Patterns in 2014 Reading

Serre_cactees_JdPSo much about the reading life delights me, but the interconnectedness, the synchronicity, of reading bedazzles me. Much could be written (perhaps later) about the thrill of recognition.

It happens when we watch movies and see an actor we know from a previous movie. As I ended the year listening to All the Light We Cannot See, a private knowledge bubbled inside me. The story begins at Le Jardin des Plantes—a botanical garden— in Paris. I practically own Le Jardin! No, but I know it, a primary location in my 2010 read, Zarafa: A Giraffe’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris. The thrill of recognition, indeed!

I love knowing what feeds folks’ reading lists. Sometimes a book is a random choice: a compelling cover, a familiar author, a recommendation. I love the patterns. Because every compelling book I read ends up adding more books to my TBR list. So here are some groupings of books read in 2014

Southern Literature  Always a meaning-to category, I finally made some progress.

Music  Romance on 3 Legs put me into a month-long Glenn Gould fixation

Adams, Eisenhowers, Nixons  two groups I put together

Poetry some gems in this pattern

World War II  the stories keep coming

Books that Stuck with Me Long After I Finished (not listed elsewhere)
• The Approaching Storm, by Nora Waln (Amazon has no image)

Science  My weakest area. I now know the term neuroplasticity! YES!

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14 thoughts on “Patterns in 2014 Reading

  1. Such a great list of books and a great list of interests. I just finished Jan Karon’s latest, and it was such a good comforting way to end 2014 and be gin a new year. I’m planning to read several from your list, including the John Quincy Adams biography and All the Light We Cannot See which has been recommended by several readers I trust. Happy Reading for 2015!

    • Sherry, I listened to the JQA book, and to my delight and shock the narrator, Johnny Heller, was a high school classmate of mine.

      All the Light made me care so much about both main characters. There’s a little language, which you might expect to find in a war book.

  2. You know I always love your book lists. I was interested in the bios you read since I just finished Stephen Ambrose’s Comrades. It was a mediocre book, but it highlighted Eisenhower’s ability to make friends and Nixon’s inability to do so. It made me want to read more about those two.

    • The Ambrose biography of Eisenhower was very dense. He later consolidated the two-volume set into one. One odd thing I gleaned, though, was the relationship between the Dulles brothers: John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was head of CIA. John Dulles’ son converted to Catholicism and became a Cardinal. His farewell lecture (spoken by another since he had lost his power of speech) is truly amazing. I could see me more on the Dulles brothers.

      That said, I l-o-v-e-d David and Julie Eisenhower’s book. Very human, very honest. Julie’s book on her mom was an eye-opener, too. There is a book about Dick and Pat’s correspondence that interests me.

      Thanks for your comments, Hope!

  3. I always enjoy your recommendations, thank you Carol!
    I am currently reading Alexander McCall Smith’s newest The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe and as always enjoying the latest in the series. love and prayers for happy reading in 2015, jep

    • Oh, I am in line to read that one. I changed this post three or four times and ran out of room, so I didn’t mention McCall Smith, who is in a category of his own. Thank you for your warm encouragement!

  4. Carol, I always look forward to your book lists and reviews! But this time I can’t find links to see what titles you’ve listed under your categories. Is it a problem with my computer or have you done things differently for this year?

      • Oh, I wish you could tell me what to do to see them too. They are displaying for me on FB just as they do on your blog post. Sad face.

    • Okay, for you, Linda!
      *Southern Literature*
      Flannery, Brad Gooch
      The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor
      Everything that Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor
      The Violent Bear It Away, Flannery O’Connor
      Light in August, William Faulkner

      *Music*
      I Married Adventure, Luci Swindoll (a memoir, but lots of good stuff ab/ music)
      Not Becoming My Mother, Ruth Reichl (not my favorite, but I liked the music bits)
      A Romance on Three Legs, Katie Hefner (loved this one about the pianist Glenn Gould, and his Steinway, and the blind tuner of the Steinway)
      Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks (fascinating)

      *Adams Family*
      John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger
      Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams
      Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres, Henry Adams

      *Eisenhowers and Nixons*
      Eisenhower the President, Stephen Ambrose (very dense)
      Going Home to Glory, David Eisenhower (highly recommend)
      Pat Nixon, the Untold Story, Julie Eisenhower (I liked it)

      *Poetry*
      New Collected Poems, Wendell Berry
      Beowulf, a new verse rendering, Douglas Wilson (thrilling)
      Carver, a Life in Poems, Marilyn Nelson (very good)
      A Wreath for Emmett Till, Marilyn Nelson (a crown sonnet, a.maz.ing)
      Easter 1916, W.B. Yeats

      *WW II*
      All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (hijacked me until I finished)
      Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley (very good)
      A Codemaker’s War, Leo Marks (pretty dense, interesting)
      Monuments Men, Robert Edsel (it read like a novel)
      Rescuing Da Vinci, Robert Edsel (like Monuments Men, but in Italy)

      *Books that Stuck with Me Long After I Finished*
      The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (Vietnam, had me in tears)
      Words in the Dust, Trent Reedy (story of an Afghani girl, based on life)
      Stronger, Jeff Bauman (he lost his legs from Boston Marathon bomb)
      On My Own Two Wheels (Malachi O’Donerty) 60 year old guy gets in shape
      Somewhere Safe w/ Somebody Good, Jan Karon (MY FAVORITE BOOK of 2014)

      *Science*
      The Shallows, Nicholas Karr (what the internet is doing to our brains)
      Mastering Leptin, Byron Richards (I learned about the satiety hormone)
      Drive, Daniel Pink (ab/ motivation, esp for managers)
      The Walls of Windy Troy, Marjorie Braymer (archeology, I really liked it)
      Grain Brain, David Perlmutter (I’m being persuaded)

      I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask questions. Really!

      • You are just the best, Carol – thanks for all that effort! It is just so great to see your list now. Thank you!!

      • Well, thanks to my techie husband the mystery is solved. For some reason Google Chrome wasn’t rendering the images. When I switched to Internet Explorer or Mozilla, then it worked fine. Sure wish we’d figured this out before you went through all that trouble to list the titles. Thank you again!

  5. ….and i started this year with All the Light We Cannot See…

    looking forward to browse through your booklist, Carol…..my year of reading was a bit lopsided…

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