Books read in 2007 …

January 1, 2008

I’ve keep track of the books I read and listen to, and the lectures I listen to. I list them by year.  I think I’ve mentioned before how I started doing this years ago when I read how the author Louis L’Amour kept a list of the books he read. The past few years of my reading are posted in the Books Read section here.  At the end of the year I copy this list into my journal, and for the past several years have noted in my journal what I think is the “best” book I’ve read that year. “Best” is completely arbitrary in some cases, hardly dependent on what critics have said elsewhere. Nor is that book necessarily published in that year.  And “best” may depend on my mood and mindset at the time as well as several other things.

My selection of reading material varies from history and biography, to general fiction and science fiction, from philosophy to erotica, to several areas in between. Sometimes I’ll stick with a similar subject for a while, linking, as I did in 2006, Teaching Company lectures on the Roman Empire, an audio book on the history of salt, a book and lectures on the Byzantine Empire, an audio book on the history of Islam, and a history of the Balkans.   The last two books of 2007 were on Roman history, one on Augustus’s wife Livia, and another on the 18 month period covering the end of Nero’s reign, the short-reigned emperors Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, and the beginning of the Flavian emperor Vespasian.

This year, John Scalzi’s books were enjoyable, as were David Drake’s, both science fiction authors who do some very good action scenes.

Reading the Iliad surprised me.  It was much more fun to read and not nearly as dry as I imagined it would be. I was glad to read it while also listening to the Teaching Company book by book lectures in the car, something I repeated with the Odyssey and more Teaching Company lectures. Hopefully this year I’ll do the same with the Aeneid and the TeachCo lecture, and lectures on the Transcendentalists and a book on that subject by Susan Cheever.

Coming close to winning “best” in  2007 was the remarkable The Time Traveler’s Wife.  Unfortunately,  I think the melancholy inevitability of the end jaded me a bit.

Therefore, for me, the best read of 2007 goes to the author-read rendition of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. Bryson’s memoir about growing up in the 50s and 60s was memorable, bittersweet, and just plain laugh out loud funny. If you’ve not read it, please do so. If you have a chance to listen to the audio version narrated by Bryson, that’s even better.


One Response to “Books read in 2007 …”

  1. Sounds like a fine list Khozyain, especially the Teaching Company courses. You may find my user forums helpful where I review all lectures in their new courses:

    Give it a try, I hope you enjoy it.

    Doug van Orsow
    forum admin

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