Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Book List:

Well, once again I've successfully made my goal of reading 50 books in the year. (Check out last year's list of books.) This year, of course, I also wrote a book and also had a newborn baby, so it was an especially hectic task to try to get all of the reading in. Still, I was able to read 51 books and listen to 51 audiobooks, which was a pretty good achievement from my standpoint.

The books are listed in roughly chronological order throughout the year. As you'll notice, many of the early books are clearly part of my research for String Theory for Dummies (and some were obvious attempts to give my brain a rest while researching/writing the book).
  1. The Art of Persuasion: A National Review Rhetoric for Writers by Linda Bridges and William F. Rickenbacker
  2. Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  3. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
  4. The Darwin Awards - Next Evolution: Chlorinating the Gene Pool by Wendy Northcutt
  5. The Wraparound Universe by Jean-Pierre Luminet
  6. Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein by John W. Moffat
  7. Anathem by Neal Stephensen (audiobook)
  8. The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans (audiobook)
  9. Faster Than the Speed of Light by Joao Magueijo
  10. Time Traveler: One Scientist's Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality by Dr. Ronald Mallet
  11. The Gift by Richard Paul Evans (audiobook)
  12. Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans (audiobook)
  13. Grace by Richard Paul Evans (audiobook)
  14. Aristotle and an Aardvark Go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein (audiobook)
  15. The Bro Code by Barney Stinson (audiobook)
  16. New Theories of Everything by John D. Barrow
  17. The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics by David Toomey
  18. Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos by Seth Lloyd
  19. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Macguire (audiobook)
  20. Justice League: Batman: The Stone King by Alan Grant (audiobook)
  21. Justice League: The Flash: Stop Motion by Mark Schultz (audiobook)
  22. Justice League: Infinity Crisis by Greg Cox (audiobook)
  23. Spiral Hunt by Margaret Ronald
  24. Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar ... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein
  25. Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879 by Noel Perrin
  26. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (audiobook)
  27. WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
  28. Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Dr. Denis Leary
  29. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman (audiobook)
  30. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  31. The Numerati by Stephen Baker (audiobook)
  32. The Shack by William Paul Young
  33. Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman
  34. What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding by Thomas Hill
  35. Millenium Falcon by James Luceno (audiobook)
  36. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (audiobook)
  37. Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox (audiobook)
  38. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  39. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  40. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (audiobook)
  41. Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (audiobook)
  42. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson, Ph.D., with Lou Aronica
  43. The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World by Tim Harford (audiobook)
  44. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (audiobook)
  45. Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Rethinking the History, Science, and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination by Daniel B. Smith
  46. Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto by Mark Helprin
  47. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow (audiobook)
  48. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nassar (audiobook)
  49. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks (audiobook)
  50. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig
  51. The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed by Bart D. Ehrman (audiobook)
  52. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan (audiobook)
  53. Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation by Daniel Gross
  54. God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why We Suffer by Bart d. Ehrman (audiobook)
  55. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (audiobook)
  56. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetiteby David A. Kessler, M.D. (audiobook)
  57. Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible by David Plotz
  58. George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
  59. American Grit: What It Will Take to Survive and Win in the 21st Century by Tony Blankley (audiobook)
  60. Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse by Peter D. Schiff with John Downes (audiobook)
  61. Valley of Day-Glo by Nick DiChario
  62. Rich Like Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America’s Richest Neighborhoods by Ryan D’Agostino (audiobook)
  63. Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy by Viktor Frankl (audiobook)
  64. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs (abridged audiobook)
  65. Margseguro by Edward Willett
  66. Michael Polanyi by Mark T. Mitchell
  67. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
  68. The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person Alive by A.J. Jacobs (audiobook)
  69. Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley (audiobook)
  70. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko (audiobook)
  71. Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
  72. George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy & Stephen Hawking
  73. The Little Book of Bull Moves in a Bear Market: How to Keep Your Portfolio Up When the Market is Down by Peter Schiff (audiobook)
  74. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (audiobook)
  75. Successful Intelligence: How Practical and Creative Intelligence Determine Success in Life by Robert J. Sternberg
  76. Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, & Michael Larsen
  77. Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson (audiobook)
  78. Interworld by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves (audiobook)
  79. Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future by Chris Mooney & Sheril Kirshenbaum
  80. The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley (audiobook)
  81. Publicize Your Book: An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jacqueline Deval
  82. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (abridged audiobook)
  83. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull (audiobook)
  84. Gamer Fantastic edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes
  85. Intelligent Design edited by Denise Little
  86. The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer (abridged audiobook)
  87. Sun of Suns: Book 1 of Virga by Karl Schroeder (audiobook)
  88. No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan (audiobook)
  89. End the Fed by Ron Paul (audiobook)
  90. Terra Insegura by Edward Willett
  91. Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda by Gretchen Peters (audiobook)
  92. The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever by David M. Friedman (audiobook)
  93. The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik
  94. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (audiobook)
  95. Dead to Me by Anton Strout
  96. Why Does E=mc2: (And Why Should We Care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  97. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) by Bart Ehrman
  98. Singing in the Pain: A Biblical Look at How to Deal with Suffering and Tragedy by Walter Weaver, Jr.
  99. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity & Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
  100. The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
  101. The Blessed Life by Robert Morris
  102. Serenity Found edited by Jane Espenson
Among my top recommendations would have to be:
  • WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
  • Grace by Richard Paul Evans (bring tissues)
  • Serenity Found (and its predecessor Finding Serenity) - for Firefly/Serenity fans, of course
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford (for anyone whose job doesn't let them use their brain as much as they should)
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, for young adult reading
  • For Ender fans, Ender in Exile is a great addition to the series.
As much as I've truly enjoyed this goal, I think I'm going to drop it for 2010. I'll still read quite a bit, but my fixation on reaching the number 50 just isn't consistently feasible when working full time, promoting my book, trying to write more, and maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends.

However, for those with only one job, I recommend it as a great goal to try for at least one year (but don't try to do it if you're planning to have a newborn in the house!).