One of the things librarians try to keep track of is what sorts of things people are reading. One way to do this is to pay attention to a wide variety of Bestseller Lists, or to track what library books have the longest waiting lists. Personally, I prefer to do a little bit of field research. For the past several years, whenever I’m travelling by plane, I’ve made a point of noticing what other travelers are reading. I’m usually surprised by what I find. Then when I come back to the library I’ll check my list to see what the library has. Sometimes I’ll find a book that I really want to read that I hadn’t noticed in our collection before, and other times I’ll find something we don’t have, but should probably get. Thanks in part to a four-hour delay in my connecting flight, I got a lot of research done over Thanksgiving weekend. There were a wide variety of books, fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers and books with more cult appeal, recently published works along with timeless classics. Here are the highlights, with occasional comments:
Pride and Prejudice,
by Jane Austen
by David Baldacci
Next, by Michael Crichton
The Adventures of Vin Fiz, by Clive Cussler
Treasure of Khan: a Dirk Pitt novel, by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
Blink, by Ted Dekker
The Lost World: Being and Account of the Recent Amazing Adventures of Professor George E. Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Mr. E.D. Malone of the Daily Gazette, by Arthur Conan Doyle
The text of the book itself, I believe, is only slightly longer than the title.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards
Protect and Defend, by Vince Flynn
A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
Apart from a few short stories, I haven’t read much Hemingway. I always figured, though, that if I were to read one of his novels, this would probably be the one.
Dune: House Atreides, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Death in Holy Orders, by P.D. James
Pontoon: a Lake Wobegon Novel, by Garrison Keillor
Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis
Proof Positive, by Phillip Margolin
The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud
Captain Alatriste, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce
Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, by Tom Robbins
This might actually be my favorite book of all time, so I was very glad to see someone reading the paperback edition while waiting for their plane. I think I might even have cheered right out loud.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
The Interpretation of Murder, by Jed Rubenfeld
This one sounds pretty interesting. On a 1919 speaking tour of America, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung join in the search for a serial killer. The reviews look pretty good as well. I'll have to keep an eye out for this on the shelves.
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Doyle Brunson's Sypersystem: A Course in Power Poker, by Doyle Brunson
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer
The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, by Valarie Plame Wilson
My Airplane Books:
Marooned: The Next Generation of Desert Island Discs, edited by Phil Freeman
This is a fun book. The premise is simple—ask a bunch of music writers what one album they would bring with them to a desert island and why. I really enjoy reading about music, particularly when it helps me hear familiar music in a new way. That was certainly the case with the essay on Spiritualized’s
Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space. Other highlights include a short piece on Miles Davis.
The City: A Global History, by Joel Kotkin
Exactly what the title suggests, this is a breezy little overview of how cities have changed over time. As a municipal employee, I figure I have somewhat of a vested interest in understanding the forces that shape the development of cities.
You Suck: A Love Story, by Christopher Moore
Publisher’s Weekly describes the one novel in my backpack as “a cheerfully perverse, gut-busting tale of young vampires in love.” That sums it up pretty well. Part of a loose network of books by the always entertaining Christopher Moore, the plot stands on its own as well as acting as part of a greater whole.
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, by Chris Salewicz
Another book about music and musicians, this is the biography of Strummer, who once jokingly categorized himself as a “Punk Rock Warlord, with ‘Warlord’ being one word."
Originally posted by Patrick - November 30, 2007