The YEAR In Books – 2007 Edition

I am so glad I decided to do a weekly book review this year. I just finished looking back over all the books I read (I was adding labels, sorry if that messed up your Bloglines!), and I was surprised to see what a diverse lot they were! I read 116 books this year, not including children’s books or books I read out loud to Hannah, and counting the Bible as one book, not as 66 separate books. The books included a mix of fiction and non-fiction, with topics including history, public policy, economics, the environment, cooking, childrearing, childbirth, education, homeschooling, language, natural/organic living, farming, sewing, crafts, and fitness.

After looking over all the books I read, I pulled out my Top Fifteen. They are, in no particular order:

  • “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield
    • Excellently crafted fiction, surprising twists, and it’s indirectly about books. What’s not to love?
  • “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” by Michael Chabon
    • This was the best of all the Chabon books I read this year, although they are all good, and I hope you have tried at least one of them!
  • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
    • I think this is an important book, and the best one on the topic I read this year.
  • “Middlemarch” by George Eliot
    • I can’t believe I waited so long to read this fabulous book!
  • “Future Men” by Douglas Wilson
    • Hark! There is a baby in the bathwater! Don’t burn your Wilson collection before you read this one – it was really helpful and I promise it didn’t make me a heretic.
  • “The Accidental Tourist” by Anne Tyler
    • Don’t miss Tyler’s amazingly apt descriptions and fresh writing style.
  • “Supreme Conflict” by Jan Crawford Greenburg
    • Especially with the 2008 election season looming, you need to understand the Supreme Court and how it works. This volume is readable and engaging even if you’re not a lawyer or a wonk. If you ARE a lawyer and/or a wonk, you’ll enjoy it all the more!
  • “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Many books that touch on Islam andr terrorism are afflicted with hysterics and/or written by people who don’t know what they are talking about. Ali takes a calmer approach, which only serves to underscore the gravity of her account.
  • “Better Off” by Eric Brende
    • A newlywed couple just out of grad school in the big city decides to explore what would happen if they moved to an Amish-type community and decided to forgo electricity and modern conveniences for a year. The resulting account is funny and thought-provoking.
  • “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • “The Black Swan,” as with Taleb’s first book “Fooled by Randomness,” is an out-of-the-box look at economics, financial markets, and probability. Taleb’s books are hilarious but also seriously informative. I don’t mind that he takes snarky pot-shots at economists, because I think most econ types take themselves wayyy too seriously anyway. Not that there is anything wrong with that, if that is who you are. And stuff.
  • “Dress Your House For Success” by Martha Webb
    • If you ever consider selling your house, you have to read this book first. It will save you time and money, and will probably spur you on to all kinds of organizing and decluttering feats of greatness that will astound your friends, family, and realtor.
  • “Animal Vegetable Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver
    • This account of one family’s decision to eat locally grown foods for a year was inspiring, entertaining, and informative. That probably makes it sound boring, but it’s not! It’s really awesome! You should read it!
  • “Don’t Make Me Count To Three!” by Ginger Plowman
    • Absolutely THE best parenting book I have read so far, and you know me, I have read a lot of them! Plowman takes the ideas and maxims you’ve probably already read about in abstract form and makes them practical. I’m probably not qualified to start recommending parenting books since I’ve only been at this for two years, but this one is my favorite.
  • “Going Gray” by Anne Kreamer
    • This book shifted my paradigm in a number of ways by challenging the way I think about beauty, aging, and identity. I’ve had many interesting conversations with other women about this book, probably because Kreamer doesn’t try to shove her conclusions down the reader’s throat. Instead, she simply invites the reader to consider their assumptions and underlying beliefs and really own their decisions. I think this is a good book to read even if you’re all about coloring your hair.
  • “A Guide To Elegance” by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
    • I so enjoyed this charming book. The fact that it was written in the early 1960s but is still so applicable today (apart from the bit about wearing gloves perhaps) is a good recommendation for the suggestions contained in this book.

Next week: The Week In Books 2008! Thanks for reading about what I’m reading!

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