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Books I Read in 2012

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Thomas Otway., Digital ID 1806105, New York Public LibraryIt's amusing to keep track of the critters, and helps me read more non-fiction, novel-hound that I am. The Library has most of these books, but I've only linked a few, as not to clutter and overburden the post. At the end of the list I award prizes, or "the Barkies," for various categories. But just two things first: Re-reads (always a good idea) are in bold, and if you have a taste for rhetorical but highly passionate drama, do read some Thomas Otway (1652-85).

I'm lucky enough to know some of these writers. Robin Hirsch, a poet and all around brilliant guy, is the guiding genius of the Cornelia Street Cafe. Jean Strouse, biographer extraodinaire, runs that great boon to the writing community, the Library's Cullman Center in which T J Stiles wrote most of The First Tycoon. If you think the high Victorians had a monopoly on energy and indefatigable industry, read this biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt and be dis-abused. Gary Marmorstein of the Wertheim Study, a room here set aside for writers to read, think and write, wrote a very sympathetic and touching biography of Lorenz Hart, of the musical team Rodgers and Hart. It will also give you a pretty good picture of New York Broadway life between the wars. Laurie Lisle, also of the Wertheim, specializes in memoirs — lucid, candid and beautifully written. And last, but far from least, is Susan Jacoby of the Allen Room. I'm embarrassed to say, being an atheist, I had never heard of Robert Ingersoll. He was a tireless, courageous and courteous advocate of secular reason in 19th century America. An extremely skillful orator, he did more than anyone to help us toward using reason, not myth, as a means to live our lives.

Gilbert White - The Natural History of Selborne

George Meredith - The Egoist

Edward Gregg - Queen Anne

Izaak Walton - The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotten, George Herbert

Robin Hirsch - F*E*G: Ridiculous [Stupid] Poems for Intelligent Children

G M Trevelyn - History of England

J S Mill - Autobiography

Thomas Middleton - Women Beware Women

C S Beaton - Death of a Chimney Sweep

George Saintsbury - The Peace of the Augustans: a Survey of Eighteenth Century Literature as a Place of Rest and Refreshment

Michael Crichton - Micro

Thomas Otway - The Orphan

William Maxwell - Bright Center of Heaven

Brontë - Shirley

Nancy Mitford - Madame de Pompadour

James Schuyler - What's for Dinner

Hawthorne - Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Papa

Georgette Heyer - The Grand Sophy

Richard Jeffries - The Amateur Poacher

Dorothy Wordsworth - Journals

Trollope - The Warden

Otway - The Soldier's Fortune

Schuyler - Alfred and Guinevere

Nescio - Amsterdam Stories

Mitford - Frederick the Great

R S Stirling - Island in the Sea of Time

Christopher Buckley - Boomsday

The Classical Era [music from the 1740s to the end of the 18th century, Neal Zaslaw, ed.]

J K Galbraith - 1929, the Great Crash

Evelyn Nesbit - The Railway Children

Alexander McCall-Smith - Tears of the Giraffe

Kipling - Just So Stories

C V Wedgwood - The Thirty Years War

Frank O'Hara - Lunch Poems

Beaumont & Fletcher - Thierry and Theodoret

Naomi Novik - Crucible of Gold

Robert Bird Montgomery - Sheppard Lee

Otway - Don Carlos

Gary Marmorstein - A Ship without a Sail: the Life of Lorenz Hart

Laurie Lisle - Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life

John Wyndham - The Chrysalids

Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley

Disraeli - Sybil

Kenneth Fearing - The Big Clock

John Reed - Snowball's Chance

John Collier - Fancies and Goodnights [stories]

Trollope - Is He Popenjoy?

William Gerhardie - Futility

Oliver Goldsmith - She Stoops to Conquer

Jean Strouse - Alice James

Eugene Thacker - In the Dust of the Planet [philosophy]

T J Stiles - The First Tycoon: the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley

Shakespeare - The Rape of Lucrece

Walter Scott - The Heart of Midlothian

Christie - Evil Under the Sun

Eric Hobsbawm - The Age of Revolution, 1791-1848

Susan Jacoby - The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought

Shelley - Alastor, or, the Spirit of Solitude

A. A. Milne - The Red House [mystery]

Trollope - Barchester Towers

Georgi Vladimov - Faithful Ruslan

Dickens - Hard Times

Adalbert Stifter – Rock Crystal [a Christmas story]

Barkies of 2012

Best of Show - Thirty Years War (nonfiction); Hard Times (fiction)

Most enjoyable re-read - The Grand Sophy

Most elegant stylist - Nancy Mitford

Happiest surprise - both of the Schuyler novels

Happiest - Lunch Poems

Most bragging rights - The Heart of Midlothian, for it wrapped up a 20 year project to read all Scott's novels (take that, comprehensivists!)

Most tedious, but oddly captivating - either Sybil or Shirley

 

Comments

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Correction

The Railway Children was written by E. Nesbit, (ie Edith Nesbit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Nesbit, not Evelyn Nesbit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Nesbit).

I'd read that!

It would have been marvelous if Evelyn Nesbit, of Girl in the Red Velvet Swing/Stanford White/Harry Thaw fame, would have written a children’s book!

"Shirley" Tedious? Indeed!

Actually, "Agnes Grey," by Ann takes the prize over "Shirley."

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