Sunday, December 07, 2008

The 2008 Reading List, Revisited

Awhile back, I set myself the task of reading some books that had been on my "to do" pile for several years. Bolded items below indicate that the book was read. Bolded items with an asterisk (*) indicate that I didn't finish the book.

To the Stars Robert A. Heinlein
The Historian Elizabeth Kostova
Mother of Storms John Barnes
The Shield of Time Poul Anderson
The Decameron Giovanni Boccaccio*
Faust Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Inferno Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Fleet of Worlds Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
The Crook Factory Dan Simmons
Maus: A Survivor's Tale Art Spiegelman

The Guns of August Barbara Tuchman
The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny Victor Davis Hanson
The Heritage of World Civilizations Albert M. Craig
Reflections on a Ravaged Century Robert Conquest
100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present Paul K. Davis*
The Crusades: Iron Men and Saints Harold Lamb
The Great Frontier Walter Prescott Webb
American Diplomacy: A History Robert H. Ferrell
The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy Russell F. Weigley
The Influence of Sea Power on World History Alfred Thayer Mahan

Science, Technology, & Space
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming Bjorn Lomborg
The Anthropic Cosmological Principle John D. Barrow*

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy Peter W. Huber
Arcology: The City in the Image of Man Paolo Soleri
Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship George Dyson
The Space Elevator: A Revolutionary Earth-to-Space Transportation System Bradley C. Edwards
Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon Mike Gray
Toward Distant Suns T. A. Heppenheimer
Colonies in Space T. A. Heppenheimer
Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments Martyn J. Fogg

Philosophy & Politics
The Two Cultures C. P. Snow
The Conscience of a Conservative Barry Goldwater
Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method Kenneth Burke
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Martin Fridson*
Space and the American Imagination Howard McCurdy
Trans-Mambo Chicken and the Trans-Human Condition: Science Slightly Over the Edge Ed Regis
The Culture Cult: Designer Tribalism & Other Essays Roger Sandall
Ideas Have Consequences Richard M. Weaver
The Culture We Deserve: A Critique of Disenlightenment Jacques Barzun
A Republic, Not an Empire Patrick Buchanan

Strategic Planning for Public Relations Ronald D. Smith
Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness Robert K. Greenleaf
Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace Ron Zemke
Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It James Q. Wilson
Economic Principles Applied to Space Industry Decisions Paul Zarchan
The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Communications Clarke L. Caywood
Market Education: The Unknown History Andrew Coulson
Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries Terri Morrison
Creating Public Value Mark Harrison Moore

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
L.T.C. Rolt
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War Robert Coram
My Grandfather's Son Clarence Thomas

Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon James Harford
Tramp Royale Robert A. Heinlein
Grumbles from the Grave Robert A. Heinlein

Okay, not a great percentage: 12 of 53 listed actually read. However, in my defense, I did read several other books that weren't on the list, which were "targets of opportunity" (i.e. impulse buys, often purchased when a particular book that WAS on the list couldn't be found on the day I was browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble). These include:

  1. A History of Knowledge, Charles Van Doren
  2. Paris 1919, Margaret Macmillan
  3. Old Man's War, John Scalzi
  4. Manliness Harvey, C. Mansfield
  5. The Rough Guide: First-Time Europe
  6. Frommer's Europe
  7. A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
  8. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  9. Fodor's Ireland
  10. Frommer's Ireland
  11. Rick Steeves' Europe Through the Back Door, Rick Steeves
  12. Europe 101, Rick Steeves
  13. Societal Impact of Spaceflight
  14. Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis
  15. Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate, Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
  16. If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?, Erma Bombeck
  17. Oath of Fealty, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  18. Mercury, Ben Bova
  19. Creating Character Emotions, Ann Hood
  20. Stages to Saturn, Roger Bilstein
  21. The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
  22. Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking, William James
  23. The First World War, John Keegan

So: 35 books read for the year, about three per month. Not bad, but I'm going to have to ration myself this coming nine months, if I want to have the bandwidth to work on my French and German. Maybe I could compromise and try to read some of the books on my list in another language--Goethe in German, perhaps? Heinlein in French? That could be interesting. Anyhow, it's weird how books I want to read keep remaining on "the list," while tactical decisions get picked up and absorbed in a short time. That's why I occasionally cut back on "the list." After all, if the book was that important, I probably would've read it by now, yes? Maybe.

We'll see what the new year brings. I have one book I promised to finish for reviewing purposes by the end of the year, and two I put on ye olde Christmas list. Get a new hobby? Perish the thought! How else can I maintain my self-imposed reputation as a geek?

I read, therefore I am.


Anonymous said...

For the record, Fleet of Worlds has a co-author: Edward M. Lerner.

Bart said...

I stand corrected.