In 2008, influenced by the enablers on LibraryThing.com, I started keeping track of the books I read. That year I was working to finish my degree and read 26 books, 14 of them were for two upper level classes. You could argue that two of the title I have listed shouldn’t count. Fahrenheit 451 was a re-read. I hated it in high school and I hated it, maybe a little less but I still hated it, forty years later. Una mujer en la obscuridad, a Spanish language version of Dashiel Hammet’s “Woman in the Dark” was a desperate attempt on my part to gain some mastery in the foreign language I needed for a degree. I failed at it completely, even after wearing out a Vox Spanish-English dictionary I can’t tell you the plot of the book.
In 2010 I read 31 books, then 30 in 2011, and 50 (!) in 2012. 2012 started with a trip to England that got me off to a great start. This year I managed to read only 28. For the fourth year is a row there is no fiction in the list. I can’t name a best, I just can’t settle on the what that means but here are a few I can descriptors I can decide on.
The oddest book I read the year was “The bald-headed hermit and the artichoke : an erotic thesaurus” If you want to say or write something bawdy and just don’t have the right word, well, it is in here.
The most depressing book was “Medical apartheid : the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present.”
The most inspiring book this year was “Vanished : the sixty-year search for the missing men of World War II” . It is sad and at times brutal but the devotion you will find here is truly inspirational.
The best blend of science and history “Bones in the basement : postmortem racism in nineteenth-century medical training”. Using modern forensics to examine remains found buried in the basement of an 19th century medical school sounds like an invitation to use a myriad of polysyllabic words. There are some in here but only when necessary. This is an amazingly readable book on what could be a very technical topic.
The biggest disappointment had to be “ Lotions, potions, and deadly elixirs : frontier medicine in the American West” I wanted a serious book about 19th century medicines, although the information seems to be accurate the book is anything but serious.
Here is the full list in order they were read.
1. Washington, Harriet. Medical apartheid : the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present. New York: Doubleday, 2006.
2. Bingham, Howard. Muhammad Ali’s greatest fight : Cassius Clay vs. the United States of America.”Landham, Md: M. Evans, 2013.
3. Shultz, Suzanne. Body snatching : the robbing of graves for the education of physicians in early nineteenth century America. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2005.
4. Gantz, Carroll. The vacuum cleaner : a history. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2012.
5. Carson, Clayborne. Martin’s dream : my journey and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. : a memoir. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
6. Wells, Ida B. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases, Project Gutenberg, 1892
7. Wells, Ida B. The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States . Project Gutenberg. 1895
8. Bethard, Wayne. Lotions, potions, and deadly elixirs : frontier medicine in the American West. Lanham, Md: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 2013.
9. Flexner, James T. Doctors on horseback pioneers of American medicine. New York: Fordham University Press, 1992. (1937)
10. Savitt, Todd L. Medicine and slavery : the diseases and health care of Blacks in antebellum Virginia. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.
11. Peterkin, Allan D. The bald-headed hermit and the artichoke : an erotic thesaurus. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999.
12. Williams, Joseph M. Style : the basics of clarity and grace. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009.
13. Bailyn, Bernard, and Edward C. Lathem. On the teaching and writing of history : responses to a series of questions. Hanover, N.H: Montgomery Endowment, Dartmouth College, 1994.
14. Covach, John R. What’s that sound? : an introduction to rock and its history. New York, N.Y: W.W. Norton, 2009.
15. Gilderhus, Mark T. History and historians : a historiographical introduction. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall, 2010.
16. Liell, Scott. 46 pages : Thomas Paine, Common sense, and the turning point to American independence. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2003.
17. Cozzone, Chris. Boxing in New Mexico, 1868-1940. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2013.
18. Hornblum, Allen M., Judith L. Newman, and Gregory J. Dober. Against their will : the secret history of medical experimentation on children in cold war America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
19. Bacevich, Andrew J. Breach of trust : how Americans failed their soldiers and their country. New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2013.
20. Wiener, Jon. Historians in trouble : plagiarism, fraud, and politics in the ivory tower. New York: New Press Distributed by W.W. Norton, 2005.
21. Brundage, Anthony. Going to the sources : a guide to historical research and writing. Wheeling, Ill: Harlan Davidson, 2008.
22. Blakely, Robert L., and Judith M. Harrington. Bones in the basement : postmortem racism in nineteenth-century medical training. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.
23. Gross, Samuel. A discourse on the life, character, and services of Daniel Drake, M.D delivered, by request, before the faculty and medical students of the University of Louisville, January 27, 1853. Office of the Louisville Journal. 1853.
24. Friedman, David M. A mind of its own : a cultural history of the penis. New York: Free Press, 2001.
25. Hylton, Wil S. Vanished : the sixty-year search for the missing men of World War II. New York, New York: Riverhead Books. 2013
26. DiCarlo, Christopher. How to become a really good pain in the ass : a critical thinker’s guide to asking the right questions. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2011.
27. Huffaker, Robert, et al. When the news went live : Dallas 1963. Lanham: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2013.
28. Gottschalk, Peter. American heretics : Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the history of religious intolerance. New York City: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.