Almost to the End: Books That Made Self’s 2010

Self’s reading year has been less intense than last year’s:  for one thing, self hasn’t read as many books.

Let’s see.  The books that really “made” 2010 (though she probably still has time to read at least seven or eight more books, by the end of the year) were, in self’s humble opinion, these:

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel
  • Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory
  • Peter Godwin’s When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
  • Arnaldur Indridason’s Jar City and Silence of the Grave
  • Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map
  • Morag Joss’ (great, great) Half Broken Things
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Travels with Herodotus
  • Henning Mankell’s Before the Frost
  • Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower:  A Story of Courage, Community, and War
  • Hugh Sebag-Montefiore’s Dunkirk:  Fight to the Last Man
  • Tacitus’ The Annals of Imperial Rome
  • Danielle Trussoni’s memoir, Falling Through the Earth (about her Dad’s Vietnam war experiences, and how it scarred him and, as a result, his family)
  • Sarah Waters’ novel of London during the blitz (and the years immediately following the end of World War II), The Night Watch

What a year it was for reading nonfiction!

The month when self did the least amount of reading was June.  The month when self was able to do the greatest amount of reading was March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: On the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Vanity Fair surveyed 52 experts, “including 11 Pritzker Prize winners,” and asked them:

What is the most important piece of architecture built since 1980?

Answer:  The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

The results of the survey were published in an article in the August 2010 issue (the one with Angelina on the cover)

This is a “massive, titanium-clad structure” designed by Frank Gehry.  Upon seeing it for the first time, Philip Johnson, “the godfather of modern architecture,” declared:  “Architecture is not about words.  It’s about tears.”

Looking at the accompanying photos, self is reminded of another building of organic shape and shiny, reflecting walls.  It was in the Seattle Center:  self had been invited to participate in a reading with other Filipino American writers, as a guest of the Seattle Filipino American community.  This building was swathed in silver and looked like  —  a snail?  Or, at any rate, like a metal carapace?  She doesn’t know what its name was, but she can’t have imagined it, surely  —  even though it is very frustrating that after googling and searching on Wikipedia, and looking up all sorts of permutations, including “Seattle Center”, “Seattle Parks” and “Seattle Museums,” she can’t come up with a single picture.  Anyhoo, rest assured, dear blog readers, this snail-like thing exists.  In Seattle.

Stay tuned.


Third Thursday of October (2010): Wha’ Happened ??!!

Self will miss tonight’s Giants/Phillies game:  she has to tutor in the Writing Center.

Aaargh, aaargh, aaargh.

Last night was magical, simply magical.  A whole array of Giants pitchers stared down Philly’s batters.  What self loves most about the televised games?  The close-ups on the pitcher’s faces.  Though all are pretty much poker-faced, the eyes are somehow still expressive.  Especially Brian Wilson’s.

*     *     *     *

Three hours later:


Halfway through self’s stint at the Writing Center, a student told her that the Phillies were leading.  Self said, No, it can’t be!  After all, when she left home, Lincecum was pitching great.  He looked so freakishly loose, self was confident the Giants would have this one in the bag.

But then, OMG, what happened ???

Hubby said there was an error on a base hit, someone dropped the ball.  Something like that.

Posey didn’t hit?  self asked.

Hubby:  Mumble mumble mumble

Self:  Didn’t he at least get on base?

Hubby:  Snicker mumble mumble

Self:  So who gave the Giants their two runs?

Hubby:  I don’t know.  I wasn’t paying attention.


Oh well, at least the series stays alive for one more game (It’s a great series, dear blog readers.  Each game has kept self absolutely on the edge of her seat).  Because the next games are in Philadelphia, hubby predicts that the Phillies will win two in a row.


Stay tuned.

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