2014: The Year in Pages

All seven thousand, seven hundred and forty-five of them; the first five reviewed here.

6. The Outsiders by Colin Wilson
One of my dad’s favorite reads. A story about diving into the depths of the mind and finding such awesome things there that ordinary life loses its lustre.

7. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
I borrowed this book from Spine and Sport when I couldn’t put it down from the chapter I read while in the massage chair. It’s a woman’s story about her life, and all the shit that happens in it, but the point of it is to find the good in the poor decisions you and others make that affect your life, and hopefully learn from them sooner than she did. 

photo from weknowawesome.com via IMGUR

8. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
I found this book in a flea market and had to pick it up. I remember reading it non-stop as a pre-teen and was anxious to see if it still held the same value. It only takes place over seven years of the protagonist’s life, but it sums up a lifetime of perspective. Life is what we make of it – who we choose to keep in our lives and how we handle the ones that leave.

9. Emil and The Detectives by Erich Kastner
A childhood favorite from Caroline. Moral of the story – Money should always be sent by money order. It’s cute from a guilty kids point of view.

10. Germania: In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History by Simon Winder
Another loan from Caroline. A book about the disaster that was Germany through the 15th-20th centuries with great reading and travel recommendations. The author ends the book in 1933 before the terrible disaster that lay ahead. 

photo from Monica Berg at rethinklife.today

11. The Art of Talk by Art Bell
I like his writing style. I enjoyed reading about his life, but as much as I like spotting aliens in the California desert, I’m just not fond of reading about him talking about them. It would’ve been a more interesting read had I listened to his show (off air in 2008).

12. Many Lives, Many Loves by Gina Cerminara
I got this book from the campus library. The author tries to convince the reader about the different positive aspects of reincarnation, clairvoyance, and psychology. The author’s best point is the importance of communication.

photo from 1hdwallpapers.com

photo from 1hdwallpapers.com

13. Sailing the Pink Sea by Debbie Huntsman
I never thought I’d want to read a book about cancer. It seems as boring as watching golf on TV, but this book opened my eyes to the struggle to maintain life through chemotherapy, depression, and pity. I enjoyed the author’s honesty, though I’m sure the reader has it easier than her husband did some days – and he still loves her.

14. Seven Experiments that Could Change the World by Rupert Sheldrake
Can dogs tell when their owners are coming home? Is gravity pulling on us with a consistent force? These are some of the questions the author wants us to contemplate as he explores the powers of the mind and the constants in nature. 

photo from masterandmargarita.eu

photo from masterandmargarita.eu

15. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
There were references I didn’t catch until I read the commentary and afterword. An honest book of the times, disguised as dreams, and a religious book with the characters in different stories – two thousand years ago written about in a current novel and the hero released by the author in the end.

16. Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Leyner and Goldberg
I learned that human brains can cause mad cow disease, that there are different sweat glands in your armpits that cause stains, that it’s more sanitary to be peed than spit on, and that more than half the US population has hemorrhoids by age 50.

17. The Seven Secrets by John Hagee
It’s a religious book and a positive read. There’s a lot of repeated passages on how to live a successful life. My favorite is “attitude of gratitude.” You are what you say and do. Be persistent in all things and you can do anything.

photo from resperate.com

photo from resperate.com

18. Cooking for Health: Stress and Hypertension by Aveline Kushi
Wooden bowls and lettuce, yes please. More fish and soy sauce, perhaps not, though I would like to try more sea vegetables and foods foreign to me. 

19. ‘Tis by Frank McCourt
Watching the sequel to a movie can be disappointing; reading this sequel was just depressing. The poor boy makes it to America only to become a poor man living on the pint – did he learn nothing from his childhood? I do like how he came into his own as a teacher and made a reputation for himself and inspired kids to be interested in learning.

photo from girlfriendology.com

photo from girlfriendology.com

20. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The author has an alcoholic father who smoked four packs a day and a mother that would sneak chocolate while her children starved. If you think your childhood sucked, or know someone’s that did, then this is the book for you. 

21. Quran: A Short Journey by One Reason
A gift from the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. An intro to the 604 page version. It talks about equality, diversity, and being steadfast. It says to be nice to everyone but kill those who fight you over your faith, move you from your home, commit murder, or spread corruption. It’s a thick book on everything you can and can’t do with wide interpretations – because God forgives all.

photo from itworld.com

photo from itworld.com

22. The Man in the Red Underpants by A.R. Green
It discusses away all reasons for believing in other religions – the books aren’t as fact worthy, not as old, not full of as many facts. It tells you that the Big Bang Theory doesn’t make sense, because there is no way that all this order came from so much chaos.  It says that the Quran teaches – be nice, pray, pass the test that is life, give charity, and don’t lie.

23. Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
Caleb got this from a friend at work, so I read it aloud to him. I like the wording and enjoyed the different points of view as men wait to help a woman set a sex record. I could smell the sweat in the room as I read.

24. Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander Von H. and the Latin American Journey that Changed the Way we See the World by Gerard Helferich
Alexander was a great man for science, his time, and the world. He documented heights, locations, stars, animals, politics, habits of locals, and brought you on his difficult journey met with disappointment and mosquitoes. He had more determination in his old age than most have in a lifetime. Humboldt was a great influence on other scholars and of place names in recognition of his greatness.

photo from bbc.co.uk

photo from bbc.co.uk

25. Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of WWII by Ben Macintyre
The Allies put a lot of work into deceiving the Axis powers. I didn’t know this side of the war. I thought it was just fought brutally in nice weather and waited out during winter and ration shortages. Is this where a lot of military tax dollars still go today, to making a lonely dead guy into a decorated officer with a history that saved thousands of friendly and enemy lives by what he carried in a briefcase?

26. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Laugh out loud reading. He loved his boyfriend even though he walked so damn fast and he spent three months in Japan to quit smoking after 20 years. Life is definitely about perspective and possibilities.

27. Antebellum by R. Kayeen Thomas
It’s about a rapper that goes blindly through life until he’s shot, and sent back in time, to have an epiphany about his ancestors and change his outlook on life. He might not have gone the right way about hating the white man, but his message of loving who he is and bettering it, not covering it in chains and slang terms, is one I think many still need to learn. It’s important to know where you came from so you’re more prepared for where you’re going. But that still doesn’t give you permission to be a racist.

photo by dontfreaknow

photo by dontfreaknow

28. Looking for Alaska by John Green
A book loan from Priya, who got it from her daughter. It’s about taking chances, leaving mysteries, and learning to love after a great loss. The kids make time to break rules and cause havoc because, “No one should take life so seriously, no one gets out alive.” I’m sure those would be some famous last words, something quoted often in the story.

29. The Qur’an and Modern Science by Dr. Zakir Naik
A book comparing Qur’an verses with modern science. It makes a reference to the planet’s rotation, the honey of bees, the pairing of fruit, how ants are closest to people in lifestyle (burying the dead and meeting for conversation), and how the embryo looks like a leech. What surprised me most was the depth it went into describing sperm. And it made me question why we have fingerprints. I think some of the scripture was stretched to fit opinion, but I suppose that’s a matter of perspective.

30. The Scarlet Plague by Jack London
A short story about a world where the humans that have survived the disease of 2012 have turned into savages 60 years later. The book revolves around grandpa telling his grandsons how things used to be and how fast the disease spread and what he did to escape it while in the San Francisco area.

I also read 600 pages of A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford
I didn’t know the characters at the beginning, but I was laughing and crying with them in the end. It’s a tale of a woman who struggled through loss as a child and used it to gain so much more for her grandchildren.

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