Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New year, books of 2008

Three weeks of bliss and adventure ended today with the departure of my favourite person. If all went well he was on the flight that left for Heathrow an hour ago. No relaxing allowed, however; on the 7th I'm moving to London. Ontario, unfortunately. A few people I've spoken to have automatically assumed I was immintently UK-bound, but this is unfortunately not the case. Maybe in 2010.

I'm quite excited, though I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed since I have almost no time to breathe before I move, and I've spent the last three weeks ignoring most things having to do with grad school and moving and London, ON. But! Now! Go!

I haven't made any resolutions: in September I started pursuing my 101 in 1001, which I think does me for goals for the next couple of years. In addition, I'm trying to embrace a spirit of action, or something equally pretentious-sounding but really not so unreasonable when you think about it: if there's something I want to change about myself, there's no point waiting for the new year. Might as well get started now, right? Right.

In the spirit of new things and the old year, I will now list things I did last year, since this seems to be the thing to do now that it is January.
First up: Books I read in 2008

I counted longish readings that were published as free-standing documents as "books" so excuse me. I did not count books that I read only part of. *cough* most of Hums 4000? *sheepish*. Things I had read before are labeled as such, but I decided to count them again anyway. Plays and epic works of poetry etc are also considered "books" just for the sake of simplicity. Apologies to purists.

1. Life on the Refrigerator Door, Alice Kuipers
2. Gargantua and Pantagruel (books 1-3), Rabelais
3. Robinson Crusoe, Defoe
4. The Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt
5. The Gift, Vladimir Nabokov
6. Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke
7. Into That Darkness, Gitta Sereny
8. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (reread)
9. On Toleration, Voltaire
10. Rameau’s Nephew, Denis Diderot
11. Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov
12. Life is a Dream, Calderon
13. Le Cid, Corneille
14. The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt
15. Sofia Petrovna, Lydia Chukovskaya
16. The Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe
17. Tartuffe, Moliere
18. Ada, Vladimir Nabokov
19. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
20. If This is a Man (Survival in Auschwitz), Primo Levi
21. Modern Social Imaginaries, Charles Taylor
22. Fuente Ovejuna, Lope de Vega
23. Precious Damsels, Moliere
24. Phaedra, Racine
25. The Princess of Cleves, Madame de Lafayette
26. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
27. Persians, Aeschylus
28. Agamemnon, Aeschylus (reread)
29. Oedipus the King, Sophocles (reread)
30. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
31. The Life of Pi, Yann Martel
32. Selected stories by Philip K. Dick
33. Philoctetes, Sophocles
34. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
35. The Bacchae, Euripides (reread)
36. Iphigenia at Aulis, Euripides
37. Orestes, Euripides
38. The Origin and Early Form of Greek Tragedy, Gerald Else
39. Making Money, Terry Pratchett
40. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
41. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate – Alexander McCall Smith
42. Emma, Jane Austen
43. On Beauty, Zadie Smith
44. Saturday, Ian McEwan
45. Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson
46. The Confusion, Neal Stephenson
47. The System of the World, Neal Stephenson

In total: 33 out of 47 books read were for university in some capacity. It seems like so long ago. I did have a fun couple of months reading only for myself since September, but upon reflection it seems I didn't read all that much.

This year I branched out a little past the classics. For the last few years I've spent my summers reading largely classic works that I feel I should read to fill in the gaps of my knowledge. This summer / fall I read a few more contemporary works, though I also tackled War and Peace, which I (hopefully unpretentiously) recommend because it is interesting as well as being famous and long. I count Neal Stephenson as this year's literary revelation for me. I've been meaning to read several books by him since high school, but I didn't get around to it until this year for whatever reason. It was better than I had hoped. I'm a convert. Next time I have some time open to myself I'll read Cryptonomicon.

So much for this year in books. Next, this year in movies?

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