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Monday, December 6, 2010

Year in Review, part the first

First semester of grad school: accomplished with style and panache, if I do say so myself.

SLIS 5000 -- Info Professions: A
SLIS 5600 -- Info Access and Retrieval: A (unless I did that final as-yet-ungraded bibliography on reference services for people with disabilities entirely, dreadfully, terribly, utterly wrong...)

So, with that out of the way, I can devote some time to the important things in life: BOOKS (as if library science school weren't entirely devoted to some semblance of that subject...)

Mainly, the books I've read in 2010 so far. My goal at the beginning of the year was to read 100 books in 2010. Sadly, I've come up lacking on that goal, but my defense is that at the beginning of 2010, I hadn't really seen grad school in my imminent future (at least for 2010, anyway). At this point, I am in the middle of reading books 49 and 50 (Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' (Book of the Long Sun)
along with Swann's Way (Remembrance of Things Past, Volume One), respectively) So, 48 books have been completed this year. Not bad. Not as good as I had hoped, but...well, I could have done worse. I refuse to see my 50% completion rate as failure, no matter what the standard grading rubric would see it as!

So, I figured from now until 2011, I'll start listing my favorite books of the year. But first, a rundown of the books finished:
1. In the Shadow of No Towers
2. Little House in the Big Woods Book and Charm (Charming Classics)
3. What I Saw And How I Lied
4. The Whale Rider
5. Little Town on the Prairie (Little House)
6. I Am America (And So Can You!)
7. The Road
8. The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America
9. Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
10. The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House
11. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
12. The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country
13. Push: A Novel
14. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran
15. Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings
16. Wishful Drinking
17. Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
18. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship
19. All Families are Psychotic: A Novel
20. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan
21. Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
22. I See By My Outfit
23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
24. Anansi Boys: A Novel (P.S.)
25. The Hunger Games: Book 1
26. In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church
27. The Lovely Bones
28. Microserfs: A Novel (P.S.)
29. Lucky: A Memoir
30. A Death in the Family (Penguin Classics)
31. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
32. Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
33. Water for Elephants: A Novel
34. The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family
35. Jesus Land: A Memoir
36. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)
37. 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers
38. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
39. Skipping Towards Gomorrah
40. The Summer Before
41. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
42. Never Let Me Go
43. Songs Without Words (Vintage Contemporaries)
44. The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University
45. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
46. This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
47. A Visit from the Goon Squad
48. The Jane Austen Book Club: A Novel

Aaaaand that's it. My goal for 2011 is to read all of Proust's In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past. We'll see how much other reading I get done around that, though I expect to desire a certain amount of fluff to supplement Proust... (I should note, there's a fair bit of fluff in the above reading list -- some books I read particularly because a lot of words seem to be devoted to criticizing them -- Eat, Pray, Love as a prime example -- and I figured I should be informed about the content if I want to participate in discussion...)

Looking at my 2010 reading list as a whole, I can see some general themes. I think this year in general I've been focused a great deal on politics, food, and religion (though, really, aren't most people interested in those general ideas?) (and YA lit, in part because of the direction I want to go in regarding my MLIS) -- I've felt more and more drawn to Quaker faith and practice throughout the year. I've not gone to any meetings yet, as I've not quite drawn up the courage (having been put off from religious gatherings for a while, it is to a certain degree daunting to jump back into some semblance of spirituality, particularly when it's a sect I've not been versed in the same way I was versed in Presbyterian teaching growing up). It's a bit different, and while the RVA Quaker websites seem inviting enough...it still seems to be taking me a bit of time to get over the meeting-new-people-in-a-religious-meeting anxiety, also in part because I don't know really if I totally subscribe to Quaker faith and practice yet. I subscribe to a bit of it in general, from my readings. But still...I feel like I want to do more general studying on the matter. I don't know, really. We'll see what happens in 2011 with that, I suppose.

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