Friday, January 01, 2021

Books Read in 2019/2020

So I gave up blogging, I guess. I didn't intentionally choose to, but social media is so much more interactive and short form! I post pretty regularly on Facebook these days. If you're interested in friending me there, send me an email (see sidebar).

But I do like tallying up my list of books read at the end of the year. I had to skip my year-end book list last year, though, due to the full-time teaching job I was trying to wing my way though--teaching middle school choir, of all things. It took so much time and energy trying to keep up and learn a whole new area to teach; I just had to say no to so many other things. But I was able to squeeze in lots of listening in the car, in the bathroom, in the kitchen.... I love audiobooks because they allow me to get other things done at the same time!

Most of the books on my list are audiobooks because--yay!--"history" on Overdrive and Hoopla. I'll glance over my shelves and see if I can recall what actual books I read too. I might have to include plays this time, since I just finished up a couple of theater classes I'm taking in order to add a theater license to my teaching license. But here goes!

All the audiobooks I've listened to since I last tallied up at the end of 2018, with a just a few *starred that I found extra-special for some reason:

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts (Therese Ann Fowler)
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Therese Ann Fowler)

Then She was Gone (Lisa Jewell)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins)

*Tattoos on the Heart:  The Power of Boundless Compassion (Father Gregory Boyle) True stories about his work among gang members in LA.

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) (Jerome K. Jerome)

Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)

*The Painted Girls (Cathy Marie Buchanan) Imaginative historical fiction about the ballerina who posed for Edgar Degas' statue "Little Dancer."

Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto (Mitch Albom)

The House We Grew Up In (Lisa Jewell)

Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi)

The Paris Wife (Paula McLain) About Earnest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris)

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom)

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) [Obscenity warning; this one was really bad, especially for an audiobook.]

The Two Gentleman of Verona (William Shakespeare)

Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens)

At the Water's Edge (Sara Gruen)

This is How It Always Is (Laurie Frankel)

*The Year of Less:  How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, And Discovered Life Is Worth More (Cait Flanders) 

The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides)

*The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown)

*The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)

*The Eyes of the Dragon (Stephen King) An epic fairy tale for grown-ups.

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

*Absent in the Spring (Agatha Christie) A very unusual Christie novel because it's not a mystery. This is more of a psychological study of self-deception and honesty. If you are a middle-aged woman with grown children, this book hits pretty hard, but not in a hurtful way. She is an amazing writer.

The Gunslinger (Stephen King)

The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

*Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow) 
I found it fascinating how similar the political scene was back in Hamilton's day--it was bitterly, wickedly divisive. Also there was an epidemic of yellow fever that created similar dynamics in society to our current pandemic. The story of Hamilton's life is absolutely fascinating. You can see why this book inspired Lin Manuel-Miranda to write the musical.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz (Erik Larson)
I was listening to how Londoners went to bed at night not knowing if their building would be bombed while they the same time as riots and demonstrations were breaking out nightly in Kenosha, creating similar uncertainties (of a much smaller magnitude, granted) among our network of fellow Kenoshans.

The Stand (Stephen King) This was a pretty amazingly epic story (not horror), but it's definitely rated R for obscenity and a couple graphic situations.

The Glass Hotel (Emily St. John Mandel)

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion (Fannie Flagg) [based on World War 2 phenomenon]

*American Like Me (America Ferrera) Short stories by people of color about their experiences growing up in American culture. 

The Odd Couple (Neil Simon)

Beloved (Toni Morrison)

Hidden Figures (Margot Lee Shetterly)

Glass Houses (Louise Penny)

*Lilac Girls (Martha Hall Kelly)

*My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Stephanie Dray)

*The Language of Flowers (Vanessa Diffenbaugh) So much to love about this one.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo)

Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)

The Baker Street Letters (Michael Robertson)
The Brothers of Baker Street (Michael Robertson)
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (various authors, short stories)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
A Study in Scarlet (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
The Sign of Four (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes' Rediscovered Railway Mysteries (John Taylor)

*Flavia DeLuce Mysteries (Alan Bradley):   [England] [first book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place
The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Maisie Dobbs Mysteries (Jacqueline Winspear):  [World War 2]
Maisie Dobbs
Birds of a Feather
Pardonable Lies
Messenger of Truth
An Incomplete Revenge
Among the Mad
The Mapping of Love and Death
A Lesson in Secrets
Elegy for Eddie
Leaving Everything Most Loved
A Dangerous Place
Journey to Munich
In This Grave Hour

Alafair Tucker Mysteries (Donis Casey):  [Oklahoma]
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming
The Drop Edge of Yonder
The Sky Took Him
Crying Blood
The Wrong Hill to Die On
Hell with the Lid Blown Off

Bess Crawford Mysteries (Charles Todd):  [World War 2]
An Impartial Witness
A Bitter Truth
An Unmarked Grave
A Question of Honor
An Unwilling Accomplice
A Pattern of Lies
The Shattered Tree
A Casualty of War
A Forgotten Place
An Unwilling Accomplice

Kurt Wallendar Mysteries (Henning Mankell):  [Sweden]
Faceless Killers
The Dogs of Riga
The White LionessfThe Man Who Smiled
The Fifth Woman
One Step Behind
The Pyramid
Before the Frost

St. Just Mysteries (G.M. Malliet)
Death of a Cozy Writer
Death and the Lit Chick
Death at the Alma Mater

Max Tudor Mysteries (G.M. Malliet)
Wicked Autumn
A Fatal Winter
Pagan Spring
A Demon Summer
The Haunted Season
Devil's Breath
In Prior's Wood

Glass and Steele series (C.J. Archer):  [Victorian England]
The Watchmaker's Daughter 
The Mapmaker's Apprentice
The Apothecary's Poison
The Magician's Diary

Freak House trilogy (C.J. Archer):
The Wrong Girl
Playing with Fire
Heart Burn

Books I actually held in my hands and read to myself:

Backwards and Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays (David Ball)
Script Analysis for Actors, Directors and Designers (James Thomas)
An Actor Prepares (Constantin Stanislavski)
Acting:  The First Six Lessons (Boleslavsky)
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott)
Hum If You Don't Know the Words (Bianca Marais)
Facing Covid Without Panic: 12 Common Myths and 12 Lesser Known Fact about the Pandemic Clearly Explained by an Epidemiologist (Daniel T. Halperin) [required reading for our diocese]
Most of:
Jesus Calling (Sarah Young)
Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples (Hendrix)
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Cron & Stabile)
Lots of:
The Bible

Plays I read or watched (-) for classes; wrote accompanying papers for all!:

True West (Sam Shepard)
Fences (August Wilson)
Trifles (Susan Glaspell)
The Humans (Stephen Karam)
Disgraced (Ayad Akhtar)
Ruined (Lynn Nottage)
Top Girls (Caryl Churchill)
Eurydice (Sarah Ruhl)
Dumb Waiter (Harold Pinter)
-Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
-Stupid F*ing Bird (Aaron Posner) (adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull)
-Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (comedy for 3 actors by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield)

Plays I read not for class:

The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde) [actually directed this one in spring 2019!]
She Stoops to Conquer
A Christmas Story [performed in this one as Mother]

Watched these productions online this spring (the equivalent of an audiobook for a play, right?):

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare) (PBS Great Performances)
Present Laughter (Noel Coward) (PBS Great Performances)
The King and I (PBS Great Performances)
She Loves Me (PBS Great Performances)
One Man, Two Guv'nors (PBS Great Performances)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams) (National Theater At Home)
Frankenstein (National Theater At Home)
Coriolanus (Shakespeare) (National Theater At Home)
Les Blancs (National Theater At Home)
The Deep Blue Sea (National Theater At Home)
Small Island (National Theater At Home)
Amadeus (National Theater At Home)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare) (National Theater At Home)
Barbershop Chronicles (National Theater At Home)
Phantom of the Opera (The Shows Must Go On)
Love Never Dies (The Shows Must Go On)
Hairspray (The Shows Must Go On)
Peter Pan (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

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