Posts Tagged: Mark Miodownik

The Secret Life of Book Lists

My list of books read in 2015, with a line or three about each. And even more briefly, here are my ten best for the year, which I added to my LibraryThing archive:

    • Bright Morning, by Margery Williams Bianco. Her 1939 YA Other People’s Houses was also good.
    • Kiss the Girl, by Melissa Brayden. Also enjoyed Waiting in the Wings and Just Three Words, and successfully poked the library to acquire the next one.
    • Landing, by Emma Donoghue. Audiobook.
    • Earth Girl, Earth Star, and Earth Flight, by Janet Edwards.
    • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler. Audiobook.
    • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. (Sadly, the sequel had only a fraction of its charm.)
    • Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain, by Hilary McKay. I’ve read them all (I think), but this one was special because of the community organizing!
    • Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik. Nonfiction (materials science).
    • The Turtle of Oman, by Naomi Shihab Nye.
    • The Martian, by Andy Weir.

I read an interview with Meryl Streep once– I think maybe it was a Bob Greene column?– in which she said all her movies were secretly home movies. She’d watch a scene from Kramer v. Kramer and remember what her kid was up to that week, or who she’d been hanging out with, and all the things that were going on when the scene was filmed.

My book lists are like that for me. I’ll look at So You Want to Be a Wizard and remember how excited KP was to hear I was reading it, and how she visited Portland later in the year and presented me with the sequels after one of her many trips to Powell’s Books. And how Sanguinity and I went up to Olympia to dogsit for Sara and crew, and they had a copy on their shelves, so I was reading it in the backyard while Sang designated the dogs Horrible Thing One…

Sanguinity pointing at Molly

and Horrible Thing Two…

Sanguinity pointing at Beezy

and gave them stern looks…

Sanguinity considering Molly

…that didn’t fool them one bit.

Sanguinity kissing a happy Molly's head

 

Or how I read Gone Crazy in Alabama in Wyoming, decompressing on a sunny morning at my friend Jenny’s house after she left for work.

Some books have webs of people associated with them– I decided to read The Martian because every single member of the Maki family liked it, and then my co-worker lent me a copy from the first meeting of her new book club, and then I gave a copy to my father-in-law that he binge-read even though he hardly ever reads fiction.

Then there are all the online discussions like the one about The Hired Girland audiobooks whose performances and the setting I heard them in are inextricable from the text. (Tiny Pretty Things while striding home in the dark amidst headlights and big trees and rain!)

It’s impossible to know all that’s coded into anyone’s book list but my own, but I still like reading other people’s. Here’s hoping for rich secret home movies for us all in 2016.

 

Wednesday reading post

Just finished: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King. I liked it more than any of hers since Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Yes, the future that Glory sees is implausible in its facts, and yes, I do think the book partakes in the character’s slut-shaming, or at least doesn’t counter-write it. But the questions about friendship and how to cope when your vision of the world isn’t shared by anyone else redeem it for me.

Just started: Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World, by Mark Miodownik. Going to get educated on some materials science at $0.25 a day until I can turn this overdue book back in! Started with a great origin story of being stabbed on the subway as an adolescent and becoming obsessed with steel as he examined the weapon at the police station.

Bedside book: Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. …Again. I finished it and turned right to the beginning again. At least in ten-minute installments, it never seems to get stale.

Bathroom book: Syllabus, by Lynda Barry. Induced me to seek out Staedtler non-photo blue pencils, and I have never bothered to pencil before inking drawings or comics before.

I just found my bookmark for making wordcount progress bars, so here’s Biosquid‘s current stats:

3912 / 50000 (7.82%)