It seems that getting engaged, planning a wedding, getting married, travelling to half a dozen other weddings, and dutifully supporting one's wife through the sickness which accompanies pregnancy reduces the number of books one reads. But joy is more than ample recompense for books not read.
I read a scant forty-five books this year. If I remain on the right edge of the bell curve for our mostly illiterate nation, still, this is less than impressive for me. Actually, it's truer to say that this is a harbinger of things to come. I am informed that one does not read serious literature to infants, though perhaps exceptionally precocious toddlers will pine for that pleasure.
Now, onto the recommendations:
An Anxious Age - Joseph Bottum: I reviewed it here. His book helps us to understand that which is rotten in America. Hint to the secular sociologists: the matter is a spiritual one.
The Quest for Community - Robert Nisbet: something of a conservative classic, Nisbet notes that human beings long for community while the State undermines this desire. We have come a long way from the country Tocqueville observed.
The Guns of August - Barbara Tuchman: beautiful book. I read a lot of history, so much that I forget that historians aren't always very good at writing. Her prose is gorgeous and her theme is well-chosen. The Great War was human drama par excellence before it devolved into years of futile trench warfare.
The Ballad of the White Horse - G. K. Chesterton: wonderful poem. We read too little poetry. We read even less of the epic sort. Such is life in the age of Twitter. Taken in parts, even a computer programmer should be able to appreciate this type of greatness.