Saturday, February 28

Books read 2008

I know I'm two months late with this, but just in case you like books and lists and lists of books as much as I do, here are the books I read in 2008.

1. The Irrational Season by Madeleine L'Engle
2. If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
3. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (audio book)
4. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
5. The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (audio book)

6. The Interesting Narrative by Olaudah Equiano
7. The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes
8. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
9. The Life and Destiny of Isak Dinesen by Frans Lasson and Clara Svendsen
10. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
11. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

12. Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
13. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
14. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
15. The Hidden Wound by Wendell Berry
16. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

17. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
18. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
19. Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr by Emily Carr
20. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
21. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winnifred Watson

23. Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

24. Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins
25. Sweet Valley High #1: Double Love by Francine Pascal
26. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoefer
27. Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome
28. The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz (audio book)

29. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
30. Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean and Timothy Hursley

31. The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
33. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
34. What Are People For? by Wendell Berry
35. Saturday by Ian McEwan

36. Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar

37. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
38. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (audio book)

39. Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper
40. Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

41. The Case of the Smoking Chimney by Erle Stanley Gardner
42. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Gilead was easily one of my favorite books of the year. It reminded me to look for beauty all around me and to take the time to enjoy it, no matter how it came. Something as simple as a sprinkler on a sunny day can be glorious.

The Penderwicks and its sequel, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street were so charming. Rosalind, Jane, Skye and Batty Penderwick are four sisters who live with their widowed father and have active imaginations. These books reminded me so much of being younger, both in the way that I devoured them so quickly (like I used to do all the time), and in the ways I could relate to all the girls. These books have been criticized for being more innocent and old fashioned than the world is now, but I had a childhood much like this in many ways, and these books were a refreshing reminder of the best things about it.

Sailing Alone Around the Room gave me hope that I may come to like poetry someday. If you want to like poetry but struggle through it most of the time, this "best of" collection is a good place to begin.

Rural Studio documents the work that Samuel Mockbee and his architecture students at Auburn University have done in poor, rural communities in Alabama. Using salvaged materials, they design and built structures for the needy that are both usable and beautiful. To do something that helps people, is responsible with materials, and is artistically excellent—that is an exciting idea to me. I like to hear about any way to have a creative career that meets human needs and is others-focused.

Speak begins with Melinda's first day of 9th grade. Her schoolmates shun her because she called the cops on an end-of-summer party, but we don't know why she made the call until Melinda can find the strength to speak. Melinda narrates this story, and her voice, so darkly funny and honest, makes this one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, February 25


This morning I saw a woodpecker hammering away outside my kitchen window. Unfortunately he flew away before I could get a better picture. I am so thankful that the sun is usually out when I get up now. It makes mornings so much easier. I like to stand in the sunniest spot while I eat breakfast. That spot happens to be a rather crowded corner, so I'm sure I look funny wedged in an awkward position when the rest of the kitchen is empty. But seeing everything bathed in morning light makes even ordinary things beautiful.

Monday, February 16

Focus on the positive

Spring is coming, and I am holding on until then. A few daffodils have come from nowhere in my back yard. I want some red rain boots and feel for the first time in my life that I may be able to justify owning some. I have a 5-minute walk from my car into work now, and having damp ankles all morning is most unpleasant. There, I said I wouldn't complain on this blog, and I just did. Solid or dot pattern?