Memorable books of 2006

I used to keep a book diary. As the year wanes, here are some memorable books I read in 2006, as a restart of this diary, this time open to all. Lots of my reading time went to work this year, so these are slim pickings, but better than nothing (I won’t include any book, interesting or not, that I haven’t finished yet). Happy New Year!

  1. Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert, Knopf, 2006. Read mostly on the train to New York in May. The best exposition of any scientific topic that I have read. Gilbert explains how psychologists have determined that we are not good at anticipating how we will feel in a given situation, and the best source of information about this question are people who are currently in the situation, however unlike they are to us. Lots more interesting conclusions, in a book that is so engaging I almost could not believe it.
  2. The End of Mr Y, by Scarlett Thomas, Harvest, 2006. Allison Block says in Booklist this is “Chick lit for nerds”. Guess I am a nerd who likes chick lit! Ariel discovers a book, a dangerous book, a book so dangerous that her missing dissertation advisor tried to keep her away from it, even though it was written by the author she wants to study for her thesis. So she reads it and follows its advice, entering an amazing mind bending world, the “troposphere”. A captivating read, and a spectacular achievement in mixing some serious philosophy with a page-turning novel.

That’s it(!)—if I remember anything else later, I guess it wasn’t all that memorable. Here’s an early New Year’s resolution: read at least five memorable books in 2007 and blog about them as I finish them. That would take the retrospective post on memorable books on December 31, 2007, much easier than this one, and more interesting.

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