100. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
The true story of an English man who hitchhikes around Ireland with a refridgerator after a drunken bet with one his friends. An amusing travel book. I give it an 8 out of 10.
99. The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
The story of a gay magician and his assistant of 22 years, whom he married after his true love dies of AIDS and he learns he will soon follow. The story covers their relationship and mostly the fact that after his sudden death she finds out that he has a family in Nebraska that he never told anyone about. The story mostly chronicles her meeting his family and coming to terms with who they are and how they fit into his earlier life before she became a part of it. I give it an 8 out of 10.
98. Switching Time by Richard Baer
A very detailed account of the ten years Baer (a psychiatrist) spent treating a patient with multiple personality disorder. The book was semi-interesting, but way too detailed. All the personalities seemed to be described over and over again as well as many details about the actual therapy sessions and much repetition of the abuse that led to split in the patient’s personality. All the details wound up making reading the book very tedious and made it much less interesting than it might have been. I give it 5 out of 10.
97. Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat
A memoir written about the author’s time growing up in Haiti. In addition, she also goes into dealing with her father’s impending death at the same time she finds out she is pregnant with her first child. The book also deals significantly with her uncle who helped raise her, their relationship, and he relationship between her uncle and her father. I give it an 8 out of 10.
96. Grace After Midnight by Felicia “Snoop” Pearson
A memoir written by one of the stars of The Wire. She chronicles her childhood in Baltimore and how she went from prison, to being a drug dealer, and finally ending up as an actress on The Wire. I give it a 7 out of 10.
95. The Bible
I’m obviously not going to review the Bible. I’ve always wanted to read it through in a year, but never actually undertook the effort. This year I finally decided to do it, and I finished it last night a few weeks early even.
94. Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America by Jonathan Kozol
Written back in the 1988 this book is a bit dated now, but the sentiment is still the same. It seemed rather timely to me in that Baltimore City evicting a bunch of people from a homeless encampment under the JFX has been all over the news the past few days. At any rate Kozol focuses on homeless families in New York City. He concentrates on families and children in particular to emphasize that this is not just a problem of alcoholics, drug addicts, and the mentally ill. It is a problem that affects even the most innocent of people. As usual with his books the stories of the people he talks to are heartbreaking, and the bureaucracy they have to deal with is ridiculous and meaningless. With rules that make getting out of the homeless situation almost impossible rather than more possible. I’m guessing that in the past 20 years that the temporary homeless hotels that these people were living in have been shut down, but I’m sure other shelters just as bad have replaced them. Reading his books always makes me wonder what we’re doing in this country. I give it an 8 out of 10.
93. Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman
An interesting look at the things your body goes through on a daily basis for the most part. Ackerman describes many bodily processes as well as adds information from scientific studies about why certain things happen to our body. I give it a 7 out of 10.
92. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
Written by the older brother of Auguston Burroughs who wrote Running with Scissors, this book chronicles the author’s life living with Asperger’s Syndrome. He details how he grew up differently than other kids and couldn’t relate to them, but didn’t really understand why. This continued into adulthood. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was middle-aged. He definitely wound up living an interesting life, but some of that is probably due to the fact that he had a messed up family life in addition to his Asperger’s Syndrome. I give it a 7 out of 10.
91. Charm City: A Walk through Baltimore by Madison Smart Bell
Part of a series of books where authors write about cities they are familiar with. This book was written by an author and professor from Goucher College. He walks through several Baltimore neighborhoods describing what he sees along the way and adding in historical context. I found it really interesting. It was especially interesting to note how much has already changed in the time it took him to write and get the book published. The book probably wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to someone who wasn’t from Baltimore though. I give it a 7 out of 10.