I had a goal to read 30 books last year, as I’ve been doing every year. This year I made it to 29. So close! Let’s take a look at the list and my basic impressions.
1. Freakonomics, completed January 5th. This book was really fascinating.
2. The Burlesque Handbook, completed January 20th. Excellent primer for burlesque beginners. This will come in handy.
3. The Stepford Wives, completed January 23rd. Totally better than either movie
4. The History of Marriage, completed April 19th. As a married nerd this was a must. Don’t let the gap fool you; this was a great book including bits and pieces on the history of women, family planning, and even racism.
5. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, completed April 22nd. A great book a la Lives of the Rich and Famous circa 1890-1925.
6. The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House, completed April 23rd. I was told this book would be scary. It was not. But despite this and the amateurish writing, I still really liked it.
7. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy, completed May 4th. Well done, but this was just information overload. Only really suitable for minds like a computer.
8. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, completed May 10th. A little disappointing, but only because the history of Halloween is not very spooky.
9. The King’s Speech, completed May 19th. Unlike the movie, this was a double-biography.
10. The Nun’s Story, completed May 29th. I don’t always read fiction, but when I do it’s the best fiction ever.
11. Edison and the Electric Chair, completed June 7th. Parts of this were shocking!
12. Life is So Good, completed June 13th. A super sweet, heartwarming, inspirational book.
13. Under The Black Flag, completed June 21st. The author didn’t seem to care about his subject, so neither will you.
14. Hubbub: Filth, noise & Stench in England, completed June 30th. History is totally gross, you guys.
15. Paranormal State, completed July 15th. Everybody needs to lay off Ryan Buell. He’s a cool guy with a cool book.
16. The Six Wives of Henry VIII, completed August 7th. Antonia Fraser is a great writer. Also, I think she is a time traveler.
17. Life in a Medieval Village, completed August 11th. Totally informative, but totally dry.
18. In The President’s Secret Service, completed August 18th. A guilty-pleasure read with a moral purpose.
19. Deliver Me From Evil, completed August 20th. Powerful.
20. Carny Folk, completed August 24th. More than just a fun primer on sideshow standouts.
21. Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans, Completed September 21st. Mardi Gras used to be totally racist, Strangers. Unfortunately this book was mostly pretty dry.
22. U.S. History for Dummies, completed November 17th. I kind of tuned out after the 1960s, but it was definitely helpful.
23. The Corset: A Cultural History, completed November 20th. This book goes way beyond girl fashion. 10/10, would recommend.
24. Mirror, Mirror, Off The Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at it For a Year, completed November 24th. It’s a sociology book, and it’s very insightful.
25. Jack The Ripper: Murder, Mystery and Intrigue in London’s East End, completed November 25th. Quick and dirty. Or, make that messy.
26. How the States Got Their Shapes, completed November 28th. The TV series is way better.
27. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, completed December 3rd. The depression was really depressing. At least the writing this inspired is beautiful.
28. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, completed December 17th. Wars are political, but the content of this book was not. It brought a ton of humanity and new perspective to a distant time in American history.
29. The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Century Edition, Volume 4. This book is about 80 years old so I could not find an accurate link to it. I have to ask, WTF were you smoking, Edgar? This wasn’t dark, it was just plain weird.
Well, that’s all for 2013. This year’s lineup consists of women’s studies, black history, atheism, and the dark and spooky. You can check out my updated to-read list here. Let’s hope I can actually make it to 30 this time.