I read 119 books in 2012, so I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books, using the Goodreads site to log and track. I was well ahead of the pace until July 31st and nearly didn’t reach my goal, but I did, reading an entire book on the last day.
I published a recap of the first half of 2013 in July and just posted the second half of the year round-up. Beware! both posts are quite long as I offer short comments on most of the books. Goodreads has a nice visual of the covers of my whole reading year right here.
Some quick full year stats :
- 55 nonfiction
- 45 fiction
- 32,090 pages (according to Goodreads) – Ms. Rowling accounted for 4,100 in her seven books…she can write long ones!
- 14 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels, who rounded out the last of my survey of the Big Three (Asimov was 2011 and Heinlein 2012)
- I rated 20 on Goodreads as five-star. Not all are must-reads, but these are ones I thought were excellent at the time…and maybe read-agains
- Two books received my ignominious one-star not-only-no-but-really-no UNrecommendation – Glenn Beck’s Arguing with Idiots, and Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven
- One review continues to generate interest: I decided not to give Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Jesus one star, but my fair and balanced review really upset some of the sheep, though I’ve received 30 “likes” for it
- Three authors asked me to read/review their books and I got a fourth book from a Goodreads giveaway whose author read my review
Probably the most significant book-related matter of 2013 was the devastating loss of our library of nearly 5,800 books. While only about 500 were directly destroyed by fire, all but about 20 of the rest were smoked and sooted beyond recovery.
The second most significant book-related matter, soon after the fire our oldest son Brandon wrote to a favorite author of ours, Raymond Feist, and told him that I lost my entire collection of first editions of his works. Mr. Feist sent him a first edition of his first novel, from his personal collection, with this inscription:
Sorry your collection was lost. Hope this helps in getting another one going!
R. E. Feist
I’m not ashamed to admit again that I cried.
An internet friend I’ve never met (I just like adding that modifier) sent me an Arthur Clarke book (Imperial Earth) within days of the fire, and an old friend from Korea now living in California sent me several Asimov books to restart the library and an intriguing one on the death of President Garfield. That one (Destiny of the Republic) I’ll get to this year.
I’ll count Drifting Democracy as a gift, as I won it through a Goodreads giveaway. The author, Pravin Boddu, read my review and asked me for some clarification – I thought he needed to have sources if he wanted the reader to take his statements seriously, which would then give credibility to his observations and recommendations. He agreed and said he’d work on adding cites when the book was published in India.
Requests of me
Two people contacted me this year to read and review their books and another I read at his request from last year. I promised Scott Trent feedback on his Right: A New Design Perspective for Business Innovation and though I made copious notes, we never hooked up.
Simon Zingerman, a Swedish author, found me from Goodreads where he saw that I read Steal Like an Artist (in 2012) and asked for a review of the PDF version of his book We All Need Heroes: Stories of the Brave and Foolish.
Heroes is a collection of mostly feel-good two-page anecdotes on the normal and odd things at work in the world; stories about people who make a difference, who invent things that make a difference, companies who do things that have an impact. An easy read, I thought it was good but might have a hard time in the US as most of the stories were of Swedish and Scandinavian nature and Americans generally don’t venture far from their parochial bookshelves. He liked my feedback and sent me an autographed copy (lost in the fire).
Architect and author Steve Mouzon also found me, though neither of us are sure what our connection is, and asked if I would read and publish a review of his New Media for Designers + Builders to coincide with the book launch on September 27th.
I liked the format, thought it a bit to Mac-focused for the real world, and didn’t agree with the “micro-blogging” recommendation (twitter, mostly), but overall thought it a good read. I posted about it here.
Goals for 2014
I targeted 100 books again and barring any more unnatural disasters, I do expect to read that many.
After reading some Jack Chalker this year, I want to read more so I hope to get to several of his series. I re-enjoyed Stasheff’s The Warlock in Spite of Himself enough to want to read more of his books this year. I think I’ll wait on Feist until next year…still looking for lots of hard covers to replace mine.
As for non-fiction, Michael Shermer is on the clock as a holdover unfinished book (The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense). Also in the “currently reading” queue is Howard Gardner’s Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences and he’s got a couple more that look intriguing. Tom Peters is calling to me, as well as Pinker, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Bill Gates, Feynman, Conan Doyle…right…so much time, so little to read…
And I want to finally take the time to read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. I’ve been putting it off for a while and expect it will take some concentration, so I hope to have a dedicated time to give it.
Never stop reading, folks!