How many books this year? Over sixty. I’m impressed with this number, though not exactly with my reading capabilities, for the following reasons:
- The bulk of those books (roughly 40 of them) came from the spring when I had no friends or social life.
- The reading slowed to a near-stop as school started and I had six AP classes and college applications to contend with instead.
Yet overall, the books I’ve read this year have been fantastic. And so I have the inclination to split the year into four and give each a representative title.
WINTER – January through March
Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families
Recommended by Oren.
“We are, each of us, functions of how we imagine ourselves and of how others imagine us, and, looking back, there are these discrete tracks of memory: the times when our lives are most sharply defined by others’ ideas of us, and the more private times when we are freer to imagine ourselves.”
SPRING – April through June
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
Gifted from NZ.
“Konstantin Levin regarded his brother as a man of great intelligence and education, noble in the highest sense of the word, and endowed with the ability to act for the common good. But, in the depths of his soul, the older he became and the more closely he got to know his brother, the more often it occurred to him that this ability to act for the common good, of which he felt completely deprived, was perhaps not a virtue but, on the contrary, a lack of something – not a lack of good, honest and noble desires and tastes, but a lack of life force, of what is known as heart, of that yearning which makes a man choose one out of all the countless paths in life presented to him and desire that alone.”
SUMMER – July through September
Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
From Vela’s The Unlisted List.
“There aren’t enough doctors in Africa. Those who choose to become doctors here don’t do it for the money or because they want to do good. They do it because they have to heal, the way most people need to breathe or eat or love. They can’t stop. As long as they are alive, they will never not be a doctor.”
FALL – October through December
Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Laws of Medicine
“I had never expected medicine to be such a lawless, uncertain world. I wondered if the compulsive naming of parts, diseases, and chemical reactions – frenulum, otitis, glycolysis – was a mechanism invented by doctors to defend themselves against a largely unknowable sphere of knowledge. The profusion of facts obscured a deeper and more significant problem: the reconciliation between knowledge (certain, fixed, perfect, concrete) and clinical wisdom (uncertain, fluid, imperfect, abstract).”