Today in My History

2001:  It's a New World I See
2002:  How'm I Doin', Coach?
2003:  Party Girl
2004:  It Came Without Whistles
2005:  Pondering the Imponderable

2006:  It Started with Mutt
2007 If You Wait Long Enough, It's Finally Your Turn
2008:  Unfortunate Fireworks for New Year's Eve

2009:  Comparing Years Again
2010:  Free Association
2011:  Dogs of 2010

2011 by the Numbers
2013: 2012 Wrap-Up
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
2015: Books of 2014
2016: The New Year, Old and New

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Talking to Alzheimers"

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2 January 2017

Something else I like to at the end of every year is make a record of the books I read during the year.  I've decided that 50 books is a good goal for me to read in a year.  The first year I worked at Logos, I guess I read more than I do now because I read nearly 80 books that year.  Last year I read 56 books.  I didn't make it to 50 this year, but 43 is closer than last year (and if you combine the two years....).  It was a total of 11,788 pages, vs. 18,746 last year. (Don't you love data bases?)

Of the books I read,

16 were "real" books -- 11 of those were read at Logos
16 were on the Kindle
11 were audio books

A bit more evenly divided than last year.  I am finding that I prefer to read on the Kindle these days because my eyesight has deteriorated this past year (eye appt. coming up in February) and I can change the type size on the Kindle.

Breaking the 43 books into genres,

15 of those fit into the crime category, the bulk of those (8 of them) by Harlan Coben.  I finished Coben's Myron Bolitar series, upset that we had seen the end of Myron and his friend Win, so in desperation I read Coben's young adult series featuring Myron's nephew, then some stand alone Coben books and finally, thrilled that Coben was bringing Myron back, read his latest, "Home."  It was a Harlen Coben kinda year,  guess.... and "Home" is, I think, my favorite of all he Coben books I read.

13 were non-fiction, including 4 autobiographies, and 2 books by Bill Bryson, which I guess are a combination of humor and travel.  There were 7 animal themed books, 3 about elephants, 2 about dogs, 1 about a parrot and 1 about a guy who trains animals for Broadway.  Two of the non-fictions were collections of essays.

The scariest of the autobiographies was "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families," which was an in-depth account of what happened during the Rwanda genocide in 1984, written by a reporter who interviewed the survivors on both sides after peace had settled in for awhile.  I finally learned the difference between the tutsis and hutus, and more than I ever wanted to know about who did what to whom during the worst part of the slaughter.

The most fun, perhaps was a toss up between the story of the guy who trained animals for Broadway, and the story of a grey parrot named Alex.  "After his death, he was mourned all over the world, a full page obituary ran in the (either the New Yorker or New York Times, I can't remember).  He had been called "the smartest bird in the world," but work with him just proved that animals are thinking more than we may think they are."

An interesting, but strange sort of book was "With a Feather on My Nose," which was actress Billie Burke's autobiography, but not at all your typical Hollywood story.  Anybody hoping to gain some insights about filming The Wizard of Oz will be disappointed that she gives it short shrift...but the book was written in 1949, before Oz became the cult classic that it is today.  Mostly she talks about her co-stars and her costumes, and especially husband Flo Ziegfeld, very little about herself in Hollywood, though more about her years performing on the stage in England.

And I loved the two elephant books, written by women who had each spent years living with elephants and observing their behavior.  Elephant Memories: 13 Years in the Life of an Elephant Family" by Cynthia J. Moss was my favorite.  It seems strange to think that a book like this is "dated" but she spent a bit of book on poaching, but since the last edition of the book was 1999 and so much has happened with laws about the exportation of ivory that it really isn't that relevant any more

11 were fiction, including my friend Alec Clayton's "Return to Freedom," which I've been meaning to read for a long time.  It's the second book in a trilogy and now I have to find the other two.

"The Gravity of Birds" by Tracy Guzeman was such a compelling read that I read it most of the night and finished at 5:30 am.  I later met Guzeman at a discussion with the book club I was part of then.  She was a delightful woman.

The most disappointing of the books was "Brooklyn," which I'd wanted to read for a long time, but it droned on and on and on.  It I read it as an audio book or I probably would not have finished it at all.  Good potential plot boringly written.

I even read a "chick lit" book, "Finding Frasier," just because it was about a woman searching throughout Scotland looking for her own Jamie Frasier (from the "Outlander" series).  It was as i expected ... chick lit that I was embarrassed to be reading.

Amazingly I only read two dementia-themed books this year.  I must have reached saturation with information about books on dementia and Alzheimers.

In all the questions I answer on here about books it is often asked how often I read and I always answer that I read at least something every doy, but I actually have not read anything for the past couple of weeks.  Now that all the holiday hoop-la is over, I am looking forward to getting back to the several books I was in the middle of reading when it all started.

I spent the afternoon with a Hitchcock marathon and then I cooked short ribs with my new Copper Chef cookware.  First time I'd cooked short ribs and they were delicious!  (Thanks, Laurel and Tom!)



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