Monday, December 12, 2011

Backward (Reading) Glance

2011 is near its end. With it comes the requisite backwards glance at where we were this time last year, and what that means for the coming year.

If you're a writer/bibliophile, then your inventory of "books read" is a part of that backward glance. I was inspired to compile my list of "books read" by the fabulous Elizabeth Holbert, who put out her own list on her website. Below is my own list of books I've read during the past twelve months.

NOTE: I am a teacher of American History/Literature and Modern World History/Literature, and that profession is definitely reflected in the bulk of my book choices. Admittedly, several of these were read for the express purpose of teaching them for school. But hey - I read them. They count.

I did not count books that I reread every time I must teach them (like The CrucibleThe Scarlet Letter...etc); only those that were first time reads are included here.

My 2011 Reading List                            

Silverlock by John Myers Myers
The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, by himself   
Wren Journeymage, by Sherwood Smith
The Portable Patriot by Miller & Parrish            
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson
The 5000 Year Leap, by Cleon Skousen
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madame L'Engle
On Writing, by Stephen King

Making Shapely Fiction, by Jerome Stern

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by himself
 The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
More Than Dates and Dead People, by Stephen Mansfield
Mary Chestnut's Civil War Diary, by herself
The Confidence Man, by Herman Melville
The Pilgrim's Regress, by C S Lewis    
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice (annotated by David M Shapard)  
Journal of Madam Knight, by Sarah Kimble Knight             

I don't know about you - but that list seems woefully short, even with my adding in those academic tomes that I perused in the spirit of teaching history and literature. Without them, the list would be dismally short.

As for the books that made the biggest impression on me, here are my top three picks for the year:


My goal for 2012 is to read twice that many titles. I think this is very doable, as I am coming up on a Modern History/Literature year in my teaching cycle and am actively reading through several titles that I ought to be acquainted with, and possibly teach, next year. Add in the "fun reads" that I intend to make time for, and I should make my proposed goal of 36 books easily. That's roughly a book and a half a week. That doesn't sound too daunting, does it?

What books made YOUR 2011 "read it!" list?


  1. So you read Equiano too, eh? I read him for my American Lit class last semester. :-)

  2. Excellent list! Both Equiano and Douglass's memoirs were incredible - I read them in college. I love how Equiano is represented in the film , Amazing Grace. Great list, Angela!!!!!


  3. Thanks! I actually taught Olaudah's book to my American Experience class this semester, and the kids really got into it. Such an amazing story! And Frederick's narrative --- could NOT put it down. One of those walk-around-the-house-doing-chores-one-handed-while-you-read fascinating.

    And since both of you are the same variation of book nerds that I am - sorry, Liz, if I repeat myself - you MUST check out Silverlock. I need to do a whole post just on that one book. BRILLIANT. Absolutely cannot say enough good things about that book.