I read 62 books in 2007. This is down from 83 in 2006 and 99 in 2005. (Here are all the books I’ve read from June ’04 – Dec ’07.) I don’t like the downward trend! One big reason is starting college, which has proven to be a time drain. Reading is a big part of college, but weirdly, I feel like I was reading more when I was on my own.
In any event, it’s about quality not quantity. Here were my favorite books from 2007:
Frank McCourt: Teacher Man: A Memoir
Beautiful story about teaching and life. Must-read for any teacher.
Orhan Pamuk: Snow
Complex, sad, beautiful. A wonderful novel by this Nobel prize winning Turkish writer.
Samuel P. Huntington: Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity
An excellent, provocative read on Americanism and immigration. See my formal book review.
Susan Shapiro: Only as Good as Your Word: Writing Lessons from My Favorite Literary Gurus
Excellent memoir on writing and mentors. See my quick review.
Tobias Wolff: Old School
An awesome novel, particularly for those interested in books and reading. Here’s my review.
Ethan Watters: Urban Tribes: Are Friends the New Family?
An interesting quasi-memoir, quasi-anthropological sketch. See my formal book review.
Francine Prose: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
A fun, instructive guide for writers. Uses tons of excerpts and close reading to make its points.
Nando Parrado: Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home
Stunning, inspiring, beautiful. See my review.
Jessica Livingston: Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days
A good archive of first-person accounts from entrepreneurs. Buy with my book and save on Amazon!
Po Bronson: "Why Do I Love These People?": Understanding, Surviving, and Creating Your Own Family
An excellent collection of stories about families who have overcome challenges. See my quick write up.
Michael Lewis: The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
An excellent storytelling job by Lewis. Highly recommended. See quick post.
Lauren Weisberger: The Devil Wears Prada
A solid work of chick lit and good lesson for any recent college grad. See my brief review.
David McCullough: John Adams
Wonderful look at this fascinating man. See my brief review.
Neil Strauss: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
Fascinating and provocative book inside a world I didn’t know existed. Here’s my review.
Gene O’Kelly: Chasing Daylight
Truly extraordinary. A must-read. See my review.
Walter Isaacson: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
A fantastic biography of one of history’s most extraordinary people. See my review / notes
David McCullough: 1776
Awesome telling of that fateful year – my review.
Marci Alboher: One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success
A good guide to building a customized career around the "slash". See my brief review.
Jeremy Blachman: Anonymous Lawyer: A Novel
Hilarious satire of a big L.A. law firm written in the form of blog entries. Must read for anyone in a law firm or considering that path.
Geeta Anand: The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million–And Bucked the Medical Establishment–In a Quest to Save His Children
Inspiring book about how far a parent will go to save his children. See my post.
David Shenk: The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain
An awesome book on chess — some history, some strategy, and some humor too. My brief review.
Ian Mcewan: Saturday
An excellent novel by one of Britain’s leading writers. See my short review.
4 comments on “Looking Back at 2007 Reading”
This is my new favorite quote of the year so far.
By the way, out of curiosity, are you in the camp that tracks books read using an online service or are you a pen and journal man?
Ben (or anyone else),
What’s your strategy on re-reading? I have an army of books I’d like to get go, but re-reading isn’t at all a part of my reading plan. Any pointers?
Cal – I ought to use Shelfari or something, but for now I just use TypePad’s “Typelists” to enter my books in. I’ll probably try to migrate to a better online service.
Tom – I, too, have books I want to re-read. But I often find a new, unopened book more enticing. Grr. When I do re-read, I try to make it a “read closely and take lots of notes” session. If it’s worth your time for a second go-around, it’s probably worth taking notes on.
Ben, thanks for putting together this list. I reread a couple of your reviews and have added several of these to my reading list.