Monthly Archives: January 2012

A 2011 Reading Retrospective

I imagine a lot of folks will be blogging, Facebooking, twittering, journaling or some sort of chronicling their events of 2011. Quite a bit happened to me and my family, but I’ll just start with my 2011 reading list for now.

After spending most of 2010 preparing for the Professional Engineer exam, I decided to try to make a small dent in my growing stack of books. I also resolved to read all of Asimov’s Foundation universe, from the robots through the Galactic Empire, Foundation and beyond (only Asimov, not the other novels that have been written since his death.) In that, I succeeded. I also started reading ebooks – first on my phone, which was a challenge (seven or so flips per paperback page of text), then starting in September on my iPad. I have decided I do like reading on the iPad, as I can take notes more easily, but I also like the feel of paper.

I finished two books in January that I carried over from 2010; set aside one (half read) in the first half of the year (but may yet pick it up again); abandoned one never to be picked up; started one still in progress; and read snippets from too many to recall. I also read 57 books cover to cover – though several many didn’t have “covers”, being electronic.  The split was roughly 60/40 fiction/nonfiction. I’ve broken out the list into categories of my choosing (month finished in parens). I commented on most on Goodreads; you can find them by looking me up there.

For 2012, I plan to tackle Robert Heinlein, some biographies, more science, history and management, and hit some old favorite series by Jack Chalker, more of Simon Hawke, and maybe even revisit Tolkien (been at least eight years.)

Here’s to 2012, and here’s 2011:



  • The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken – Terry Teachout (January)
  • Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness – Frank Brady(June)
  • Last Words – George Carlin (September)
  • Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson (December)


  • The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution – Richard Dawkins (January)
  • The Edge of Physic: A Journey to the Earth’s Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe – Anil Ananthaswamy                (May)
  • Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel – Michio Kaku (June)
  • The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins (December)


  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design – Michael Shermer (January)
  • Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers – Brooke Allen (March)
  • The Buck Stops Here: The 28 Toughest Presidential Decisions and How They Changed History – Thomas J. Craughwell (May)
  • Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers  – Gary Kowalski (August)
  • Believer Beware: First Person Dispatches from the Margins of Faith – Jeff Sharlet, et al (September)


  • Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You and Your World – Robert Anton Wilson (May)
  • The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science – Robert Anton Wilson (May)
  • ……[Note: Wilson didn’t view his stuff as pseudo…but I did]
  • Science: Good, Bad and Bogus – Martin Gardner (October)



  • The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems – Van Jones (April)
  • The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power – Jeff Sharlet (August)
  • That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back  – Thomas L. Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum (still reading)


  • Beautiful & pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry – David Orr (August)


  • The Circle of Innovation: You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Greatness – Tom Peters (September)
  • The Power to Persuade: How to be effective in government, the public sector, or any unruly organization – Richard N. Haass (October)



  • The Psychology of Everyday Things – Donald Norman (October)



  • Emotional Intelligence:  Why It Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman (December)



  • Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole (someday…)
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson (never…currently n my list of the worst books I’ve ever tried to read…)

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation universe series

  • The Complete Robot (February)
  • The Caves of Steel (February)
  • The Naked Sun (March)
  • The Robots of Dawn (June)
  • Robots and Empire (July)
  • The Stars Like Dust (July)
  • The Currents of Space (August)
  • Pebble in the Sky (August)
  • Prelude to Foundation (August)
  • Forward the Foundation (September)
  • Foundation (September)
  • Foundation and Empire (October)
  • Second Foundation (October)
  • Foundation’s Edge (November)
  • Foundation and Earth (November)

Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series (the first chronicles)

  • Nine Princes in Amber (January)
  • The Guns of Avalon (February)
  • Sign of the Unicorn (April)
  • The Hand of Oberon (May)
  • The Courts of Chaos (May)

Simon Hawke’s Wizard of 4th Street series (five more for 2012)

  • The Wizard of 4th Street (November)
  • The Wizard of Whitechapel (December)
  • The Wizard of Sunset Strip (December)
  • The Wizard of Rue Morgue (December)
  • The Samurai Wizard (December)

Individual novels

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon (January)
  • A Dog’s Purpose – Bruce Cameron (February)
  • Master of Five Magics – Lyndon Hardy (March)
  • Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy – Robert Anton Wilson (April)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson (September)
  • Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks (September)
  • The Dream of Perpetual Motion -Dexter Palmer (October)


  • Siddhartha -Herman Hesse (August)

Young Adult

  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel (January)
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (July)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher (December)