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Books I Read in 2012

January, 2012
Man with a Pan ed. John Donohue
    Delicious, inspirational book. Collection of fun stories and recipes by men writers who cook for their families. Do men who cook have more and better sex?
This Side of Brightness Colum McCann
    Gripping, heart wrenching story of the New York subway tunnels: the men who dug them and the people who live in them today.
Autobiography of a Yogi Paramahansa Yogananada
    Incredible stuff.
February, 2012
The Tiger's Wife Tea Obreht
    Wonderful story from great new talent. 2011 Orange Prize winning first novel. Woven with great loving care and a tantalizing pinch of fantasy. A girl and her grandfather.
Buy High Sell Higher Joe Terranova
    Respected professional investor and TV Fast Money panelist shares his successful experience.
The Buddha in the Attic Julie Otsuka
    We learn the story of our Japanese immigrants in the first half of last century. And we make the unusual first person plural work so well that we become them.
If I Have to Tell You One More Time... Amy McCready March, 2012
A Good Fall Ha Jin
    Collection of very good stories about Chinese immigrant troubles and transitions in America.
The Red Convertible, Collected and New Stories, 1978-2008 Louise Erdrich
    Very nice collection of super stories. Naked Woman Playing Chopin. Beauty Stolen from Another World.
Stone Arabia Dana Spiotta
    Beautifully told. 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Feels at least as good as her earlier Eat the Document.
Open City Teju Cole
    Interesting first novel. Philosophical observations of a knowledgeable new psychiatrist wandering Brussels briefly but mainly Manhattan. "The racist structure of this country is crazy-making."
The Line of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst
    Exquisite, sensitive, satirical study of the English upper class in the 1980s told especially through the eyes of a gay, young Oxford grad. Man Booker Prize Winner 2004.
April, 2012
The Sense of an Ending Julian Barnes
    Spell-binding page turner. 2011 Man Booker Prize winner.
Lightning Fields Dana Spiotta
    Super first novel (2001). Likable, troubled LA ladies working, loving and searching for something uncertain.
State of Wonder Ann Platchett
    Quite an adventure.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Katherine Boo
    Super first book. Awesome piece of narrative journalism, an in-depth investigative report of the struggle to survive and the hope to do the impossible: live a decent life in a Mumbai slum. Katherine Boo speaks significant truths. Must read for anyone who wants to know India.
Lord of Misrule Jaimy Gordon
    Gordon is an artist who takes us all around and inside the souls of several unique but totally real characters who chance to find themselves involved together at a low-stakes horse racing track near the Ohio-West Virginia border. Money, sex and violence of course, but also magic, love, insanity, risk and luck. A clear winner.
Mathilda Savitch Victor Lodato
    Solid first novel from award-winning playwright. Young adolescent Mathilda struggles to define herself one year after her older sister's suicide.
The Vagrants Yiyun Li
    Trying to live an honorable life or just trying to survive under Communist oppression in the little town of Muddy River, China, in 1979, after the gruesome execution of a young woman protester.
May, 2012
Arthur and George Julian Barnes
    Very good stuff. Intersecting stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a little known George. A life-saving intersection for both.
Together With Montessori Cam Gordon
    Good presentation and explanation of the principles and practice of the Montessori method.
Binocular Vision Edith Pearlman
    Wow! Awesome collection of beautiful stories that fit together like stepping stones on an irresistible path. Pearlman is absolutely brilliant.
Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius Angeline Stoll Lillard Bring Up The Bodies Hilary Mantel
    Mantel was just warming up when she wrote Wolf Hall, the Man Booker Prize winning prequel to this irresistible page-turner! Gripping portrayal of the downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn through the eyes of King Henry VIII's right-hand man, Secretary Thomas Cromwell.
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life George Eliot
    Classic tale of the lives and loves of citizens of an English municipality circa 1830.
June, 2012
Home Toni Morrison
    Short but very sweet and moving.
Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It Maile Meloy
    Nice collection of fine, modern, perceptive stories.
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
    Super no-let-up adventure, introducing the unforgettable teen heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Couldn't put it down.
Fast and Furious, Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up Katie Pavlich
    Fine piece of well-documented, convincing, investigative journalism. What Obama and his administrative team have done and continue to cover up is shocking and appalling!
Catching Fire Suzanne Collins
    Part two of the continuing adventures of Katniss Everdeen, bold new YA fiction heroine.
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins
    Fine and fitting finale to the trilogy.
July, 2012
Unintended Consequences, Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong Edward Conard
    Some excellent points, sometimes obfuscated by Conard's academic economy-speak. Talk plain, man! We all need to understand why investing in risky innovation clearly has been and should continue to be the key to our economic superiority. That Obama and his filibuster-proof congressional majority are moving us in the wrong direction! "Commerce is the salvation of the poor, not charity. Successful risk takers put Americans, immigrants and off-shore workers to work, not government handouts."
Montessori from the Start, The Child at Home from Birth to Age Three Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen
    How to apply Montessori principles to our youngest.
August, 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey E.L. James
    Yea, I know, but I just had to check out the book that outsold the Bible and Harry Potter! I'd give it a solid 2 out of 10. Made me feel a bit of a voyeur. Would say don't waste your time, but I know most of you have already read it.
The Invisible Man H.G. Wells
    Classic tale. Would it be advantageous or terrible to be invisible?
Tinkers Paul Harding
    Fathers and sons. Coming and going. Living and dying. Sensitive, ethereal, poetic.
September, 2012
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
    The amazing Chabon has constructed a merciless masterpiece. A celebration of the golden age of comics shared by two irresistibly attractive artist sidekicks. Even after turning over 600 pages, you just don't want this story to end. And it doesn't.
The Wonder Boys Michael Chabon
    Entertaining, hilarious page-turner.
The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table Tracie McMillan
    Fine piece of investigative journalism. Engaging, inside study of how our food system really works. We have room for improvement.
October, 2012
San Miguel T.C. Boyle
    Masterfully told story of two families who, in turn, were the sole residents of the island of San Miguel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another unforgettable gem from one of our greatest writers.
One Shot Lee Child
    Gripping page-turner. Detective story. Violent.
The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever Pierre Dukan
    Effective, high protein, low carb diet variant.
The Sea John Banville
    Eloquent, disarmingly plangent gem of a tale. Man Booker Prize winner. "There are moments when the past has a force so strong it seems one might be annihilated by it."
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas Seymour Papert
    Started the computer revolution in schools in the 1980s. Done right, learning to program computers can help children enjoy learning how to think about thinking!
Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Minds, What You and Your School Can Do for Your Gifted Child Jan and Bob Davidson
    Grouping children by age is arbitrary and often inappropriate, especially for our gifted children. Let's group by ability! Gifted children do BETTER when grouped together with others more closely matching their ability level, no matter that these are often older children or even college level young adults. More at GeniusDenied.com. See also The Davidson Institute.
November, 2012
The Infinities John Banville
    More good story telling. With a sense of humor.
Ancient Light John Banville
    Banville is a storyteller of ineffable poetic elegance.
Fate is the Hunter Ernest K. Gann
    Gripping read, especially for another pilot. Gann artfully describes his experiences as a commercial pilot during aviation's learning years, the 1930's - 1950's, when survival seemed to depend less on skill and knowledge than on luck.
December, 2012
Keys to Parenting the Gifted Child, 3rd Edition Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D.
    Good thinking. Good read. 42 Keys.
This is How You Lose Her Junot Diaz
    Super good stuff, Senor Diaz. Keep it coming, man.
Some of My Best Friends Are Books, Guiding Gifted Readers From Preschool to High School, 3rd Edition (2009) Judith Wynn Halsted
    Best of breed! How to use books to help gifted kids meet their emotional and intellectual needs. Great annotated bibliography of recommended books.
Gentlemen of the Road Michael Chabon
    Great fun read! Wonderful non-stop adventure story. Midieval Mideast. Super characters. Loved the luscious language. Includes a delightful Afterword. (First intended title was "Jews with Swords"!)

Greg Gordon MD, CFII