31 December 2005

Books - 2005

These are the books I read during 2005 in chronological order. The rating system started as a simple -, /, +, but when I realized I didn't plan to finish anything I'd rate a -, I expanded it to give it more range.

Ratings (predominantly subjective)
- Not worth reading or finishing
/ Fair: didn't seem like a waste of time to read once
/+ Between / and +, a little more enjoyable than fair
+ Good: enjoyed reading it once
++ Very Good: would read it more than once, found it objectively good, or might want to own a copy
+++ Excellent: as good as it gets

1. "The Elements of Style" -third edition William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White (+)

2. "A Superior Death" Nevada Barr (/+) Her mysteries are set at various National Parks in the U.S., and her sleuth is a female park ranger with a knack for finding trouble. Click the author's name for more info on any of her titles as well as info on her actual life in the park system.

3. "Sons Come & Go, Mothers Hang In Forever" William Saroyan (+)

4. "Ill Wind" Nevada Barr (+)

5. "Seventeenth Summer" Maureen Daly (+)

6. "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" Lynne Truss (++)

7. "Firestorm" Nevada Barr (++)

8. "Just a Geek: unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise" Wil Wheaton (++)

9. "The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed" Karen Elizabeth Gordon (++)

10. "The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed" Karen Elizabeth Gordon (++)

11. "The O. Henry Prize Stories 2003" (fave stories: "Burn Your Maps" Robyn Joy Leff, "Lush" Bradford Morrow, "Election Eve" Evan S. Connell, "Irish Girl" Tim Johnston) Series editor: Laura Furman (+)

12. "The Serpent on the Crown" Elizabeth Peters (+++) Start reading the Amelia Peabody series from the beginning: "The Crocodile on the Sandbank."

13. "The Best American Short Stories 2000" (fave stories: "The Story" Amy Bloom, "The Ordinary Son" Ron Carlson, "The Third and Final Continent" Jhumpa Lahiri) editor: E.L. Doctorow, series editor: Katrina Kenison (/, faves +)

14. "Stone" Andy Goldsworthy (++)

15. "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke" Suze Orman (++)

16. "Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It" Geoff Dyer (+++)

17. "The Arabian Nights" editors: Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith; illustrator: Maxfield Parrish (+)

18. "Endangered Species" Nevada Barr (++)

19. "Franny and Zooey" J.D. Salinger (++)

20. "The Two Towers" (The Lord of the Rings, part 2) J.R.R. Tolkien (++)

21. "Wall" Andy Goldsworthy (++) I saw this wall in person earlier this year and fell in love with it.

22. "The Return of the King" (The Lord of the Rings, part 3) J.R.R. Tolkien (++)

23. "Between the Acts" Virginia Woolf (/+)

24. "The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom From My Father on How to Live, Love, and See" Naomi Wolf (++)

25. "The More than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (#25-29) Douglas Adams (/)

26. "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" Douglas Adams (+)

27. "Life, the Universe, and Everything" Douglas Adams (/+)

28. "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" Douglas Adams (+)

29. "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" Douglas Adams (/)

30. "Blind Descent" Nevada Barr (+)

31. "Liberty Falling" Nevada Barr (+)

32. "Blink: the power of thinking without thinking" Malcolm Gladwell (++)

33. "What Should I Do With My Life?" Po Bronson (++)

34. "Exterminate all the Brutes" Sven Lindqvist, translated from the Swedish by Joan Tate (++) Students should have to read this along side Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."

35. "Telling Lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage" Paul Ekman (+)

36. "On Bullshit" Harry G. Frankfurt (/)

37. "Deep South" Nevada Barr (/)

38. "Blood Lure" Nevada Barr (/)

39. "The Art of War" Sun Tzu (/)

40. "The Last Picture Show" Larry McMurtry (++)

41. "The Diamond Lane" Karen Karbo (+)

42. "The Bean Trees" Barbara Kingsolver (+)

43. "Double Life" Miklos Rozsa (/)

44. "A Man Without a Country" Kurt Vonnegut (++)

45. "Bon Voyage, Mr. President and Other Stories" Gabriel Garcia Marquez (+)

46. "Still Life With Woodpecker" Tom Robbins (/)

47. "Little Girl Lost" Drew Barrymore with Todd Gold (+)

48. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" J.K. Rowling (+) I read this and the next book after seeing the Goblet of Fire movie to clarify some things and characters. These were the first I'd read of the series, and I enjoyed them more because of the characters and world I know from the films than for the writing.

49. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" J.K. Rowling (/) I agreed with all the cuts, adds, and rearranging made to the story for the film. The plot problems that exist in the film mostly stem from problems pre-existing in the book. Maybe things pay off in later books, but I don't plan to read ahead.

50. "Magic Worlds of Fantasy" David Douglas Duncan (++)


  1. What's crazy is my mom probably reads twice or 3x as much without making any effort. I started last year to meet a 50 book challenge. Having that in mind keeps me motivated. If I didn't keep track, I wouldn't read nearly as much- I doubt I read a total of 50 books in the decade prior to 2004.

  2. "The Elements of Style"

    Sweet! That book is so underappreciated these days.

    In a slightly different vein, you might enjoy "A Handbook to Literature" by Thrall, Hibbard and Hulman (I think...the authors have changed slightly with the new editions.)

  3. That is amazing. Blogging has so cut into my reading this year. I'm going to try to have you inspire me to read more again in 2006. Great list!

  4. BW- thanks for the rec.

    Neil- that's so sweet. Get to it!