Monday, January 8, 2007

1997 - Best Books of the Year

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, Geraldine Brooks
An Australian foreign correspondent in the Middle East writes with intelligence and patience and insight. 255 pages.

Within the Circle: Parents and Children in an Arab Village, Andrea B. Rugh
American anthropologist rents a room in a small Syrian village and is drawn deeply into the lives of her neighbors. 263 pages.

The Post-Capitalist Society, Paul Drucker
Economic theory, fascinating analysis of worldwide trends. Would be good to read again in a few years. 232 pages.

Human Wishes and Sun Under Wood, poems by Robert Hass
Probably the best poet writing today. 86 and 77 pages, respectively.

Come Hither, A Collection of Rhymes and Poems for the Young of All Ages, ed. Walter de la Mare.
Wonderful collection of memorizable poems—many mysterious and magical combinations of words. 777 pages.

A Good Place to Live: America’s Last Migration, Terry Pindell
Insightful exploration into what makes a community satisfying to live in. 413 pages.

Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times, Elizabeth Wayland Barber
A fascinating history. Extremely well written as well as informative. 334 pages.

News from Nowhere, William Morris
A utopian novel where work is beautiful and delightful and everyone is whole. I only wish. 194 pages.

The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander
A philosophy of architectural harmony, what makes a home and a city humanly satisfying. Great black and white photos. Zen-like writing style. Wackily wonderful like a good dream. 552 pages.

The Little Virtues, Natalia Ginzburg, translated from the Italian by Dick Davis
Wonderful essays written before, during and after World War II. Exquisitely crafted and profound—what should we teach our children? This is a book I would pack with me if I had to suddenly flee. 110 pages.

Washington: The Indispensable Man, James Thomas Flexner
Though not brilliant, not even overwhelmingly successful, Washington’s principled, self-effacing dignity made the Union possible. Inspiring. 448 pages.

Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature, William Jordan
A quirky, intelligent book of the not-so-unfamiliar behavior of animals. 205 pages.

The Wind and the Rain: An Anthology of Poems for Young People, ed. John Hollander
Evocative poems arranged seasonally. Lots of great Blake. 264 pages.

The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore, Hilda M. Ransome
Amazing collection of stories and beliefs about bees. 308 pages.

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