At the end of November, I had 44 books and 51 films to show for 2012. What a long, strange trip it’s been! In case you haven’t been following my posts, the 50/50 Challenge entices bloggers to read fifty books and see fifty films in a year. I easily read fifty books in a year, so I limited mine to nonfiction (some readers saw some of my selections, such as The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.: The Tweets of Steve Martin, as somewhat specious, but the gigantic [and awesome] book by Steven Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined more than makes up for the lighter, easier fare.) Here be my consumption for December:
The four-part PBS documentary series America in Prime Time
Started Looper (but Amazon Prime flaked out on us. I did finally finish it in January and found it excellent. And I don’t usually like lots of gunfire. It’s not my thing. But Joseph Gordon-Levitt could wear a prosthetic nose or be in a silly 1990s sitcom and I’d find him perfect.)
- J. D. Salinger, A Life by Kenneth Slawenski (Excellent! And what a tricky task: Writing a revealing, in-depth autobiography of a man who wanted nothing more than ultimate privacy–but his affection for Salinger is clear, and Slawenski writes with respect and sensitivity. Reading the book has inspired me to reread all my Salinger books, which, except for Catcher in the Rye, I haven’t read since undergrad. (I tend to reread Catcher every few years anyway because I always find something new in it. I think I’ll find even more this time).
- How to Read a Person Like a Book (My mom lent me this book and it drove me nuts. The information is probably useful and somewhat accurate, but the big problem was that it was written in the 1970s and the authors use “he” for almost all examples, and I couldn’t tell if they were referring to men specifically or just using sexist language.)
- Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (I read Always Looking Up earlier this year, so I thought I’d go back and read Fox’s first memoir).
- Anita Hill’s Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (Eloquent, educational, and inspirational)
- Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland (Angry. Don’t read before bed.)
- The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans by Mickey Edwards (I loved this book and I admire Mickey Edwards. This is one Republican [or former Republican] I’d vote for. His ideas make perfect sense to me–a new approach to determining Speaker and districts, creating open primaries, and more–and I truly believe our democratic system would work so much better if all of his ideas were implemented.
Keep in mind that these numbers don’t reflect fiction books (of which there were only a few) and movies that I’d already seen–unless it had been ten years since I’d last seen the movie. (That means that the TBS A Christmas Story marathon and the multiple times I caught Shawshank Dedemption on cable do not count). Also, I have a confession: I didn’t finish the Anita Hill book until 2013. Just a day or two in. I’m giving myself a pass because I didn’t start the challenge until a week into 2012 . . .