2016 In Books
December 26, 2016
Below is my disappointing list of 16 books read in 2016 (but at least it corresponds to the year…). I felt I did a lot of reading, but I guess it didn’t amount to a lot of books. Some of them took me a while to get through. For example, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was by far the best book I read in 2016, but it also took a while to get through. I suppose that moving to my year primarily consisted of:
- Applying to grad schools programs and attending visiting days/weekends all across the country.
- Writing an MA thesis
- Moving to a brand new city
- Starting a new PhD program in linguistics
So it’s not that I’m without excuses. But still, I wish I had read more. I do think I read a lot of linguistics/machine learning/cogitive science papers, and wish I had tracked those better.
As always, credit for this idea goes to Robin. Her 2015 list can be found here. The only useful tool I’ve found for converting an Amazon library to a list can be found here. Surprisingly, or not, Amazon makes exporting this list tremendously difficult.
Nonetheless, here are the books I read this year, in reverse chronological order:
|Time Travel: A History||James Gleick|
|The Undoing Project||Michael Lewis|
|The Signal and the Noise||Nate Silver|
|The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August||Claire North|
|A Wrinkle in Time||Madeleine L'Engle|
|Xenocide||Orson Scott Card|
|Speaker for the Dead||Orson Scott Card|
|Ender's Game||Orson Scott Card|
|The Cobweb||Neal Stephenson|
|Red Rising||Pierce Brown|
|Infinite Jest||David Foster Wallace|
December 26, 2015
Here are the books I read in 2015, with some statistics below. I neglected to do this last year, which was disappointing. Here is my 2013 list. I got this idea completely from Robin. Here is her 2014 list [Update 12/26/16: And Robin’s 2015 list.]
The table is arranged by the order in which I read the books.
|The Last Firewall||William Hertling|
|How We Got to Now||Steven Johnson|
|The Innovators||Walter Isaacson|
|Breakfast of Champions||Kurt Vonnegut|
|The Windup Girl||Paolo Bacigalupi|
|Measuring Up||Daniel M Koretz|
|The Language of Food||Dan Jurafsky|
|The Turing Exception||William Hertling|
|Good Omens||Neil Gaiman|
|Seveneves: A Novel||Neal Stephenson|
|The Martian||Andy Weir|
|Old Man's War||John Scalzi|
|The Fold||Peter Clines|
|Station Eleven||Emily St. John Mandel|
|We, the Drowned||Carsten Jensen|
|American Gods||Neil Gaiman|
|Modern Romance||Aziz Ansari|
|The New York Nobody Knows||William B. Helmreich|
|The Little Drummer Girl: A Novel||Le Carre|
- In 2015, I read 23 books, for an average reading time of 15.9 days per book.
- Of the 23 books, 17 (74%) were fiction.
- Of the 17 fiction books, 5 (29%) can be classified as dystopian stories. I wonder if this is more a reflection of the overall zeitgeist, or just my own reading interests. While I’m none too happy about the current state of politics and policy, I consider myself an optimist at heart.
- During 2015, I read 2 of the 4 books in William Hertling’s amazing Avogaro series, about an A.I singularity in the not too distant future. The books are engaging and well thought out. Hertling knows his technology, and doesn’t try to create a completely ridiculous/far flung singularity. Rather, the cause of the singularity is subtle and seems within reason, and the far-reaching consequences are profound and well thought out. I mention this for 2 reasons:
- Read his books! He’s fun, his books are cheap and he deserves a lot more readers.
- This is a good insight into how capricious the publishing industry is. I think Hertling is just as good as an Ernest Cline or Peter Clines, he just hasn’t been “discovered” yet.
2013 in Books
January 15, 2014
|The Restaurant at the End of the Universe||Adams, Douglas|
|Life, the Universe and Everything||Adams, Douglas|
|The Affair: A Jack Reacher Novel||Child, Lee|
|Persuader (Jack Reacher, No. 7)||Child, Lee|
|Without Fail (Jack Reacher, No. 6)||Child, Lee|
|Echo Burning (Jack Reacher, No. 5)||Child, Lee|
|Running Blind (Jack Reacher, No. 4)||Child, Lee|
|Tripwire (Jack Reacher, No. 3)||Child, Lee|
|Die Trying (Jack Reacher, No. 2)||Child, Lee|
|Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage||Delaney, Rob|
|The Name of the Rose||Eco, Umberto|
|Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close||Foer, Jonathan Safran|
|The Art of Fielding: A Novel||Harbach, Chad|
|Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch||Hine, Richard|
|Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution||Levy, Steven|
|Astronauts and Heretics||Marcinko, Thomas|
|Cloud Atlas||Mitchell, David|
|How We Test Software at Microsoft||Page, Alan, Johnston, Ken, Rollison, Bj|
|Devil's Plaything||Richtel, Matt|
|2312||Robinson, Kim Stanley|
|Shooting Star||Sabbagh, Karl|
|Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore||Sloan, Robin|
|Reamde: A Novel||Stephenson, Neal|
|Snow Crash||Stephenson, Neal|
|The Diamond Age||Stephenson, Neal|
|A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again||Wallace, David Foster|
First off, let it be known that I completely stole this idea from a fellow grad student, Robin. It sounded like a fun idea, and since almost all of these were on my Kindle, pulling up the list took all of 15 seconds.
- I read 6 non-fiction books, and 23 works of fiction
- 2 authors (Lee Child and Neal Stephenson) accounted for 12 (33%) books
- 30% of what I read (11 books) could be classified as science fiction
- I had no idea that I read so many Jack Reacher books. I did a ton of unpleasant, frequent airport travel in the first half of the year, and the mindless gluttony of the books, combined with short chapters, made them ideal for airport lounges and seat 3B. Nevertheless, I feel like a person who just mindlessly ate an entire bag of potato chips, and is now staring at the empty bag.