Monday, April 14, 2014

The Book List

I am a bookworm. I've always liked the worlds reading creates and, when I was a kid, my favorite afternoons were spent with my nose stuck in a book. My tastes in reading were--and are--pretty eclectic. You name it, I read it: history, biographies, fairy tales, mysteries, science fiction, trashy get the idea. I was fortunate enough to fall in love with and marry another bookworm, so we live in a house full of books. If it's true that "books are friends," then we have a great many friends--upwards of 5,000 by my rough estimate.

Presently, space and time are conspiring to keep me from acquiring more "friends": we really don't have space for any more "dead tree" (print) books, and working as an artist means I don't have the time to curl up with a book the way I could when I was a child. However, technology has come to the rescue! The result has changed my book buying and reading habits.

I've discovered that I can get the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), one of the truly great library systems, to store reading materials for me. I've always loved the LAPL, spent many happy hours in the downtown Central Library doing research, and was heartbroken when the library suffered a series of horrendous fires in 1986. I discovered last year that: 1) the LAPL has a really large collection of e-media (including e-books, e-magazines, and audiobooks) that can be downloaded onto any computer or electronic device (e.g., iPhone, iPod, tablet); and 2) you don't have to live in Los Angeles County to have a LAPL library card. I got my library card while in Los Angeles one weekend, and it's been very well used--it's now normal for me to have a couple e-books on my iPad for "bedtime reading," and three or four audiobooks on my iPod.

Yes, audiobooks. They've changed my reading habits. Audiobooks have been around for years, but I wasn't usually a fan--I like being able to pick up and put down a book, to go back and reread passages if I think I missed something, and to see pictures and diagrams. Then, I discovered I could listen to podcasts and audiobooks while working at tasks that didn't require close attention, and I started chewing through audiobooks the way I once chewed through regular books.

I started a list of books I've "read" at the beginning of the year. It's an interesting task that lets me see how much I'm reading, and where my curiosity is taking me. I'll update the list periodically throughout the year.

Goodman, Beverly. Shaker Textile Arts.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.
McCullogh, David. The Johnstown Flood.
Ambrose, Stephen. Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869. 
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.
Abbott, Karen. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee. 
Brand, H.W. A traitor to His Class:The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 
Krakauer, Jon. Three Cups of Deceit.
Brinkley, Alan. The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century. 
Ball, Edward. The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures. 
Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere.
Brinkley, Douglas. Cronkite.
Sherwin, Martin & Kai Bird. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. 
Feynman, Richard. The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist.
Krauss, Lawrence M. A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.
Feynman, Richard. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman.