Friday, July 27, 2018

What I Read in 2009

Continuing in my attempts to make 2007 - 2010 legible in terms of the books I read, below is everything from 2009.  At 218 books, it stands as my biggest year on record, and the closest I've come to rivaling it was in 2010 and 2016, when I managed 184 and 181 books respectively.  The big trend this year was an intense interest in religion and philosophy, which counted for nearly three times as much as its competitors, history and science. Speaking of which, they were still tied, each with 22 books.


  • Frank Sinatra: An American Legend, Nancy Sinatra
  • Out of my Life and Thought, Albert Schweitzer
  • Buddha, Karen Armstrong
  • Boss of Bosses, Joseph F. O'Brien and Andris Kurins
  • Jesus, Marcus Borg
  • Robert Ingersoll, David Anderson
  • Cicero, Anthony Everitt
  • With the Old Breed, Gene Sledge
  • Black Edelweiss, Johann Voss
  • China Marine, Gene Sledge

Business and Economics

  • Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Classics and Literary
  • The Book that Changed my Life, Roxanne Cody and Joy Johannsen
  • Familiar Poems, Annotated, Isaac Asimov
  • The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
  • In the Beginning, Isaac Asimov
  • The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain

Fantasy, Horror, and Speculative

  • The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Harry Turtledove
  • The Titan's Curse, Rick Riordan
  • Demon in my View, Amelia Atwater-rhodes
  • Colonization: Aftershocks, Harry Turtledove
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan
  • Homeward Bound, Harry Turtledove
  • Shattered Mirror, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • The DaVince Code, Dan Brown
  • Magic, Isaac Asimov
  • The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan

General Fiction

  • Only Begotten Daughter, James Morrow
  • Gump and Co, Winston Groom
  • Jesus, Deepok Chopra
  • Bagombo Snuff Box, Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Gospel According to the Son, Norman Mailer
  • The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket
  • The Reptile Room, Lemony Snicket
  • The Wide Window, Lemony Snicket
  • Jennifer Government, Max Barry
  • The Miserable Mill, Lemony Snicket
  • The Austere Academy, Lemony Snicket
  • The Ersatz Elevator, Lemony Snicket
  • Company, Max Barry
  • The Vile Village, Lemony Snicket
  • The Hostile Hospital, Lemony Snicket
  • Syrup, Max Barry
  • The Carnivorous Carnival, Lemony Snicket
  • The Slippery Slope , Lemony Snicket
  • The Grim Grotto, Lemony Snicket
  • The Penultimate Peril, Lemony Snicket
  • The End, Lemony Snicket
  • Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
  • Marx in Soho, Howard Zinn
  • Skipping Christmas, John Grisham
  • Ford County: Stories, John Grisham

Historical Fiction

  • Imperium, Robert Harris
  • Pompeii, Robert Harris
  • Enigma, Robert Harris
  • Archangel, Robert Harris
  • Roman Blood, Steven Saylor
  • Arms of Nemesis, Steven Saylor
  • The House of the Vestals, Steven Saylor
  • The Venus Throw, Steven Saylor
  • Catalina's Riddle, Steven Saylor
  • Roma, Steven Saylor
  • A Murder on the Appian Way, Steven Saylor
  • Last Seen in Masslia, Steven Saylor
  • A Mist of Prophecies, Steven Saylor
  • A Gladiator Dies Only Once, Steven Saylor
  • Caesar's Judgment, Steven Saylor
  • No Less than Victory, Jeff Shaara
  • The Triumph of Caesar, Steven Saylor


  • Mysteries of the Middle Ages, Thomas Cahill
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill
  • Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Thomas Cahill
  • The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill
  • Desire of the Everlasting Hills,  Thomas Cahill
  • The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell
  • Then Discoveries that Rewrote History, Patrick Hunt
  • Rubicon, Tom Holland
  • The Sons of Caesar. Philip Matyszak
  • The Great Warming, Brian Fagan
  • Persian Fire, Tom Holland
  • Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade, Brian Fagan
  • The Moscow Option, David Downing
  • A People's History of American Empire, Howard Zinn
  • A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn
  • The Great Journey, Brian Fagan
  • The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman
  • Islam:A Short History, Karen Armstrong
  • Medical Firsts, Robert Adler
  • A People's History of the American Revolution, Ray Ralphael
  • A History of the Arab Peoples,  Albert Hourani
  • The Japanese Experience, W.G. Beasley
  • Constantinople: The Forgotten Empire, Isaaac Asimov
  • An Honorable German, Charles McCain


  • Waiter Rant, "The Waiter"
  • Barrel Fever, David Sedaris
  • Darwin Awards III, ed. Wendy Norcutt
  • Saints Behaving Badly, Thomas Craughwell

Mysteries and Thrillers

  • The Ghost, Robert Harris
  • The Associate, John Grisham
  • The Return of the Black Widowers, Isaac Asimov
  • The Quiet Game, Greg Iles
  • Third Degree, Greg Iles
  • Turning Angel, Greg Iles
  • Sleep No More, Greg Iles
  • Ricochet, Sandra Brown
  • Casebook of the Black Widowers, Isaac Asimov

Politics and Civic Interest

  • Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College, Gary Gregg II
  • The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
  • Are We Rome?, Cullen Murphy
  • The Zinn Reader, Howard Zinn

Religion and Philosophy

  • Stoic Warriors, Nancy Sherman
  • The Book of Ecclesiastes, Tremper Longman III
  • A World Waiting to be Born, M. Scott Peck
  • Mythology, Edith Hamilton
  • What the Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula
  • Ten Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You, Oliver Thomas
  • The Roman Mind, Edith Hamilton
  • The Compleat Gentleman, Brad Miner
  • The Art of Happiness,  Tenzin Gyatso
  • I to Myself, Henry David Thoreau
  • An Open Heart, Tenjin Gyatso
  • Here if You Need Me, Kate Braestrup
  • Mere Christianity, CS Lewis
  • Ethics for a New Millennium, Tenzin Gyatso
  • Transforming the Mind, Tenzin Gyatso
  • The Words of Martin Luther King Jr, Coretta Scott King
  • The Universe in a Single Atom, Tenzin Gyatso
  • The Guiding Light of Lao Tzu, Wayne Dyer
  • Abounding Grace, M. Scott Peck
  • Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Wayne Dyer
  • Wicca for Beginners, Thea Sabin
  • Here I Stand, John Shelby Spong
  • Wisdom of the Ages, Wayne Dyer
  • The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell
  • Selected Essays, Michel de Montaigne
  • The Great Transofrmation,  Karen Armstrong
  • The Road Less Traveled,  M. Scott Peck
  • The Faith Club, Ranya Indliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
  • God's Problem, Bart Ehrman
  • The Third Jesus, Deepak Chopra
  • Further Along the Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck
  • Blue like Jazz, Donald Miller
  • Socrates Cafe, Christopher Phillips
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig
  • You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to be Right, Brad Hirschfield
  • The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar, Thomas Cathcart
  • The Great Divorce, CS Lewis
  • Drawing Down the Moon, Margaret Adler
  • Finding Your Religion. Scotty McKlennan
  • Reclaiming Virtue, Ray Bradshaw
  • Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  • Aristotle’s Children, Richard Rubenstein
  • The Essential Koran, ed. Thomas Cleary
  • Who Needs God?, Harold Kushner
  • Alternative American Religions, Stephen Stein
  • Becoming the Answer to our Prayers, Shane Claiborne
  • A History of God, Karen Armstrong
  • Taming the Mind, Thubten Chondron
  • The Philosophy of Humanism, Corliss Lamont
  • The Wisdom of Harry Potter, Edmund Kern
  • Our Chosen Faith, Forrester Church
  • I Sold my Soul on eBay, Hemant Mehta
  • The Consolations of Philsoophy, Alain de Botton
  • Love and Death, Forrester Church
  • Humanist Anthology, Margaret Knight
  • The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius, Mark Forstater
  • For Everything a Season, Philip Gully
  • The Best of Robert Ingersoll, Robert Greely
  • Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh
  • When Religion Becomes Evil, Charles Kimball

  • Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman
  • The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Peter Quamen
  • Evolution for Everyone, David Sloan Wilson
  • The Sun Shines Bright, Isaac Asimov
  • The Naked Sun, Isaac Asimov
  • Real Life X-Files,  Joe Nickell
  • Frontiers II, Isaac Asimov
  • Through a Window, Jane Goodall
  • Our Inner Ape, Frans de Waal
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
  • Asimov on Astronomy, Isaac Asimov
  • Black Holes and Baby Universes,  Stephen Hawking
  • Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne
  • Anthropology for Dummies, Cameron Smith and Evan Davies
  • Dolphins, Jacques Yves-Cousteau
  • The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
  • Death by Black Hole, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Flim Flam!, James Randi
  • Beautiful Minds, Maddalena Bearzi, Craig B. Stanford
  • The Cosmic Connection, Carl Sagan
  • The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins

Science Fiction
  • The Robots of Dawn, Isaac Asimov
  • The Time Machine, HG Wells
  • Gold, Isaac Asimov
  • Brave New World, Aldhous Huxley
  • Pebble in the Sky, Isaac Asimov
  • Asimov: The Complete Stories, Volume I, Isaac Asimov
  • In the Footprints of God, Greg Iles
Society and Culture
  • Deer Hunting with Jesus, Joe Bageant
  • Gang Leader for a Day, Sudhir Venkatesh
  • American Mania, Peter Whtbrow
  • The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby
  • To Have or to Be?, Erich Fromm
  • In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honore
  • Fates Worse than Death, Kurt Vonnegut
  • Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor,  Sudhir Venkatesh

Star Trek and Star Wars 

  • Darth Bane: Rule of Two,  Drew Karpshyn
  • Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Sean Stewart
  • Jedi Trial, Daniel Sherman and Dan Cragg
  • Shatterpoint, Matt Stover
  • Heir to the Empire, Timothy Zahn
  • Star Trek: Spartacus, T. L. Mancour
  • Sarek, AC Crispin
  • Star Wars: the Force Unleashed, Sean Williams
  • Dark Force Rising, Timothy Zahn
  • The Last Command, Timothy Zahn

Technology and Society
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death,  Neil Postman

Travel and Adventure 
  • Lost on Planet China, J. Maarten Troost


  1. a fine list. what did you think of Pirsig?

    1. I remember being under-whelmed. It was an interesting work, but not enough to lodge for long in my head. I commenting in my review that "It seems to inspire strong opinions, but I don't have one. I appreciated parts of it, disliked parts, and was completely lost in parts. "

      I read this while babysitting my (then) young niece and nephew..they were old enough not to need a lot of maintenance, happy to run around outside shooting hoops or sit watching iCarly/Phineas and Ferb, so I got a LOT of reading done!

    2. i was quite intrigued by his interpretation of Plato's Phaedo, i think it was, altho i'm probably wrong... that is i recall being intrigued by it; don't remember too much now... do yourself a favor and don't get old; it's a pain in the neck...
      i tried reading P's other book twice but couldn't get past the first chapter: something about being on a boat: Lila?

  2. Replies
    1. I think I've gotten carried away with the Excel spreadsheet, though!

  3. Your reading lists are extremely impressive. Not only are they categorically diverse, but they cover a wide range of viewpoints.

    What did you think of Zinn's U.S. History? I've been meaning to read that (since, oh, 2014...). Also curious if you've read the rebuttal book, A Patriot's History of the United States, by Schweikart and Allen. I haven't read that one either, though I took a class with Dr. Allen once; he was a great history teacher.

    1. Zinn's views were exciting when I first encountered them, but quickly wore...tiresome.Part of that is his views becoming so mainstream and part of that is my own development -- I've been a kneejerk conservative, an zealous progressive, an cynical socialist, a cautiously optimistic moderate, and now...well, whatever I am. Haven't read the Patriot's History, but if I ever see a really cheap copy I might pick it up. I've read material in the Politically Incorrect Guide to... series, which I imagine is similar in approach.

    2. Since I could first vote (back in 1979) I've voted Conservative (it two General Elections), Labour, Liberal Democrat, Independent, Green...... About the only thing I haven't voted for is for the Communists or various Fascist parties that pop up now & again. These days I'm a Socialist and (often) reluctant Labour voter.


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