What are you reading? Year in review

( – promoted by plf515)

In bookflurries this week, cfk had ‘books of 2007’.  That seemed like such a good idea, that I am using it here, too!  Below is a list of books I at least started reading or re-reading.  I certainly didn’t finish them all!

If you’d like, list books you started reading, in comments

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

What are you reading? is crossposted to dailyKos

   1. The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling    SF and computer-geeky.

  2. The Mathematicians Brain by David Ruelle  Quirky and fascinating

  3. Pattern Recognition and Neural Networks by Brian Ripley

  4. Araminta Station by Jack Vance    Just started.  Looks good

  5. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein  Rereading – one of the classics.

  6. Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett   I re-read a lot of Discworld – they are all funny

  7. Causality by Judea Pearl

  8. Elements of Statistical Learning by Hastie and Tibshirani

  9. Privacy in Peril by James Rule  I did a diary on this one

 10.  The Politics of Congressional Elections by Gary Jacobson

 11.  Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

 12. Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

 13. The Difference Engine by Doron Swade  about Charles Babbage and the first computer

 14. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

 15. How Mathematicians Think by William Byers  Fascinating

 16. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

 17. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

 18. John Adams by David McCullough  A fantastic bio of a great man

 19. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

 20. The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt  about Ramanujan and Hard (fiction)

 21. Find Me by Carol O’Connell

 22. Making Money by Terry Pratchett

 23. Classification and Regression Trees by Leo Breiman et al   Seminal

 24. Thud by Terry Pratchett

 25.  How Voters Decide by Lau and Redlawsk

 26. False Allegations by Andrew Vachss

 27. Mask Market by Andrew Vachss

 28. Statistical Models by David Freedman

 29. Steel Beach by John Varley

 30.  The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit by Melvin Konner  Wonderful; about how our genes and biologies limit us.

 31. 2nd Chance by James Patterson

 32. Maps Made Easy using SAS by Mike Zdeb

 33. Forecasting Presidential Elections by Steven Rosenstone

 34. Data Clustering by Gan, Ma and Wu

 35. The Social Logic of Politics ed. by Alan Zuckerman

 36. Science Fiction: Best of the Year ed. by Rich Horton

 37. Dead Watch by John Sandford

 38. Millenium by John Varley

 39. Titan by John Varley

 40. Locked Out   by Manza and Uggen  about felon disenfranchisement and its ill effects

 41. The Singulariy is Near by Raymond Kurzweil  Kurzweil is hugely optimistic about the future.  He’s been right before

 42. Blue Champagne by John Varley

 43. Blood and Roses by Helen Castor

 44. Cluster Analysis by Brian Everitt

 45. The Hard Way by Lee Child

 46. The Bookwoman’s Last Fling by John Dunning

 47. Model Selection and Multi-model averaging by Burnham and Anderson

 48. The Golden Globe by John Varley

 49. The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza and the Fate of God by Matthew Stewart

 50. Yes Minister by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay  Politics in England and how the civil service really works.  Hysterical; truly.

 51. Yes Prime Minister by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay

 52.  The Last Man who Knew Everything by Andrew Robinson

 53.  The Discoveries by Alan Lightman  Some of the great scientific essays of the 20th century, with commentary.  I liked the commentary

 54.  A World without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Einstein and Godel by Palle Yourgrau

 55.  Out of the Labyrinth: Setting Mathematics Free by Robert and Ellen Kaplan.  I also did a diary about the Kaplans

 56. More Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality ed. by Glenn Ellenbogen  Spoofs of psychology articles.  Funny.

 57. Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

 58. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

 59. The Man who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the invention of the computer by David Leavitt

 60. There are no Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith.  About teaching in the inner city

 61.  The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

 62. Carnival by Elizabeth Bear

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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    • plf515 on December 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm
  1. I would put 6 Latin American dictator novels at the top of my 2007 list.  These are all wonderful reads and seem fitting for these times:

    *Miguel Angel Asturias, The President. The Times Literary Supplement:


    “Asturias leaves no doubt about what it is like to be tortured, or what it is like to work for a man who is both omnipotent and depraved.”

    *Alejo Carpentier, Reasons of State


    “Reflecting his deep commitment to revolutionary politics, his novels explore the irrational elements of the Latin American world, its rich variety of cultures, and the possibility of its magical transformation.”

    *Mario Vargas Llosa, Feast of the Goat. Publisher’s Weekly:


    “This wasn’t an enemy he could defeat like the hundreds, the thousands he had confronted and conquered over the years, buying them, intimidating them, killing them.” So thinks Rafael Trujillo, “the Goat,” dictator of the Dominican Republic, on the morning of May 30, 1961 a day that will end in his assassination.

    *Augusto Roa Bastos, I, The Supreme. Publisher’s Weekly:


    Power is the ruler’s only interest and goal; he has neither family nor friends, only the constant presence of his secretary-confidant Patino. Bastos’s relentless investigation of the depths of iniquitythat of both the “Supreme” and his antagonistsis an illuminating (and depressing) journey into the night.

    *Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Autumn of the Patriarch. America:


    “The Autumn of the Patriarch mines one of the darkest veins in Latin American political history. The central character is a composite of Trujillos, Batistas and Somozas. His is a genius at the barren politics of survival, capable and guilty of the most savage brutality, a lonely monster who shuffles through his palace every night, checking the locks, looking for assassins, lighting a lantern for a quick exit.”

    *Julia Alvarez, In The Time Of The Butterflies.  The Nation:

    Her novel is a wonderful examination of how it feels to be a survivor, how it feels to come from a society where justice and freedom are unwelcome.


    And a happy New Year!!

  2. The View from Delphi by Jonathan Odell

    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

    where we stand: class matters by bell hooks

    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

    In The Time Of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

    We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For by Alice Walker

    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

    Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

    Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

    Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen

    And I’m currently reading “Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence” by Matthew Sanford. Its about a young man who became a parapalegic as a result of a car accident when he was 13 years old. He finds yoga in his mid-twenties as a way to reconnect his mind and body – fascinating read!  

  3. Colbert’s Masterpiece

    Bukowski – Ham on Rye and The Pleasures of the Damned

    Anthony Kiedis – Scar Tissue

    Barack Obama – Dreams of My Father


    Egon Schiele -Retrospective by Simon Wilson

    Klimt – Retrospective by Maria Costantino

    Frida Kahlo – Retrospective by Frank Millner

  4. I started “My Pet Goat”, but unfortunately it was over my head.  😉

    I do a lot of reading, but unfortunately most of it is not in book format.

  5.  . . . but I think my poll response (20-29) is about accurate.

    I completed Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy during 2007, though I began it in 2006.  I also read all of Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon in 2007, and Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day.

    Right now, I’m about 40 percent of the way through War and Peace (page 458!), and when I finish I’ll start Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, which I was given for Christmas.

    Yeah, I like long books!  : )

    plf, did you like Steel Beach?  I thought it was rather a disappointment, coming from Varley.  I LOVED Millenium and the Titan/Wizard/Demon trilogy.  If you haven’t read Varley’s The Ophiuchi Hotline–drop everything, and run don’t walk to get it!  It’s that good.

  6. I’m in the middle of Krugman’s Conscience of a Liberal.   It’s lived up to and beyond expectations. Krugman has it exactly right — The New Deal led to the “Great Compression” — that is, compression of the distance between the wealthy and everyone else and the “Golden age” of the ’60s and ’70s.  The right wing ascendance is nothing more than a war on the New Deal and has led to the “Great Divergence” with inequality at its highest since the ’20s.

    Also — Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.  Very imaginative, especially the central concept (millions of European Jews were admitted to the US in the early ’40s, but were sent to a separate mini-state in Alaska.

    But it doesn’t rise to the heights of Chabon’s masterpiece, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay

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