BOOKS READ

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     I thought that I would keep a list of books that I have read each month.  This is for my own benefit since I have no idea as to the quantity and quality of what I read.  It's amazing how many books one can listen to in this manner!  I carry a backpack of books that I am currently reading, and my car has books scattered everywhere.  I'm afraid that I have always been like this--reading constantly and voraciously.  I think, perhaps, it is a type of escapism?  The dates for the books below represent the times that I finished a book. 

BOOKS CURRENTLY BEING READ:

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Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis.

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Virtual Light, 1993, William Gibson (Part 1 of the Bridge Trilogy).

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The Jungle, Sinclair

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The Norwitch Horror

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The Vampire Armand

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Darwin, the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

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The Old Curiosity Shop, Dickens.

 

 

 

 

April 15--April 30, 2006

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Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, 2005, Anne Rice

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The Vampire Lestat, 1988, Anne Rice. (Reread for the umpteenth time)

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The Queen of the Damned, 1988, Anne Rice.  (Reread for the umpteenth time)

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The Godfather Returns, 2004 Mark Winegarden.

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The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking 

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Mozart  (Biography)

 

May 1--May 15, 2006

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The Theory of Everything, 2002. Stephen Hawking.  ) (May 1)

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Taltos, 1988.  Stephen Brust. (May 2)

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Cryptonomicon, 1999. Neal Stephenson

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The Darwin Conspiracy by John Darnton, 2005, 309 pages

 

May 16-May 31, 2006
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Quick Silver: The Baroque Cycle #1, 2003, Neal Stephenson, 456 pages. (May 22)

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Mona Lisa Overdrive, 1986, William Gibson. (May 26)

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Count Zero, William Gibson

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DNA: the secret of life, Watson

 

June 1-June 15, 2006
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Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson (June 3)

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Strange Itineraries, 2005, Tim powers, 206 pp. (June 2)

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All Tomorrow's Parties, 1999, William Gibson. 339 pp.--Part 3 of the Bridge Trilogy (June 4)

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Shakespeare: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd (June 13).

 

June 15-June 30, 2006
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Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, 2002, Janet Brown. (June 27)

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A Briefer History of Time. Stephen Hawking.

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Pattern Recognition, 2003. William Gibson. 367 pp.

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The Confusion: Book II of the Baroque Cycle. Neal Stephenson.

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The Artificial Kid, 1980. Bruce Sterling.

 

July 1-July 15, 2006
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The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, Part 8), Robert Jordan. (July 1)

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The Sun Also Rises, 1926. Ernest Hemingway (For the umpteenth time, July 8)

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The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan, 1991, Lucia St. Clair Robson (second time; July 10)

 

July 16-31, 2006 (I was on vacation from July 16-August 11 and have been very busy upon my return so my reading has been cut back during this time.)
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The Fallible  Fiend (1973?).  L. Sprague de Camp

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Harry Potter and the Twice Born Prince

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (second or third time)

 

August 1-15, 2006
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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (second or third time)

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Genghis Khan: the Conqueror of the World.  Charles Lamb

 

August 16-31, 2006
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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (second time, August 28)

 

September 1-15, 2006
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Declare. 2001. Tim Powers, 591 pp.   I finally, reluctantly finished this book, despite my efforts to not devour it in one gulp! Did you ever read a book by an author whom you admired very much, and the book was so good that you stretched the experience out so that the enjoyment wouldn't be over with so fast?  This is one of those.

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Blood and Gold. 2001, Anne Rice, 554 pp.  (third time, 10Sep)  I reread her books all the time.

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The Worthing Saga.1978. Orson Scott Card, 463 pp. (third time, 10Sep) Another one of my favorite authors.

 

September 16-30, 2006

   
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A Short History of Nearly Everything. 2004. Bryson, Bill  This is a surprisingly good book about the history of many of the great ideas in science by an amateur.  Everything he said seemed right on the mark, and was very informative even in those areas which I am familiar.  His style is humorous and down to earth.  Very good!

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The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny.  This is actually a compendium of TEN books which I read almost constantly.  I finished it again for the umpteenth time the other day.  It's always there to pick up in an odd moment and it remains as one of my most favorite works in the SF genre. See here for my page on this magnificent work of fantasy.

                    

                 This has been a disappointing two weeks as far as books go.  I picked up, half read and then abandoned several books--some very good and some abysmal.  Big Breasts Wide Hips by Mo Yan falls very definitely into the former category.  I read half of it before it was due at the library and liked it very much.  It dealt with a family in China during the turbulent days of WWII and afterwards.  Perhaps I shall finish it some day. :)

 

October 1-15, 2006
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Shadow of the Hegemon, 2000, Orson Scott Card, 451 pages.

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The Mummy Case, Elizabeth Peters.  I shall very definitely read more of Ms. Peter's mysteries dealing with archaeology, humor and mystery.

 

October 16-31, 2006
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Murder on the Leviathan, Boris Akunin.  Finished October 19  A great mystery story that made me mad at the end--the villain wasn't punished enough!

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A Fire Upon the Deep,  1992, Vinge, Vernor. 613 pp. Finished October 19.  Do you like the more traditional science fiction that deals with great galactic civilizations, alien species, and an impending catastrophe that could affect the entire galaxy?  I simply had to limit myself in reading this.  It was one of those rare books that I want to devour at one sitting.  It didn't strike me this way at the begining, but it grew and grew until it was absolutely riveting!  Great excitement, pathos, marvels...wow!  Read it!

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Something Rotten, 2004, Jasper Fforde.  This novel was almost not read by me!  You know the typical English humor?  Sometimes it can be a bit much, and just when I was about to stop reading it, it caught my interest and I couldn't stop.  In fact I plan on reading the rest of the Thursday Next Series by this author!  Check it out, it's great fun! Finished on October 30.

 

November 1-15, 2006
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Hunting Badger. New York: Harper, 1999, Tony Hillerman.  You HAVE read Tony Hillerman haven't you?  If you haven't, then I'm jealous because there is a wealth of riveting books just waiting for  you. Get to know Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.  I have read this before, but it was just as good the second time around.  Finished November 3.

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The Sinister Pig. New York: Harper, 2005. 318 pp. Tony Hillerman. Listen to interview.

          A mysterious murder, dope, and Officer Bernadette Manulito has transferred to       

          the Border Patrol.  Will Sergeant Jim Chee and her ever solve their difficulties? 

            I have read this before. (finished 8Novermber2006)
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Jazz: A History of America's Music, 2000, Jeffrey C.Ward and Ken Burns. 512 pp. (Finished November 15)

 

 November 16-30, 2006
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History of E=mc2

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Nine Princes in Amber 1970. Roger Zelazny.

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The Guns of Avalon 1972. Roger Zelazny.

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The Silk Road,  Jeanne Larsen, Henry Holt and Co.,1989.

 

December 1-15, 2006

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The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Businesses, Economics, Societies and Nations. James Surowiechi, 2004.

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Falkenberg's Legions, Jerry Pournelle, 1990.

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Prince of Mercenaries, Jerry Pournelle, 1980

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Go Tell the Spartans, Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling, 1991.

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Prince of Sparta, Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling, 1993.

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Sign of the Unicorn, 1975. Roger Zelazny

 

December 16-31, 2006

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The Turkish Gambit, Boris Akunin, 1998 (Dec. 19, 2006)

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Isaac Asimov's I-Bots: Time Was. Steve Perry and Gary A. Braunbeck, 1998.

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The Hand of Oberon 1976. Roger Zelazny

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The Courts of Chaos 1978. Roger Zelazny

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Skeleton Man, 2004, Tony Hillerman. (Dec. 26, 2006).

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The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, 2003.

 

January 1-15, 2007

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Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein, 1959.  I have read this several times before beginning right after it was published.  Among some circles is "politically correct" to attack this book and Heinlein in general.   Makes me chuckle...

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The Song of Troy, Colleen McCullough, Orion, 1999.  I really like this author, especially her books on Rome.  One of the best ways to learn history is to get your interest whetted by a good historical novel written by somebody who is accurate with the known facts.  Whereas this novel about the events in The Iliad isn't based upon historical facts per se,  it does offer insight into the historical Troy and its war with the Achaean Greeks, giving the motive not as retribution for the kidnapping of Helen but as the much more believable motive of economics and trade.  After reading this really delightful book, I was also much better able to keep all those names straight!  The characters of The Iliad form the basis of other myths and dramas offering insight into the Greek psyche, and I am glad to be able now to sort them out in my mind. (finished Jan. 10)

 

January 15-31, 2007

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Memnoch the Devil.  Anne Rice, 1995, 434 pp.   Of course I've read this several times before.  This is one of the most interesting of Rice's vampire books.  Now that she has come back to her Catholic upbringing, I wonder how she views this book which aroused quite a bit of controversy. (finished Jan19, 2007)

bullet Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang, Jon Halliday 2005, Knopf, 832 pp. Mao was a beast, much worse than the other more vilified villains of the twentieth century such as Stalin and Hitler.

Some Things You'll Learn from Mao: The Unknown Story

1. Mao became a Communist at the age of 27 for purely pragmatic reasons: a job and income from the Russians.

2. Far from organizing the Long March in 1934, Mao was nearly left behind by his colleagues who could not stand him and had tried to oust him several times. The aim of the March was to link up with Russia to get arms. The Reds survived the March because Chiang Kai-shek let them, in a secret horse-trade for his son and heir, whom Stalin was holding hostage in Russia.

3. Mao grew opium on a large scale.

4. After he conquered China, Mao's over-riding goal was to become a superpower and dominate the world: "Control the Earth," as he put it.

5. Mao caused the greatest famine in history by exporting food to Russia to buy nuclear and arms industries: 38 million people died.

6. He urged North Korea to invade the south to further his wish to gain military aid from the Russians.  He said the Americans couldn't fight and would not abide large casualities.  He was totally indifferent to Chinese casualities.

7. He began the Cultural Revolution in order to purge the current leadership of China which had grown   more independent.

8.  He was directly responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million Chinese.

 

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Wilderness by Gerald Hausman and Roger Zelazny, 1994. G. K. Hall & Co., 321 pp.  Zelazny, a wonderful SF writer, has teamed up with the western writer Hausman to write this engrossing story of John Coulter and Hugh Glass.  Coulter if you don't remember was the frontiersman who traveled to the Pacific Ocean with Lewis and Clark and then became one of the most famous of the mountain men.  He is remembered especially for his race for life with the Blackfeet.  Naked and weaponless he was pursued relentlessly by these people for almost 150 miles.  Hugh Glass fought a grizzly with his knife and was so severely mauled that he was left for dead by his compatriots.  Recovering consciousness and with a broken femur, his scalp half torn off, and the bones of his ribs exposed on his back, he crawled over a hundred miles to find help.  He then went looking for his friends who had abandoned him.  Not only is this a fictionalized account of these historical events, but Zelazny has with his inimitable style which made him famous makes what could have been a straightforward epic into an unforgettable uplifting spiritual story.  Full of incredible imagery, it was so engrossing that I read it transfixed in a single evening.

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Light.  M. John Harrison, 2002. Trade Paperback. 320 pp.  Although I liked the book, I am totally confused as to the rave reviews it got.  I mean it's good, but...well, nothing to rave about.  In fact, it was quite offensive at times and I felt as if the author (which I have never read or heard of) was deliberately trying to twang the strings of the reader.

February 1-15, 2007.--

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The Universe in an Atom: Reason and Faith. 2005 , the Dali Lama. An excellent inquiry into some of the basic ideas of science and how it relates to the Dali Lama's faith of Buddhism.  Read a New York Times review here, and a response to the review here.  I can't imagine the leader of other faiths such as Christianity or Islam being as open to scientific endeavors and conclusions as does the Dali Lama.

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Mark Twain, A Life, Ron Powers. 2005.  Free Press, 722 pp.  Excellent biography of what I believe to be America's greatest author.

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Mazeway, Jack Williamson. 1990.  I like Williamson...in some ways.  I've read his SF books on and off for many years.

 

          February 16-28, 2007

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Jackson: A Novel.   Max Byrd.  1997, Bantam Books, 421 pp.  I enjoyed this historical fiction based on fact by Byrd.  I often prefer to be introduced into a historical subject by fictiion which then leads me to additional research.

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Mega Memory: How to Release Your Superpower Memory in 30 Minutes Or Less  a DayKevin Trudeau.  I find these sort of books interesting and useful.  Trudeau has nothing new in it, but he does present the subject in a fresh and interesting way.

 

       March 1-15, 2007

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Shiloh,   Shelby Foote. 1991. 226 pp.  A riveting account of one of the most bloody battles of the War Between the States.   A fictionalized account told from the viewpoint of the participants.

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Merrick,  Anne Rice.  2000, Random House, 320 pp. I've read this several times before.  I read Rice's books for entertainment to fill in the interstices.  This particular book is one of my least favorite of her Vampire Series.

 

       March 16-31, 2007

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Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist.  Adrian Desmond and James Moore. 1994, 804 pp. I have loved this book ever since I got it back in 1996, and this is my sixth reading of it.  I have read many biographies of Darwin, but this is my favorite.  The authors do an excellent job of describing the life and motives of Darwin against the social fabric of Britain during the early 1800s.

           For a long involved, overly wordy and ultimately pompous review, see here.

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Dante.  R.W.B. Lewis  Too bad I couldn't really get interested this biography of Dante. I struggled my way through it though.

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Sherlock Holmes: Three Tales of Avarice. Conan Doyle  Three of his most popular stories

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Idoru.  William Gibson. 1996, 383 pps.  This is one of my favorite books by this author (see earlier discussion of him and the movement he started).  See his website here.

 

     April 1-14, 2007

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The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice. 1998 Finished April 2, about the third reading.

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The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quamen  I was really irritated reading this biography.  I kept asking myself "Why did he write this thing?"  For anybody who has read Janet Browns autobiography of Darwin, or the biography by Adrian Desmond and James Moore:Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, this book is mostly a rehash of the two books, sometimes sounding word for word as if he paraphrased these authors.  The only thing new that I noticed was that he brought in more information on Wallace and the history of the Theory of Natural Selection in the years following Darwin's death.  Otherwise, save your time and money and go straight to the above biographies.

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Sahara, by Michael Palin. 2003

 

April 15-30, 2007

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Charles Darwin, Voyaging: A Biography by Janet Brown.  Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ. 1995.  605 pp.  This is the first volume of Ms. Brown's definitive work on the life of Darwin. I found her second volume at Half Price Books at a great discount and kept holding off getting this first book hoping that it would also show up.  I finally decided to buy it, but the first edition was going for about $75 or so, and I ended up buying the second edition (a paperbook!) for an outrageous price.  I figured that I should re-read her second volume in order now since I have finished her first, and have started once again on it and am enjoying it immensely.

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Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore.  I suppose I should re-read this since I didn't appreciate it that much.  It concentrated too much in my opinion in Jungian archetypes and ancient mythology. 

 

        LOOKS AS IF I HAVE READ 81 BOOKS THIS PAST YEAR; MUCH LESS THAN I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!  I would have certainly thought that I read at LEAST two books a week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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