A list of books read during 2006

...in no particular order, and with only the barest of comments and justiufications, and doubtless leaving some out that should be in, but gotta start someplace:

Philip Pullman His Dark Materials Trilogy, after reading a piece in New Yorker

Julie Powell Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, because Kate had it and because I'm a sucker for foodie books generally

Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell ...not sure just why

Richard D. Altick Victorian People and Ideas: A Companion for the Modern Reader of Victorian Literature --read it about 15 years ago, thought it was about time to do so again. Glad I did.

Paul M. Johnson Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830 I worked at that one for a couple of years, provoked by the recommendation of Maciej. Mostly making up for ignorance of that critical period in history

George Orwell Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage Somebody pointed me to . I'd read a few of the essays before, but reading a bunch back to back was dazzling. If you've never read "shooting An Elephant", do it now.

Lytton Strachey Eminent Victorians I should have read long ago, and I think I even used to have a copy. What a pleasure.

Christopher J. Lenney Sightseeking: Clues to the Landscape History of New England, a title found in another book at the Bowdoin library, part of my reeducation in New England stuff. Wonderful book.

Clive Bell Old Friends: Personal Recollections Part of my continuing fascination with Bloomsbury, and with cohorts

John Crowley Little, Big Can't remember just why I started it, but never did put it down.

Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays Picked up in a used book store, read many years ago and found it quite interesting to reencounter. One of those obligatory 60s books.

Anthony Burgess The Long Day Wanes, the Malayan Trilogy which I first read 40 years ago in Sarawak, and still find fascinating

Christopher Moore A Dirty Job I'm a stone sucker for Christopher Moore. Either you are or you aren't.

Nicholas Oster Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World Still working on this one, fascinating but not one that I can just read end to end.

Mark Liberman and Geoffrey K. Pullum Far from the Madding Gerund and Other Dispatches from Language Log A favorite blog in dead-tree format, nonpareil bathroom reading

Robertson Davies The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest Tost, Mixture of Frailties, Leaven of Malice) Another guilty pleasure --reread 'em every few years just to remember how much I enjoyed them the first time. Getting a bit dated...

George W.S. Trow Within the Context of No Context I'm gestating a blog posting about this, far too much to say to begin here... but a contemporary, recently died. Absolutely essential.

Alfred W. Crosby The Measure of Reality: Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 looks like a dry thing, but no no no... endlessly fascinating to people like me

Christopher Moore The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror I was sick for a couple of days around Christmas, and this made me feel MUCH better.

Terry Pratchett ...mostly rereads, for which I have an infinite capacity (and no apologies). Among them: Wintersmith, The Truth, Thud!, Thief of Time, Darwin's Watch, Carpe Jugulum, Last Continent, Night Watch, Men at Arms, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys Another author who Can Do No Wrong in my eyes. Reread for the third time

Tobias Wolff Old School Happened to pick it up in a used book store, another in the exact-contemporary category

Mark Kurlansky The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation Been meaning to read it for a few years, finally crossed paths with it. Gald I did.

Melvin Copeland And mark an era;: The story of the Harvard Business School Sounds improbable, but actually very interesting. From my brother in law, emeritus professor of that Institution

Quentin Bell Virginia Woolf: A Biography The Bloomsbury thing again, a re-read after 20-some years. Still as interesting, and provokes a re-read of Leonard Woolf's autobiography volumes (on order...)

Bob Dylan Chronicles: Volume One The generational thing again. Really liked about half of it.

Jennet Conant Tuxedo Park : A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II Fascinating... Alsos Project connections, also the author is the daughter of my brother David's best friend

Michael Quinion Gallimaufry: A Hodge-Podge of Words Vanishing from Our Vocabulary Another blogger I follow, and anyhow word books are like candy

Todd Pruzan The Clumsiest People in Europe: Or, Mrs. Mortimer's Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World I needed something to read while wating for a late plane. There it was. Droll.

Cory Doctorow Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town Another blogger I follow, and quite a fine scifi writer

Richard Russo Empire Falls Saw the movie, re-read the book. I'd do it again, both.

Viz Roger's Profanisaurus Rex: From the Pages of "Viz", the Ultimate Swearing Dictionary Brought to my attention by Michael Quinion's enthusiastic review, ordered from UK, shared with 4 visiting high school friends (most of a week in mid August). My advice: don't go there unless you are REALLY broad of mind, but if you are, do.

In any week I'm in and out of at least a dozen books (often lots more), most to snatch a nibble or find something I was looking for. Most of them don't make it to the list because finishing them isn't what it's all about. Anyhow, the list has gone on long enough for now...