Sunday, January 3, 2010

#50--and this is it!!

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Year: 1962

Okay, this post will be longer than one sentence since it's my last for this blog.

I was only partway into this book when the clock struck midnight on January 31st. Therefore, I completed 49 books and came very, very close to my goal. It was a great endeavor, though I'm not sure I'll do it again in 2010. As a full-time student and TA, I am reading constantly within my field and so pleasure reading is limited during the semesters. Rather than try for 50, I'm simply going to try to read as often as possible and record the books I read in my other blog. To the few who read this, please continue to follow that blog. The address is:

I will post brief reviews of each book that I read throughout 2010 (and hopefully beyond!).

All the best!


Title: The Valley of Fear

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Year: 1915

Another great Sherlock Holmes mystery, this story is filled with dark and sinister plot elements that kept me reading quickly until a rather shocking conclusion.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Title: That Old Cape Magic

Author: Richard Russo

Year: 2009

With its smooth prose, wit, and tragi-comic portrayal of marriage and family life, this book was a fast and truly enjoyable read that ranks among my favorites for the year; I wished the story could've kept going after the final page.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Title: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Year: 1901

A quick and absorbing novel, this one only took me a day to complete, and I even predicted a portion of the outcome; read it!


Title: I Know This Much Is True

Author: Wally Lamb

Year: 1998

This 900-pager took me a month to complete, mostly because I only read a few chapters at a time; it's a great book but truly a comprehensive family saga, so I'd recommend reading it all within a week instead of over a larger span of time in order to keep all the details fresh.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Year: 1952

Short but packed with meaning, this book deserves a read even if you're (like myself) not typically a Hemingway fan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Title: Picturing Personhood
Author: Joseph Dumit
Year: 2003

This book provides an interesting look at how brain scans function as signifiers of social meaning when used outside of the lab, within popular culture; while I am interested in visual rhetoric and how images are used to persuade, I feel like much of the intrigue got lost in Dumit's over-use of technical jargon and extensive excerpts from his interviews with brain scan specialists.


Title: Narrative Medicine

Author: Rita Charon

Year: 2006

A readable and engaging introduction to the developing field of narrative medicine, this book takes a humanistic approach to health care, arguing that we "emplot" our own lives and therefore create our own realities; if personal identities are formed out of our personal stories, then doctors and nurses can foster better relationships with patients, based on mutual respect and equality, by listening to patients' stories and thereby recognizing the individual rather than the illness.

(P.S. This may be the best scholarly non-fiction book I've ever read).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Title: The Time Traveler's Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Year: 2003

Beautifully written, this book now ranks among my favorites for the year despite its more bizarre and unsettling moments; the last 50 pages are unspeakably poignant and powerful, especially for the emotionally-sensitive, deeply romantic dreamer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Title: Health and the Rhetoric of Medicine

Author: Judy Z. Segal

Year: 2005

I haven't included textbook-like selections in my yearly tally because typically they aren't ones you can pick up for a bit of fun, casual reading; however, this text, while not exactly "fun," is accessible and informative not just for students of rhetoric, but also anyone interested in the intriguing and dynamic relationship between health and language.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Title: The Last Battle

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1956

This final book in the Narnia series was intense, and the last chapter made me teary-eyed (in a good way); the Biblical imagery and symbolism, while clearly present throughout the series, couldn't be any more obvious in this Revelation-like conclusion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Title: The Silver Chair

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1953

The sixth book in the Narnia series was excellent; I think it rivals the second as my favorite overall, and now there's just the final book to go!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Title: The Pursuit of God

Author: A. W. Tozer

Year: 1948

I'd wanted to read something spiritual for a while, and since this book is hailed as a Christian classic, I decided to give it a try; while I agree with many of Tozer's ideas, I had a hard time ascribing to some of his beliefs (such as his claim that humans' desire to "shine" is "evil", and other lines that condemn intellectual pursuits), and his blatant attack on the Catholic Church on the second-to-last page seemed inappropriate considering how the rest of the book offered positive suggestions for living, not outright criticism of others.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#37 B

Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1952

Reepicheep the mouse is one of my very favorite characters; two more books in the series to go!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

#37 A

Title: Prince Caspian

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1951

This fourth installment in The Chronicles of Narnia was much more entertaining than the third, though the second one still remains my favorite thus far.


Title: The Turn of the Screw

Author: Henry James

Year: 1898

This short novel is psychologically deep and very engrossing, but I warn you not to read it before bed; the descriptions of the ghosts were vivid and left a lasting, creepy impression in my head!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Title: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Author: Roddy Doyle

Year: 1993

While I liked the stream-of-consciousness impressions, I had trouble at times believing that a 10-year-old boy narrated some of the language; regardless, the challenges and tragedies of growing up in 1960s Ireland are captured quite well, and the powerful conclusion makes up for some tedious reading moments within the 300-pages of text.

Monday, September 7, 2009

#34 C

Title: The Horse and His Boy

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1954

This book starts off really slow, and I found it boring for quite a while since Lewis bogs down the narrative with too many details without enough plot development; however, near the end, it becomes more interesting, though I think it's not nearly as strong or enjoyable as the previous two books.

#34 B

Title: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1950

The book that's most commonly read from the collection, this installment has been the most enjoyable thus far, including adventures with a wicked witch, talking animals, and a lion's sacrifice; on another note, I wish I had more time to explore all the Biblical symbolism that is clearly rampant in this series.

#34 A

Title: The Magician's Nephew

Author: C. S. Lewis

Year: 1955

This story was written years after Lewis began the series, but he intended it to be read first; it provides the context for the following six books and tells the details of Narnia's founding.


I am currently reading The Chronicles of Narnia. It includes 7 books, but each one is fairly short, so I'm counting the entire collection as 4 books instead of 7. That's why the numbering system will get funky for the next few posts.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Title: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Year: 1988

What appears to be a short and simple tale of a boy's quest reveals itself to be a beautiful narrative layered with meaning; this could be one of the best books you'll ever read.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Title: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Author: Lynne Truss

Year: 2003

Truss laments the tragic state of modern punctuation usage in an incredibly witty and also informative book; she does a great job of encapsulating the frustration I feel every time someone mixes up "its" and "it's", among other grievous punctuation errors.


Title: The House on Mango Street

Author: Sandra Cisneros

Year: 1984

[I suggest you read the 2009 "25th anniversary" edition because the newly added introduction is excellent and greatly adds to the reading experience]

The childhood of a Latino girl growing up in Chicago is depicted through short, memorable, moving vignettes; the author's language is poetic, my favorite line being "You can never have too much sky."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Title: Bee Season

Author: Myla Goldberg

Year: 2000

A well-written book that travels to surprisingly dark and powerful places, this novel traces the individual lives of the Naumanns-- mother, father, brother, and sister -- a nuclear family that's anything but ordinary, and the way their lives intersect and collapse upon one another, leading to a sad but moving conclusion.