I read a fair amount...here is a sample list of books I have read, noting the year in which I read it...
Liar's Club 1997 (loved it),
One Hundred Years of Solitude 1997 (a bit mystical for me),
Malcolm X 1998 (great insight into another point of view),
From Beirut to Jerusalem 1998, by Thomas Friedman, read this while in Chileover XMAS break. What an amazing book – balanced account of the middle east. A fabulous intro to the region and why things are the way they are.
The Stranger 1999 (well-written and interesting - though not liveable - philosophy),
Death of Ivan Ilyich 1999 (loved it - perspective),
Prince of Tides 1999 (great beach read),
The Great Gatsby 1999 ok – I was supposed to read this in HS, but since I didn’t really become a reader until college (despite being in advanced high school English (thank you public high school), I read it after bschool. I loved it. Fitzgerald has a grace with words and a simplicity that unveils truths about life and humanity not often acknowledged.
Exodus 1999 Leon Uris, got tired of the main character, but overall gripping and an easy way to read via historical fiction, the building of Israel by the Jews,
Bluebeard 2000 should read more vonnegurt,
White Teeth 2001 (pretty good - cross culture character development story),
A heartbeaking work of staggering genius 2001 (good - some slow parts, stream of consciousness, tender),
The Hours 2001 (loved this - extremely well written and pulled together at the end),
Wives of Henry VIII 2001 (beginning fascinating - catherine and anne; divorced, beheaded, died…divorced, beheaded, survived),
Like Water for Chocolate (2001) wonderful love story,
Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood 2001 (great beach read - cheesy at times, good thoughts on mother/daughter stuff),
Naked 2001 (hilarious and tragic and thoughtful and bare),
Motherless Brookyln 2001 (tourettes part was fascinating, storyline ok)
Tender at the Bone 2001 (loved it, Ruth Reichl has a great voice and is accessible and inspiring)
The Corrections (2001 Xmas) really liked it - cried at the end as it reminded me of my grandmother losing it, my mother being overly persnickety yet how relieved she will be when she is free of caring for granny, of how much I relate to Gary's feelings of working hard and deserving recognition and the need to control...just a lot of it hit home pretty hard
America's Queen - Jackie Kennedy bio (Feb 2002) excellent. she was odd, intriguing, petty at times, charming, smart
Jack (2002) story of GE's Jack Welch, pretty good, mickey mouse management
Roots (2002) absolutely loved it, amazing story of a family saga and the heinous crimes against them
The Handmaid's Tale (2002) very disturbing and well written, trends from today taken to their worst extreme
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (July 2002) an amazing start to Maya Angelou's bio. who knew there was rape, intellectual encouragement, Mexican highjinks, a month in a junkyard, the first black san fran street car operator and a pregnancy at sixteen???
The Haj (September 2002), I liked it as it told a lot about the middle east, but I did find it somewhat racist against Arabs.
Passage to India
Passage to India(2002) really enjoyed this - excellent character development - very complex and symbolic of the larger issues
Papillon (2002) GREAT adventure story. Tests of endurance, will of the spirit, and a testament to life’s simple pleasures (esp. at the end)
Pillars of the Earth (2002) fantastic story about building a cathedral in the 12th century. Glad I did not live in those brutal times!
The Bell Jar (2002) I thought this was very well-written. I related to a number of Esther’s sentiments and experiences. That’s a little scary. Interested in seeing the movie.
Comfort Me With Apples (2003) another ruth reichl. Not so highbrow, but I do love how she ties food into her life as a form of comfort, intellectual stimuli, etc. good recipes tied into here too.
No Need For Speed (2003) good inspirational running book. Actually, good life lesson part towards the end about being your own judge of success.
Mrs. Dalloway (2003) must re-read and do it all in one fell swoop on a Saturday afternoon.
Rage to Live (2002 – 2003) ok so it took a while to get through – it’s long – but it was really great. Need to read more exploration books. It is so easy to forget that not long ago much of the world was uncharted territory.
Love in the Time of Cholera (2003) I am not a fatalist, and I have my doubts that two people are meant to be together forever…HOWEVER, this book was a marvelous picture of love and relationships. Such truth and humanity. Worthy of a re-read once every few years.
The Miracle of Mindfulness (2003) by Tick Nhat Han, sent to me by my sister. This was a really good intro to meditation and various forms of meditating.
Chesapeake (2003) by Michener. What a big book. I got tired of the characters BUT there was fascinating detail on the history and the ecology of the territory.
Stargirl (2003) by Spinelli. This is a book aimed at teens and recommended by Donna. I am in love with this book. It is all about nonconformity, in the context of a high school. The interesting thing is that those issues persist beyond high school and just take different forms (different marriage choices, different career and financial choices, etc.) and still can be divisive, though not necessarily quite as viciously as in high school. She is such an amazing character – and the descriptions and writing and life lessons…phrases like “OH no, you are a dolphin stuck in a tuna net” or the conversation about the dormant mud frogs. The scene where they are listening to the world was striking as well. This will be sent out to many and re-read often.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2003) by Michael Chabon. This book was incredibly well written and wonderfully imaginative. The middle got a little tough – reminded me of Catch 22 in style for some reason. Would recommend.
Wacky Chicks (2004) by Simon Doonan. This book was disappointing. It became more about how they looked than about what they had accomplished, or about fun things they did. It was more an expose of how they dressed and maybe a few antics. Nothing special.
The Art of Happiness (2004) This is the Dali Lama. I had read bits and pieces of this before, but never straight through. It was not earth shattering, nor did it change my life, but it did offer several really great strategies for dealing with life, anxiety, fear. It had wonderful thoughts on developing compassion and emphasized patience and tolerance. Definitely would recommend and want to summarize its wisdom to review later on.
When Things Fall Apart (2004) More Buddhism – and I really like it. It’s realistic and makes a lot of sense. However, would not recommend this particular book to a depressed person – that would be a disaster!
Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman (2004) Career empowerment stuff. Not bad. A few good reminders of things to think about to keep you out of trouble with habits you may or may not even be conscious of (terrible grammar on my part).
The Power of Now (2004). Ok this was a REAL winner. Much of the same learnings as When Things Fall Apart, but a bit more digestible (or maybe it’s all just starting to make sense to me. The lessons are powerful and worthy of summary which will do in the journal. This is a book that will be re-read again and again.
Tuesdays with Morrie (2004 – second time). So this is the second time around for this book and I was inspired to pick it up again post reading #44. Good choice. Similar lessons and what an inspiration Morrie was (and is). We should all aspire to be more like him even in our best moments.
Interpreter of Maladies (2004). This book was excellent. A series of short stories that were heart-felt and real. Well illustrating the issues dealt with when assimilating into a new culture.
Awareness (2004). This is life-changing. An annual must-read.
Peace in Every Step (2004). Well I liked the Miracle of Mindfulness better. I am all for meditation and awareness, but this was a little too hokey for me.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2004) I remember being amazed at how this book came together – and yes, the sense of spirit and life is not to be missed from this.
Ahab’s Wife (2004) Well I really liked the beginning but man, she goes over the top with her PC references. Mercy.
Shadow of the Wind (2005) This one was pretty good, not fabulous. Decent beach read.
Back from Betrayal (2005) this was written by a woman I met at a wedding. It talks about how she dealt with her husband’s infidelity. Definitely worth reading.
Million Little Pieces (2005) This book is really extraordinary. Close to the bone on many levels given that dad was in a treatment center, as was Alex’s mother. Stream of consciousness. Really powerful to understand those moments of progress and improvement. (now very unhappy with this book and the fact that it was a big pile of embellished rubbish).