Thursday, January 04, 2007

Best Books I Read Last Year

Best Books I Read Last Year

Best 21 Books I Read in 2006This year I ploughed my way through 51 books, fiction and non. Here are the 21 that really stood out for me.

1. The Leaving, by Budge Wilson – simple, moving stories of female adolescence in Nova Scotia
2. Bound for Glory, by Woody Guthrie – at least as good on the second reading, lives up to the billing as a book to make novelists and sociologists jealous
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Housseini – beautiful tragedy of boyhood in Afghanistan
4. Shalimar the Clown, by Salman Rushdie – the genius of Rushdie scores again
5. The Fugitive, by Pram Toer – beautiful prose copies the structure of a shadow puppet play
6. Child of All Nations, by Pram Toer – the second of the Buru Quartet of novels, told orally in prison and later written down, details of the political maturation of Indonesia’s first great newspaper editor
7. When Your Voice Tastes Like Home: Immigrant Women Write, by various authors – many heartrending stories in the this collection, most of them non-fiction
8. A Short History of Indians in Canada, by Thomas King – biting satire that haunts your psyche and speaks volumes of truth
9. Flying in Silence, by Gerry Turcotte – moving coming of age story set in a household where the mother speaks only English and the father only French, came out in late 90s and sold about seven copies
10. Disability, by Cris Mazza – experimental novel about life and work in a home for the disabled, very moving and also mind-bending
11. Race Against Time, by Stephen Lewis – sure, he’s a rich white guy, but he’s got lots of experience and many interesting things to say about Africa, and he has used his privilege to do good things
12. Professionalism and Social Change: From the Settlement House Movement to Neighbourhood Centres, 1886-1986, by Judith Ann Trolander – sounds exciting no? Not even a great piece of analysis but just so interesting to learn about the changes in attitudes and approaches to anti-poverty work
13. Conscience for Change, by Martin Luther King Jr. – very inspiring, very truthful words that seem to have been ahead of their time; the kind of words that got him murdered
14. Great Soviet Short Stories, various authors – I love Russian writers, they are so bleak and so abstract, great stories of struggle and disillusionment, and of trying to make ideology a lived reality
15. Lonely Planet Guide to Mongolia – I read the whole guide and learned so much about a place I knew nothing about, while at the same time learning about it by travelling around it
16. Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village, by William Hinton – this book is a tomb that fascinates in its pure detail, a step by step review of what happened to one small village in northeast China from 1945 into the 50s
17. Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages, by Mark Abley – had its weaknesses but gave some very solid insights into how English is taking over the world, and what is being lost in that process
18. The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World, by Hugh Brody – probably the book that influenced me most this year, a brilliant look at life among some of the remaining hunter-gatherers on the planet, and what the loss off their way of life could mean for humanity
19. A Study of Child Domestic Work and Fosterage in Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana, by Nana Araba Apt – this actually wasn’t the best academic study you could find, but it was my first exposure to on-the-ground social issues here in Ghana, by Ghanaians, and I learned so much from it
20. The Girl Who Can and Other Stories, by Ama Ata Aidoo – incredible writing by a great Ghanaian talent, moving and poetic
21. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah – depressing, bleak, honest and beautiful, all about filth and corruption and its resultant disillusion, set in 1960s Ghana


Impressive list of books - I am currently reading one I got for Christmas - Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (same author as Divinci Code)

kevin was reading divinci code when we were in japan and i gather he wasn't a fan. is the one you're reading good?
I am slowly reading Angels and Demons and folks at work say it is better than DiVinci Code. The book I have has illustrations and photos in it, so I can see what they are talking about. You will see when you get back - also saving other books for you - Zula by Tony Morrison and Exodus by Leon Urus.
love toni morrison and i think you mentioned exodus, which i'm quite looking forward to.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?