In May, I documented all the books I’d read in the first semester of 2011. Now that it’s the beginning of August, I thought I’d do the same thing for my “summer semester.” Total for the summer is 4,391 pages, which is probably a bit higher than normal, considering I made two trips Europe.
Out of all the books on the list, I’d have to put The Art of Racing in the Rain and Sister at the top of the list. Both had a unique narrative perspective that added to already great stories. You should also consider reading The Hunger Games before the movie comes out next year. It is written at a teenage level, so adults will most likely find it a pretty easy-breezy, end-of-summer read.
The Hypnotist was probably the most overly hyped book on the list. Yes, it’s written by a Swede. And yes, it’s a fast paced thriller. I found the multiple story lines a bit disjointed, though.
Here’s what’s next on my reading list:
If you are even remotely interested in bicycle riding, you are probably aware that May is National Bike Month. (In Seattle, that means the Group Health Commute Challenge and f5 Bike to Work Day.) Gene over at Biking Bis wrote an inspired post this morning regarding books you might enjoy reading when you’re not riding. Gene’s list included:
Click over to the post to read the write ups and reviews.
Here are a couple more that Gene did not mention that are also worthy of your time:
- Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson by William Fotheringham
For those trying to make sense of doping in professional cycling, Fotheringham does an in-depth exploration of doping in the early stages of the sport and tries to make sense of the tragedy of Tom Simpson’s death on the flank of Mont Ventoux. This is not another story about a bunch of finger-pointing wimps. Rather, it is a sincere look at the lengths to which men will go in the pursuit of victory.
- Flying Scotsman: Cycling to Triumph Through My Darkest Hours by Graeme Obree
You probably saw the movie, but (as usual) the book is way better. Graeme spins a tale of how he broke the world’s toughest cycling records as an upstart nobody of a cyclist while battling bipolar disorder and addiction. He is both honest and funny, making this a worthy book to read.
- Around the World on Two Wheels by Peter Zheutlin
The lives of women in the 1890s were constrained by social mores, family obligations, and restrictive clothing. Annie Kopchovsky, immigrant, wife, and mother of three, bucked the trend and cooked up a scheme to circle the globe on a bicycle—even though she had barely been on a bike.
- The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa by Neil Peart
A detailed account of Neil’s physical and spiritual journey through photographs, journal entries, and tales of adventure. Neil’s “masks” are the masks that we wear–culture, psychology, labels, expectations–and his book reveals how traveling in a very foreign land allows us to peer behind them.
- The Rider by Tim Krabbe
It’s perfectly reasonable, I think, to judge a book by the opening sentence or sentences: “Meyrueis, Lozere, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.”
- Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by BikeSnobNYC
“After reading Bike Snob I put a brake on my fixie, started wearing a helmet, then punched myself in the stomach for spending so much time as a stupid hipster. This is a social manual that should be bundled with every bike shipped in America.” – Christian Lander
Whew! And if you get through all of these you might just best my reading record.
In law school, I read something like 3500-4000 pages every semester. That included assigned homework in textbooks printed with 8 pt fonts, hornbooks and other study aids, and miscellaneous cases and materials turned up in the course of researching a topic for various classes.
Since this week marked the anniversary of my last law school class, I thought I’d tally the number of pages of fiction I’ve read since January – sort of the equivalent time period.
Turns out, I’m pretty much reading the same amount of pages. Who’d a thunk?! Here’s what I’ve read:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (544 pages)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (1088 pages)
squirrel seeks chipmunk by David Sedaris (91 of the 159 pages)
Dune by Frank Herbert (544 pages)
Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brien (272 pages)
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (496 pages)
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (985 pages)
Adding it all up, I’ve read 4,020 pages! Looking at the list, it’s clear that I’m fond of historical fiction. Although you might think that I really like science fiction too, it’s actually quite rare for me to pick one up. Dune just happened to be one of those “life list” books I hadn’t read yet, so I thought what the heck. And even though Under the Dome could be considered sci fi, I’d classify it more as a brainless beach read than sci fi.
What’s next? I’ve got a copy of Pickets and Dead Men (189 pages) sitting on my shelf on loan from one of my climbing students. I also think I’ll check out an ebook from the library. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (608 pages) is at the top of my library wish list right now.
What about you? What have you read lately? Anything you’d like to recommend?