On my shelf

I think I read a lot, ranging from newspapers to blogs to books (magazines, which were once the focus of my working life, don’t figure so much these days). But I have to join the many online commenters who found Aaron Swartz’s year-end list of 2010 reading pretty astounding.

It inspired me to start logging my reading, not for oneupmanship (between family, Berkeleyside, my paying work, my non-profit board and tennis, I don’t think I’ll rival Swartz), but as an aide-mĂ©moire for myself. As the year goes on, I’ll try to record my impressions of the books I read. (My blogging energy is entirely taken up by Berkeleyside, but I don’t want to abandon this site. So it needs a new impetus. Perhaps this is the new mutant form in which Davos Newbies can thrive. I won’t rule out, however, other forays.)

Like many voracious readers, I always seem to have a number of books on the go. At the moment, the number is swollen because of holiday book fever and the ridiculous ease with which you can get a book on Kindle for the iPad. I’m not totally convinced by e-books, but the lower cost and convenience is probably skewing my purchases to that form. Here’s what’s on my “shelf” at the moment, at various stages of completion:

  1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
  2. Why the West Rules — for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future, Ian Morris
  3. The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy, N.A.M. Rodger
  4. Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory, Peter Hessler
  5. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, Diane Ravitch
  6. Don Juan, Lord Byron
  7. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee
  8. The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour, Andrew Rawnsley
  9. The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, T.R. Reid
  10. How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, Sarah Bakewell
  11. Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel, John le Carre
  12. Wolf Hall, Hillary Mantel

8 thoughts on “On my shelf

  1. Ken Burgin

    Interesting list – I tried a book blog but too hard (!) so now have a twitter a/c just to record what I read and films I watch. Working very well – basically just a list, and who cares that no one follows – just for me.

  2. Al Sawan

    I highly recommend the practice. I’ve been keeping a reading list since ’97. I record title, author, date and genre and a one sentence review. Data collected is of interest only to me, of course, but I enjoy it. There is also a Facebook app “I’m reading” that’s useful, if one likes that sort of thing.

  3. carolyn

    I love to look at lists of what others are reading. But I am consequently reminded of all the things that I am not reading and that if I live to be 300 will never never never have time to read. sigh…….. But I’ll try!

  4. Doug

    Wolf Hall is very much worth your time. I’ve been logging for about a decade now, and have put the annual list up at Fistful for the last three or four.

  5. Pingback: Davos Newbies » Blog Archive » Current reading: two out of three ain’t bad

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