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Reading List 2011

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | Posted by Theo

reamdeSince my readers often expressed an interest in what I’ve been reading myself, two years ago I started keeping track of books that I had read and finished. Nothing complicated or anything, I just record the name of the book and the author once I finish reading it. Then, at the end of the year, I divide the entire list into five categories which are solely based on how well worth reading I found the book. This isn’t a statement about the quality of the book or the writing, just whether I happened to enjoy it or found it to be either useful or thought-provoking. Since a lot of the books that I finish reading are SF/F – I also do an amount of research in books concerning economics and history without reading them cover to cover, and therefore don’t include them here – I thought I might as well post the list here on Black Gate as well. Please note that an amount of re-reading takes place from time to time, so don’t conclude that their inclusion here means that 2011 was the first time I read the earlier books in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The most interesting book I read this year was Victor Hugo’s The History of a Crime, which concerns Napoleon III’s successful political coup, with Neal Stephenson’s Reamde a close second. (His Anathem is more ambitious and in some ways even more interesting, but falls apart towards the end and prevents me from giving it primacy of position.) The worst thing I read this year was without question Plato and the Spell of the State, a convoluted quasi-academic paper by Patrick Tinsley, who could probably be committed for life on the sole basis of the evidence of that paper. I was tempted to give it five stars because it is so insane that it is almost worth reading for its sheer lunacy.

FIVE STARS
The Republic, Cicero
A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin
A Clash of Kings, George R.R. Martin
Married Man Sex Life Primer, Athol Kay
Anathem, Neal Stephenson
Reamde, Neal Stephenson
The History of a Crime, Victor Hugo
Embassytown, China Mieville
On Literature, Umberto Eco


FOUR STARS
The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons
Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Thomas Hughes
The Gold Bat, PG Wodehouse
The Head of Kay’s, PG Wodehouse
Farmer in the Sky, Robert Heinlein
A Man of Means, PG Wodehouse
Psmith in the City, PG Wodehouse
Psmith, Journalist, PG Wodehouse
A Prefect’s Uncle, P.G. Wodehouse
Something New, PG Wodehouse
Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie
A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin
Stupefying Stories, Nov 2011, Rampant Loon
All Hell Let Loose, Max Hastings
The Shadow Over Innsmouth, H.P. Lovecraft
The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker
The Warrior-Prophet, R. Scott Bakker
Podkayne of Mars, Robert Heinlein
The Desert of Souls, Howard Jones
The Mask of Sanity, Hervey Cleckley
The Laws, Cicero

THREE STARS
Stupefying Stories, Oct 2011, Rampant Loon
The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie
Before They Are Hanged, Joe Abercrombie
The Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie
Secret Adversary, Agatha Christie
Small Favor, Jim Butcher
Turn Coat, Jim Butcher
Changes, Jim Butcher
Cursor’s Fury, Jim Butcher
Captain’s Fury, Jim Butcher
Princep’s Fury, Jim Butcher
First Lord’s Fury, Jim Butcher
The Influence of Sea Power upon History, A.T. Mahan
A Feast for Crows, George R.R. Martin
The Face of Battle, John Keegan
Emile and the Dutchman, Joel Rosenberg
Great Wars and Great Leaders, Ralph Raico
A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny
World Without End, Sean Russell
Unicorn Variations, Roger Zelazny
Ghost Story, Jim Butcher
Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century, Harry Turtledove
Prince of Thorns, Mark Lawrence
The Silver Mage, Katherine Kerr

TWO STARS
Snuff, Terry Pratchett
Moral Minds, Marc Hauser
Lessons of the War with Spain, A.T. Mahan
The Thousand-Fold Thought, R. Scott Bakker
Definitely Dead, Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead, Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse, Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone, Charlaine Harris
Dead in the Family, Charlaine Harris
Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris
Zero History, William Gibson

ONE STAR
A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin
Outlines of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus
Plato and the Spell of the State, Patrick Tinsley

2 Comments »

  1. Gods! I love Unicorn Variations!

    Comment by jrcarney52 - January 1, 2012 3:47 pm

  2. A Dance With Dragons was NOT worse than any of that Charlaine Harris crap! Boring, horrible, interminable Feast For Crows is worse than anything Charlaine wrote… yet that is ranked higher than Charlaine and ADWD! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???

    Comment by Lugo - January 6, 2012 7:35 pm


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