lindapanzo's 100 books in 2009
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One hundred books is my goal every year. 2009 is no exception.
So far in 2009, I've read (in January and February--see message 10 for March):
1. Thai Die by Monica Ferris
2. Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
3. Left Over Dead by Jimmie Ruth Evans
4. The Numerati by Stephen Baker
5. Remembrances of the Angels by John Kuenster
6. Watches of the Night by Sally Wright
7. Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era by Charles C. Alexander
8. A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream by Rick Kogan
9. Kick Up Your Heels...Before You're Too Short to Wear Them by Loretta LaRoche
10. Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life by Wynton Marsalis
11. Herbert Hoover by William E. Leuchtenburg
12. Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life by Michael Dirda
13. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
14. Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point by Elizabeth D. Samet
15. Pizza: A Global History by Carol Helstosky
16. Night at the Vulcan by Ngaio Marsh
17. Anatomy of Baseball by Lee Gutkind and Andrew Blauner (eds)
18. The Corpse in the Snowman by Nicholas Blake
19. Chicago Death Trap: The Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903 by Nat Brandt
20. Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton
21. Hamburger: A Global History by Andrew F. Smith
22. Baseball and the Baby Boomer: A History, Commentary, and Memoir by Talmage Boston
23. Death and the Dutch Uncle by Patricia Moyes
I read three of Monica Ferris a d really liked her. How was Thai Die?
I've also looked at Miranda Bliss but haven't had a chance to read her yet. Did you like her writing?
This is a fascinating look at the world of major league baseball and its players during the "hard times" of the 1930s and up to the start of World War 2. Though the author offers interesting information on the highlights of each season, the book excels when addressing the impact of the Great Depression on the leagues, the players, and the fans. For instance, during the early 1930s, exhibition games were held to raise money for the unemployed.
The first night games, postseason barnstorming, and the development of the minor league farm system (particularly by the St Louis Cardinals' Branch Rickey) are among the most interesting topics covered in the books. Also of interest is the coverage given to the winding down of the careers of some stars, such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as well as the rise of others, such as Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams.
I would recommend this to baseball fans and also to American history buffs.
That big armload of reserved books I picked up from the library today should help me along the way.
I don't know much about jazz but I do like Marsalis so I thought I'd give his new book a try. Every year when he comes to Chicago, I try to get to his concert and I think I'll be better prepared when I attend his show in late Feb.
This is an excellent book, easily the best one I've read so far in 2009. In it, jazz great Wynton Marsalis not only explains the basics of jazz but also ties these to big picture life issues. For instance, Marsalis talks quite a bit about how jazz musicians show a mutual respect and trust towards each other and then expands upon this to everyday life.
I also found the chapter addressing basic styles and influences of the giants of jazz to be especially interesting.
I borrowed Moving to Higher Ground from the library but now, I plan to buy a copy of my own because I'd like to refer to it often. I rated it at 4 and a half stars. My only quibble is that this is one book that could've benefitted from having an accompanying CD to further enhance what was said in the book.
by Elizabeth D. Samet
Soldier's Heart is a book about a female civilian professor teaching literature to the cadets at West Point both before and after 9/11. I have to say that I love reading books about the service academies and, in fact, have read a number of them but this book is unique in that it probably provides more insights into cadets' character than any of the others.
I also liked Samet's discussions of the books taught, as well as their impact on current cadets as well as former students who return to West Point or communicate with her via email. It was interesting to hear about the impact of books on soldiers in Iraq. There was one former student who talked about the urgency of reading while on the front lines in Iraq (and less urgency when he returned stateside). Powerful stuff!!
If you're interested in this book, I would also recommend Annapolis Autumn by Bruce Fleming, which is a similar book about teaching literature at the U.S. Naval Academy. Both are excellent books.
This was my first 5-star book of the year. Absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone who loves books.
by Carol Helstosky
Pizza: A Global History is a fascinating look at the history of pizza from its Italian origins to its "Americanization" to current worldwide trends in pizza. The book is slim, but very informative and it also includes recipes.
It's part of The Edible Series. Other already-released titles include "Hamburger" and "Pancake." Forthcoming titles include Beer, Hot Dog, Chocolate, Cake, and Pie, just to name a few.
I would recommend Pizza: A Global History to anyone who likes to read about food or who likes to read books on a quirky topic. A reader is treated to a lot of interesting information in a compact format.
ANATOMY OF BASEBALL
LEE GUTKIND AND ANDREW BLAUNER (eds)
Anatomy of Baseball is a collection of 20 baseball essays. Some were quite interesting, some were not. Some were written by well-known baseball authors, some were not. Overall, I'd say this was pretty good, though there was some duplication. How many tributes to a baseball mitt are needed in one relatively slim volume?
Among my favorites was Roger Angell's ode to the baseball itself. Another essay on the first baseman was especially interesting as was an essay about a graduate student in Classics who became a Baltimore Orioles fan. Typically, I'm mainly a fan of major league baseball but the essay about Finland's variation on baseball was fascinating.
The Corpse in the Snowman was one of those "basement rescues" I made the other day and I'm really glad I took the time to track this one down and finally read it.
Years ago, I read another Nicholas Blake but will now definitely have to add more of these to my list. Very highly recommended for those who love classic mysteries.
24. The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City by Carl Smith
25. A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books by Alex Beam
26. Promises in Death by J.D. Robb
27. Billy Williams: My Sweet-Swinging Lifetime with the Cubs by Billy Williams with Fret Mitchell
28. The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood
29. Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett
30. Between the Lines by Ray Scapinello (with Rob Simpson)
31. Oolong Dead by Laura Childs
32. The Tri-State Tornado: The Story of America's Greatest Tornado Disaster by Peter S. Felknor
33. A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan (editors)
34. Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time by David Prerau
35. Match Day by Brian Eule
36. His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
37. When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis
38. The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree by Stuart Palmer
by Peter S. Felknor
On March 18, 1925, a powerful, nearly mile-wide tornado travelled for over 3 hours over 219 uninterrupted miles through Missouri, southern Illinois, and Indiana. Residents of many small cities and towns in the tornado's path had virtually no warning of the storm's approach. The tornado killed 689 people, mostly in Illinois. Even though it killed more people than the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and remains the deadliest tornado in American history, very little is known about it.
To try to remedy the lack of awareness, Felknor conducted a number of interviews in the early to mid 1980s with survivors of the Great Tri-State Tornado. The result was this short 1992 book about the tornado.
This was an interesting book, chock full of information about a tornado I'd only vaguely heard about. Unfortunately, it was not very well-written and consisted mainly of interview excerpts tied together with brief narrative. Nonetheless, I'd recommend it to the weather or disaster buff or anyone who wants to learn more about a little-known American disaster.
Of course, I'll still have morning coffee, lunchtime, and post-ballgame reading time.
Of my 13 books read this month so far, 6 have been Kindle books so I think between LT and my Kindle, this could be a recordbreaking reading year!!
My "personal best" was 1993, I think, with 153 books read. I've never come close to that since(but I spent part of that year on disability leave so I had much more time to read).