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Book 7: Velocity

Dean Koontz is about the only horror author that I read. Although his books are utterly terrifying, they are not cynical or devoid of human goodness and beauty. In Velocity, Koontz’s protagonist is put in the harrowing position of having to make choices about who lives and who dies. Throughout this trial, he is simultaneously caring for and trying to protect his financee, who has been in a coma for several years.

The last line is a perfect example of Koontz’s ultimate idealism and hope: “What will happen will happen. There is time for miracles until there is no more time, but time has no end.”


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Book 6: One for the Money

I read One for the Money because I know a lot of people really love Janet Evanovich, and I’m so far behind in my reading goal that I needed some quick reads. To be honest, I wasn’t that enthralled. I found the main character annoying, a lot of really icky characters and situations, and the whole scenario (ex-lingerie-shop-girl turns tough-as-nails bounty hunter) completely implausible. It’s not that reading Dickens and Austen has turned me into a complete book snob — I do love some twaddle. I just greatly prefer my nice coffeehouse mysteries.

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Book 5: The Invisible Man

I read The Invisible Man aloud to my 14-year-old, and we both loved it. The story is chilling, especially as we experience the rages of the invisible man — things flying through the air, grass parting as he chases down his quarry. What causes these rages? The invisibility that he thinks will give him such an advantage proves to be impossible to handle, and this drives him mad. But it seems he may have been close to madness before. He was an albino man, and may have already been somewhat cut off from society. Perhaps his appearance is what made him seek out invisibility in the first place.

This was a thrilling book that also offered lots to talk about with my teenager about invisibility in our society, and what drives people to commit the acts they do.

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Book 4: Parents, Teens, and Boundaries

I haven’t found very many books on parenting teens, but Parents, Teens, and Boundaries by Jane Bluestein may be the only one I’ll ever need. This book really meshes well with the attachment parenting/gentle parenting I embraced when my kids were young. I’ve been a little bit lost trying to figure out how that philosophy should play out with older kids, but this book, while not calling it by those names, describes what I see as being respectful, gentle parenting. It talks about letting go of your kids, not letting their problems become your problems, being a guide and mentor while allowing our kids to make mistakes. Above all, it’s about building up your relationship with your kids without tearing them down. Very easy to read with short chapters and questions at the end of each to help you think about ways you can put the excellent advice into practice at home.

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Book 3: What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures is a compilation of essays that Malcolm Gladwell wrote for The New Yorker. Gladwell is full of fascinating facts, but along with that he is a wonderful storyteller. In this book, he explores such questions as why there are many different varieties of mustard but really only one ketchup, the history of hair dye and the womens’ movement, and why mammography may not be as reliable as we want to think it is. His chapter on Cesar Millan’s work with dogs had fascinating information about body language and inspired my husband and me to start watching The Dog Whisperer. It has become one of our favorite shows. The chapter on birth control and how we think about it was very enlightening.

If for no other reason, I’m glad I picked up this book for the chapter on “late bloomers.” Being in my 40s and just now realizing that I have more potential than I ever dreamed, it was encouraging and inspiring to read about other people who didn’t find success until their 50s or even 60s. I’ve always been interested in writing, and especially in music, and yet I’ve never felt like I’m good enough to really do anything with it. Reading about artist Cezanne and how he never felt good enough until he was much older made me think that my success could still be ahead of me. Maybe I wasn’t good enough in my 20s, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never be good enough. As Gladwell puts it, “The Cezannes of the world bloom late not as a result of some defect in character, or distraction, or lack of ambition, but because the kind of creativity that proceeds through trial and error necessarily takes a long time to come to fruition.”

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Cannery Row and Understood Betsy.

I have finally finished some books for 2012! I have others in progress, and many that I’ve started and given up. I don’t know what my problem is this year!

Book #1 isCannery Row, by John Steinbeck. It is really a series of stories about a community of people whose lives intertwine. These are people who who struggle with loneliness, vices, and poverty but who are never in despair. The situations and characters are humorous and very, very human. In spite of the poverty and issues such as alcoholism and prostitution, this book is not nearly as bleak as some of Steinbeck’s other works.

Book #2 is Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. I read this to my daughter, who is the same age as Betsy was in the story. Betsy is a wonderful role model, who at the beginning of the story is unsure of herself and is never allowed to do anything by her nervous aunts but by the end has figured out that she can do more than she ever dreamed. Betsy is strong, resourceful, courageous and kind. A wonderful read-aloud for a 9- or 10-year-old girl.

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Well-Educated Mind Complete list

This list is from I didn’t have a copy of the book at the time I posted this, so I just did a search for a list and copied and pasted. This is just for my own reference. I will cross them off as I read them. There are several here that I’ve read quite a bit of, but I only crossed them off if I finished them (I’ve read the Psalms, and sometimes in KJV, but never all the way through in KJV). Unfortunately, I’m afraid One Hundred Years of Solitude will never be crossed off. Nobody’s perfect.

I’m also highlighting the ones I want to try and read this year.


2000 Epic of Gilgamesh Ferry Poetry
800 Iliad Homer Lattimore Poetry
800 Odyssey Homer Lattimore Poetry
600 Greek Lyrics Lattimore Poetry
458 Agamemnon Aeschylus Drama
450 Oedipus Rex Sophocles Drama
441 Histories Herodotus History
431 Medea Euripedes Drama
400 Birds Aristophanes Drama
400 Peloponnesian War Thucydides History
375 Republic Plato History
330 Poetics Aristotle Drama
65 Odes Horace Poetry


100 Lives Plutarch History

Medieval Times

400 Confessions Augustine Fitzgerald Autobio
426 City of God Augustine History
731 Ecclesiastical History of the English People Bede History
1000 Beowulf Poetry
1300 Inferno Poetry
1300’s Everyman Drama
1350 Sir Gawain & the Green Knight Poetry
1386 Canterbury Tales Chaucer Poetry
1430 The Book of Margery Kempe Autobio
1513 Prince Machiavelli History
1516 Utopia Sir Thomas More History
1564 Sonnets Shakespeare Poetry
1580 Essays Montaigne Autobio
1588 Life of Teresa of Avila Autobio
1588 Doctor Faustus Marlowe Drama
1592 Richard III Shakespeare Drama
1594 Midsummer’s Nights Dream Shakespeare Drama
1600 Hamlet Shakespeare Drama
1600 Poems Donne Poetry

Early Modern (1600-1850)

1605 Don Quixote Cervantes Penguin Novel
1611 Psalms KJV Poetry
1667 Paradise Lost Milton Poetry
1641 Meditations Descartes Autobio
1666 Grace Abounding Bunyon Autobio
1669 Tartuffe Moliere Drama
1679 Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyon Novel
1682 Narrative of Captivity & Restoration Rowlandson Autobio
1690 True End Civil Government Locke History
1700 Way of the World Congreve Drama
1726 Gulliver’s Travels Swift Novel
1754 History of England, V.5 Hume History
1757 Songs of Innocence and Experience Blake Dover Poetry
1762 Social Contract Rousseau History
1781 Confessions Rousseau Autobio
1776 Common Sense Paine Dover History
1776 Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire Gibbon Wormsley History
1777 School of Scandal Sheridan Drama
1791 Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Autobio
1792 Vindication of the Rights of Women Wollstonecraft History
1798 Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth, Cooleridge Poetry
Poems Wordsworth, Cooleridge Poetry
1813 Pride & Prejudice Austen Novel
1819 Odes & Poems Keats Poetry
Longfellow Poetry
Tennyson Poetry
Whitman Poetry
1835 Democracy in America Tocqueville History
1838 Oliver Twist Dickens Novel
1847 Jane Eyre Bronte Novel
1848 The Comunist Manifesto Marx Engel History
1850 The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne Novel

Modern History (1850 to present)
1850- 1866 Dickenson Poetry
Rosetti Poetry
1851 Moby-Dick Melville Novel
1851 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Stowe Novel
1854 Walden Thoreau Autobiography
1857 Madame Bovary Flaubert Novel
1860 Civilization of Renaissance Burckhardt History
1861 Slave Girl Jacobs Autobiography
1866 Crime & Punishment Dostoyevsky Novel
1872 Dunbar Poetry
1877 Anna Karenina Tolstoy Novel
1878 Return of the Native Hardy Novel
1878 Sandburg Poetry
1879 Doll’s House Ibsen Drama
1881 Life & Times of Frederick Douglas Autobiography
1881 The Portrait of a Lady James Novel
1883 Williams Poetry
1884 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Twain Novel
1895 The Red Badge of Courage Crane Novel
1899 Importance of Being Earnest Wilde Drama
1901 Up From Slavery Washington Autobiography
1902 Heart of Darkness Conrad Novel
1902 Hughes Poetry
1903 Souls of Black Folk DuBois History
1904 Cherry Orchard Chekov Drama
1904 The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism Weber History
1905 House of Mirth Wharton Novel
1907 Auden Poetry
1908 Ecce Homo Nietzsche Autobio
1913 Poems Frost Poetry
1921 Queen Victoria Stachey History
1922 Larkin Poetry
1924 St. Joan Shaw Drama
1925 Mein Kampf Hitler Autobiography
The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald Novel
Mrs. Dolloway Woolf Novel
The Trial Kafka Novel
1926 Ginsberg Poetry
1929 An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth Gandhi Autobiography
1932 Plath Poetry
1933 Yeats Poetry
Auto of Alice B. Toklas Stein Autobio
1934 Strand Poetry
Rich Poetry
1935 Murder in Cathedral T.S. Eliot Drama
1937 Wigan Pier Orwell History
1938 Our Town Wilder Drama
1939 Heany Poetry
The New England Mind Miller History
1940 Long Day’s Journey into Night O’Neill Drama
Native Son Wright Novel DONE
Pinsky Poetry
Surprised by Joy (1955) C.S. Lewis Autobio
1942 Stranger Camus Novel
1944 No Exit Sartre Drama
1947 A Streetcar Named Desire Williams Drama
1947 Kenyon Poetry
1948 Seven Story Mountain Merton Autobio
1949 1984 Orwell Novel
Death of a Salesman Miller Drama
1952 Invisible Man Ellison Novel
Waiting for Godot Beckett Drama
Dove Poetry
1955 The Great Crash Galbraith History
1956 Seize the Day Bellow Novel
1959 The Longest Day Ryan History
1960 A Man for All Seasons Bolt Drama
1963 The Feminine Mystique Frieden History
1965 The Autobiography of + Malcolm X Autobio
1967 One Hundred Years of Solitude Marquez Novel
Rosencrantz & Guildenstein Stoppard Drama
1972 If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler Calvino Novel
1973 Journal of Solitude Sarton Autobiography
Gulag Archipelago Solzhenitsyn Autobiography
1974 Roll, Jordan, Roll Genovese History
1977 Born Again Colson Autobiography
Song of Solomon Morrison Novel
1978 Distant Mirror Tuchman History
1982 Hunger of Memory Rodriguez Autobiography
1985 White Noise Delillo Novel
1987 All the President’s Men Woodward & Bernstein History
1988 Battle Cry of Freedom McPherson History
1989 Road from Coorain Conway Autobiography
1990 Possession Byatt Novel
1992 The End of History & the Last Man Fukuyama History
1995 All Rivers Run to the Sea Wiesel Autobiography


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