40: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Have been reading Restless Giant, history of US from Watergate to 2000, roughly 25 years, prefatory to handing it over to my daughter. I lived those years, but was often busy doing things rather than following the events around me.


message 41: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments I can't really recommend Turpentine. It's a southwest sort of book, but the story is contrived and contrived again. Of course, I wish I could write as well, so I encourage the next effort by author.


message 42: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Irish Country Doctor was reminiscent of Herriott, only this one's a people doctor. A light read, not profound, but people one likes, a sense of balance.


message 43: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments Reading French and Indian War books at the moment. Finished the Mexican, and chanced upon a CD. Please don't try and figure out how my list coheres. I couldn't.


message 44: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments I have broken into the 90s! A few more plane trips and maybe I'll reach 100. Some of these books have definitely been head-nodders.

Enchanted April, my apologies to its fans, drove me nuts listening to what a "beautiful creature" "Scrap" was and all the English what one is and what isn't supposed to speak of amongst acquaintances. Shadowcatcher didn't catch me -- novel about the western photographer Curtis.

Restless Giant is a boring history, The Echo of War, So Far From God, and War That Made America were much better.

I almost always like Lawrence Block, and I enjoy the Child Jack Reacher books.


message 45: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 99 read

What should I read next?

I've meandered through 2008 with no plan -- at first, picking up stuff from Constant Reader and Lifelong Learning but then just letting my eye light on things, gathered things on my travels to Australia, France, Switzerland and Ireland, or my ear follow through CSPAN suggestions. Mid-year I shifted locales, and spent a lot of time unpacking and arranging personal library.

The "1001" list doesn't appeal. I've read a good chunk of classics and have little appetite for more 19th century, and a lot of the suggested 20th century books leave me cold.

I read few biographies, more history.

Read poetry, particularly Jarrell, Rilke, Yeats, Frost, Patchen, but don't count it on this list, since unless it's something short, I wouldn't say I read a whole book. Was thinking of O'Connor.

Lots of organizational behavior and strategy books on the shelves, but it seems like babble anymore and I'm gradually donating it to book sale.



message 46: by Alan (new)

Alan | 290 comments 100.

It's cheating a little. Just started Good Soldier which is the reading for a September seminar.


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