2009 Books

My one sentence movie reviews for 2009 seems to have struck a chord, so let’s see if I get a response from someone (Dan Brown?) for my books of 2009.

  • The Pump House Gang – I generally like Tom Wolfe; a few of these essays were excellent, like the La Jolla surfers and Hugh Hefner, but many others were incredibly boring.
  • Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old – Bought when we were desperate for the girls to sleep through the night.  This had much more practical real world advice than other sleep books we’ve read.
  • Childhood’s End – Revisiting a high school book.
  • Brave New World – Another high school book.  These two were paired together, probably because they offer two different views of a Utopian society.  I enjoyed them both the second time around.
  • Tesla: Man Out of Time – A long read, dry at times.  I found it hard to respect Tesla at times; he seemed to be a genius but had trouble following through on so many great ideas.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns – Hard to believe, but this was equal to Kite Runner in my opinion.  Not as much heartache in this one though.
  • Underworld – I really disliked this book; worst book of the year.  It was extremely popular when it came out (still is), but I just didn’t get it.  I was very disappointed by the end and am turned off Delillo now.  Tell me if there’s another one of his that I would like better.
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know – Very good, but a little scary.  Am I remembering to follow through on all 10 secrets everyday?
  • Bringing Down the House – Excellent, a page turner.  Way better than the movie, naturally.
  • House to House: A Soldier’s Memoir – This was an amazing story.  It definitely got my heart racing at times and gave me a whole new level of respect for soldiers in Iraq.  It was a tough call between this and The Right Stuff, but I’m giving this best book of the year.
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Really good, fastest 1,000 pages I’ve ever read.
  • The Right Stuff – Two Wolfe books in a year.  This was one of my favorites for the year.  I loved the dialog and all the different personalities Wolfe developed.
  • The World Without Us – A big disappointment, although it was because my expectations were different.  I wanted a whole lot more detail about how things will fall apart, and less about how the natural world will evolve in our absence.
  • The Black Swan – I liked this book, but it was very dense at times.  He was quite funny in some parts, which was unexpected.
  • The Murder Book – Just so-so.  Something I read so we could get rid of it without guilt.
  • John Adams – Great book about an under-appreciated president.  Got a little misty at the end when he and Jefferson (SPOILER ALERT!) died.
  • Under the Banner of Heaven – Not a great effort from Krakauer.  There was probably too much to cover in just one book, although he did do a good job explaining a very bizarre faith.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I thought this was good, but perhaps a bit overrated.  I still think I’ll read the next in the series.
  • The Lost Symbol – I’ll admit it – I like the Dan Brown books.  His style doesn’t really bother me; you know what you’re getting, kind of like a summer popcorn movie.  I thought this was a good follow up to one of the best selling books of all time, which is a tough act to follow.
  • Casino Royale – I was very surprised how much I liked this.  Bond has some issues with women, which doesn’t come out as much in the movies.  I’ll definitely pick up some others in this series.

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