Stephen Baker

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Books of 2012, and '13

January 2, 2013General

I start off every year with ambitious plans for reading. Maybe I should take a course on Shakespeare, I think, read Mill on the Floss, or Proust. But I only have to survey my reading in the year just ended to see what happens to such ambitions.
 
I've ransacked my memory and bookshelves, and my Amazon account, and have come up with a list of the books I finished in 2012. It's barely 20 books, a good number of them from the Coursera course I took on science fiction and fantasy. I probably started and abandoned the same number, or perhaps more. And I cherry-picked chapters from others. Still, here are the ones I finished:

Fiction:

J.D. Salinger, Nine Stories
Michel Houellebecq, The Map and the Territory
Richard Ford, Canada
Julian Barnes, Talking it Over
Ray Bradbury, Martian Chronicles
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Princess of Mars
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Harry Mulisch, The Discovery of Heaven
Cory Doctorow, Little Brother
Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness
H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau
Jane Brickley, Noise (not yet published)
Isaac Singer, The Slave

Non-Fiction

Robert Caro, The Passage to Power
Bill Bryson, At Home
Kenneth Slawenski, J.D. Salinger, A Life
John Vaillant, The Tiger
Dave Eggers, Zeitoun
Judith Miller, Mapusha and Me (not yet published)
Andrew Zolli and Anne Marie Healy, Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back
Tim Harford, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure
Stuart Firestein, Ignorance, How it Drives Science
Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans, Homo Evolutis, A Short Tour of a New Species

Books I plan to read in 2013

I'm already about a quarter of the way through Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which I last read at age 23 (and remembered next to nothing). Then there are the Christmas presents, With Fire and Sword: the Battle of Bunker Hill, by James Nelson; When the World Spoke French, by Marc Fumaroli, and Periodic Tales, a Cultural History of the Elements, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. I'm also looking forward to This Love is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juarez, by Robert Andrew Powell. And I just ordered a newish translation of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, which was my favorite book in my 20s.

 



                  Mann's Magic Mountain is in the mail, in hardcover

One thing I know: I would read a lot more if I gave up sports on TV. And considering the downward trend of my Philadelphia teams, it might come closer to happening in the coming year.

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