Monday, November 27, 2006


I love to read, and I am almost always working my way through a book. I read while eating, walking on the treadmill, even while watching TV. People who see me reading a lot have asked me from time to time how many books I read each year. I had heard of people who maintain reading lists, but I had never done so. So, starting in 2005, I decided to record every book that I read.

I averaged almost a book a week in 2005. My pace slowed in 2006 as I started my R-Squared Energy Blog, and did a lot of writing for The Oil Drum and various other websites. However, I am still averaging over 2 books a month in 2006.

What do I read? Mostly science fiction, or books on science. I am also pretty fond of biographies, and this year I finally started reading Tom Clancy. Usually I check books out from the library, but every now and then I will join a science fiction book club and load up on books.

Anyway, I thought I would share my book list, and update it every time I finish a book. I will post my reading list starting in 2005, give my favorites from 2005, and then put up 2006. If you have a recommendation based on any of the books on my list, I would love to hear it.


Chaos said...

Would suggest two "classics" if you haven't read them already...Overshoot, William Catton, The Collapse of Complex Societies, Tainter, and something more current: When the Rivers Run Dry. Also, anything by Derrick Jensen (perhaps starting with A Language Older Than Words).

Robert Rapier said...

Many people have suggested that I should read Tainter. The library here doesn't have him, but hopefully the one in Aberdeen will.

Thanks for being the first poster.

Cheers, Robert

Anonymous said...


I don't think Clancy is worth the time of day. The style is horrific, the plots improbable, the characterisations paper thin (we have the heroes, the honourable-but-enemies-of-America and the real enemy (do good liberals who stop the heroes from killing maiming or bombing the enemy).

Red Storm Rising was good, so was Hunt for Red October, but Larry Bond really wrote the former.

For real spy novels, try Alan Furst (dark doings in late 1930s Europe-- Dark Star is probably his best, but The Polish Officer is a rollicking read). Or Ross Thomas (Briarpatch in particular) for the flavour of the mid 1980s-- slightly cynical. Or Charles McCarry (Tears of Autumn)-- McCarry was a CIA agent in the 1950s. Or, of course, John Le Carre (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley's People, The Honourable Schoolboy among his best).

DLev said...

In the sci-fi genre you should read some David Brin, if you haven't already. "Earth" has some interesting, if a bit dated, speculations about sustainability. For comparison to Hyperion, you should read William Gibson's Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive. I think Simmons borrowed some of the AI themes from Gibson.

Vanman said...

Robert - Keep up the great work on TOD.

From the mix of sci-fi (and related genres) and factual/informative stuff that you read, you should try Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle. Damn good fiction as as story on its own, but with an explanation of how the world works woven through it.

It's the best thing I have read in years.