Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Paper Trail

I have always been an avid reader. I think that books allow us to slip into the mind of someone else for just a bit, and if you don’t like what is being said, unlike real life, you can just close the cover and walk away. Many of these titles accompanied me to airports, coffee shops, or were read in strange student housing locations in different states by the light of a bare lightbulb, or with the warmth of an electric blanket in a converted garage that had no heating. When I look over the list, unfortunately I don’t remember too much about many of the titles, but several bring back memories of where I was when I purchased them or what I was doing when I read them.

2005 Reading List:

The Old Testament: Genesis - 1 Chronicles
Okay, so in 2004 I read all of the New Testament. I thought I could do the same for the Old Testament, spending just a couple of minutes reading a chapter every night before bed. I guess I should have read 3-4 chapters per night as I still have a long way to go!

Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
A good friend of mine lent this to me. It is a collection of essays from a radio series that he did around World War II if I remember correctly.

Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
This book I had read about quite some time ago from the author of another blog. I remember liking it very much and would highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in writing. I will definitely have to read again sometime.

I, Elizabeth - Rosalind Mills
I thought that a switch to historical fiction might be good for me. It was good, but easy to put down and I think I moved on to several other things before finally finishing. I think they made this into a movie about 5 years ago, but I haven’t seen it.

On Writing - Stephen King
I don’t remember much other than he said that writers should put their desks against a bare wall so as to not get distracted by looking out windows. It was not very inspiring.

Corpus Christi - Bret Anthony Johnston
I rotated through Corpus Christi, TX during my 3rd year and picked this up at the Barnes & Noble there. It was a collection of stories that seemed to have a theme about losing family members to cancer. It was neat to read about a setting where I’d lived for a month.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals - J. Maarten Troost
Okay, so I totally got suckered into buying this one because of the title. Unfortunately, I think that was where the excitement ended.

The Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
People are murdered according to punishment schemes from Dante’s Inferno. It incorporated famous literary figures as the main characters. I found it pretty boring for a twisted tale of murder, and it read like a term paper… a really long term paper.

The Five People that You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
This was a very quick, cutesy read. I missed the made-for-TV movie version.

Kill as Few Patients as Possible and Fifty-Six Other Essays on How to be The World’s Best Doctor - Oscar London, MD
Admitedly, some of the rants in here made me laugh, however I couldn’t get over the author’s annoying references to himself as The World’s Best Doctor.

War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
I wanted to read this before the movie came out.

East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Steinbeck is my fathor’s favorite author. I’ve read several of his shorter titles over the years, and wanted to try this one out. A lengthy tale of two families over the course of several generations. I thought no one would have noticed if he’d cut out a couple hundred pages or so.

House of God - Samuel Shem
People in medicine reference this book all of the time. I thought it was fairly crude and by the end of the book the protagonist, having been broken in spirit by the horrors of his internship year, abandons a career in internal medicine to pursue psychiatry. I guess I went into it with really high expectations and found myself pretty disappointed, much like the main character.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal - Eric Schlosser
I liked this one, but only remember the really disgusting part about livestock being fed rendered cat and dog parts collected from animal shelters. (I hope nobody’s eating while reading this.) This book reminded me that I haven’t read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair since I was about twelve, and I would like to read that again sometime.

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
I absolutely love this book! It is perhaps my all-time favorite. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the creativity that went into the concept of this book is just amazing.

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
I picked this one up on a whim. It is about the three types of persons needed for an idea to spread in epidemic proportions: the connector, the maven, and the salesperson. It was a fun and interesting read, as I found myself associating some of my friends with those archetypes.

The Magician’s Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia) - C.S. Lewis
When I was a child, many family vacations were spent with the five of us packed into our tiny Mazda sedan driving over 2,000 miles to my grandparents’ farm and back. One of the things that my mother wisely did to keep us children from becoming outright homicidal was read us chapters aloud from the Narnia books. I love this series and hadn’t revisited it in years.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) - C.S. Lewis
I immediately devoured this one after finishing the above, and just in time for the movie release.

Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
I was expecting great things from this one after reading The Tipping Point and didn’t feel that it was anywhere near as interesting. Oh well.

Wicked - Gregory Maguire
This was on Broadway when I was rotating in NYC and had no idea what it was at the time, so I saw Rent instead, which was fabulous. I tried and tried to read this book, but I guess I am just not that into fantasy. I’m okay from a distance, but when you start delving into the religious beliefs and sexual practices of Munchkinlanders in your imaginary world, you lose my interest. It’s rare that I don’t finish a book, but this one I abandoned 1/3 of the way through.

The Sword and the Scalpel - Frank G. Slaughter
My father picked this one up for me at a used bookstore and has since commenced picking up books written by or involving physicians as characters for me. It was okay, and set during the Korean War. A surgeon meets a show performer who becomes a nurse. She falls in love with his intellect, unfailing ethics, classic good looks, and blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately, I now have 3 more Slaughter books sitting in my reading pile.


I guess it would have been more appropriate to review the year in January, but I was excited to have stumbled across an incomplete list while cleaning this morning instead of studying. And yes, I am pretty sure I passed my exam in spite of my procrastination.


Chris said...

Oooo I am bad. I was supposed to read Mere Chrisitanity but didn't. My therapist recommended it but I was reading 5 other books at the time. I am like a channel surfer in print, lol.

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Kate said...

Any particularly good ones that he/she recommended?

Dutch said...

“Spirit of the Place” is definitely a great read.
It’s considered Mr. Shem’s most ambitious work.
Anyone interested should visit http://www.samuelshem.com for more information.