My book list

We were talking about books today and I mentioned I listened to a lot of books during my commute to/from Idaho. Below is a fairly complete list from the last four years in close to reverse chronological order. I get nearly all my books from Audible (thank you Ry).


Of the science fiction I listened to it fails into two categories with one exception. It is either Robert Heinlein or it isn’t. If it is by Heinlein it is awesome otherwise it is good. The one exception was Beyond the Gap. I thought it was mediocre.


Everything by Ayn Rand is awesome. Anything that has “brain” in the title is great or better. The Female Brain is AWESOME. Sex Time and Power is very good.


I recently finished “Ice Man”. It is about serial killer Richard Kuklinski who killed for the mafia as well as sport. He killed hundreds of people. Grisly and very disturbing at times but I still recommend it just so you can get a glimpse of “the dark side”.


Spycraft was great. I kept meaning to write up a review of it but never got around to it. It’s about CIA technology and some of their operational methods.


Pride and Prejudice sucked. Snuff was disturbing and it sucked.


The Glenn Beck and Michael Savage books were a little “too low of bandwidth” for me. They had some good points and new information but sometimes I got bored waiting for more good stuff to come along.


Why Woman Have Sex was surprisingly good. Barb and I had, and I expect will continue to have, some good conversations about this book, The Five Love Languages (don’t laugh! It’s a great book!) and Strange Bedfellows.


I listened to The Black Hole War and 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense back to back. If I had not done that I don’t think I would have put two and two together and realized that we are living in a huge black hole. The “background radiation from the big bang” is actually just the event horizon of the black hole which is our universe–which contains other black holes. The direction toward the center of our black hole is the direction of time. This is why we can only perceive time at a single instant–completely different from the other spacial dimensions of our universe. It also (potentially) explains “dark matter” (no such thing) and a lot of other things. At least that is my hypothesis.


The Demon Under the Microscope was very good. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.


Genghis Khan and Hannibal: One Man Against Rome, both by Harold Lamb, are awesome.


Columbine made for great conversations with son James and Barbara. It is a great myth that Columbine was about guns. They tried to use explosives but they didn’t do adequate testing–just like the guy in Times Square recently. Guns were just a poor “Plan B” to them. If everything had gone according to plan for them they would have killed thousands in the first minute. They would have liked to have killed off the human race. They believed humans were too stupid to deserve to live.


Survival of the Sickest is AWESOME. Daughter Kim, son James, and Barbara and I have talked about it a lot and really liked it.


The almost complete list:



Natural Selections: David P. Barash
The Virtue of Selfishness: Ayn Rand
The Housing Boom and Bust: Thomas Sowell
The Ice Man: Philip Carlo
Inside the Jihad: Omar Nasiri
Why Women Have Sex: Cindy M. Meston, David M. Buss
Time Traveler: Ronald L. Mallett, Bruce Henderson
Strange Bedfellows: David P. Barash, Judith Eve Lipton
Next: Michael Crichton
The Big Leap: Gay Hendricks 
Pirate Latitudes: Michael Crichton 
The Colour of Magic: Terry Pratchett 
Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen 
Arguing with Idiots: Glenn Beck
Kill Bin Laden: Dalton Fury
Plain, Honest Men: Richard Beeman
The Unincorporated Man: Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin
Lords of the Sea: John R. Hale
Have Space Suit, Will Travel: Robert A. Heinlein
Tribes: Seth Godin
The Stars, Like Dust: Isaac Asimov
Pebble in the Sky: Isaac Asimov
The Case for Democracy: Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer
Thermopylae: Paul Cartledge
The Devil of Nanking: Mo Hayder
Columbine: Dave Cullen
Dexter in the Dark: Jeff Lindsay
The Demon Under The Microscope: Thomas Hager
Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man: A Biography: Christopher Hitchens
Welcome to Your Brain: Sandra Aamodt, Sam Wang
Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell
How the Mighty Fall: Jim Collins
World War Z: Max Brooks
Liberty and Tyranny: Mark R. Levin
America’s March to Socialism: Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: Glenn Beck
New Deal or Raw Deal?: Burton Folsom
Strategic Intuition: Bill Duggan
The Talent Code: Daniel Coyle
Brain Rules: John J. Medina
Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction: Roy Chester
Appetite for Self-Destruction: Steve Knopper
The Drunkard’s Walk: Leonard Mlodinow
Patriot Pirates: Robert H. Patton
With the Lightnings: RCN Series: David Drake
Economic Facts and Fallacies: Thomas Sowell
Cold Zero: Christopher Whitcomb
Childhood’s End: Arthur C. Clarke
The Irregulars: Jennet Conant
The Five Love Languages: Gary Chapman
The Black Swan: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Dune: Frank Herbert
The Enemy Within: Michael Savage
The Black Hole War: Leonard Susskind
13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: Michael Brooks
The Clan of the Cave Bear: Jean M. Auel
Human Smoke: Nicholson Baker
On Intelligence: Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee
The Devil Came on Horseback: Brian Steidle with Gretchen Steidle Wallace
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East: Martin Sieff
Podkayne of Mars: Robert A. Heinlein
Tempted: Megan Hart
The Portable Atheist: Christopher Hitchens
The Case Against Barack Obama: David Freddoso
Altered Carbon: Richard K. Morgan
The End of America: Naomi Wolf
Spycraft: Robert Wallace, H. Keith Melton, Henry Robert Schelsinger
2008 RNC: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (9/03/08)
Why Migraines Strike: Scientific American  David W. Dodick, J. Jay Gargus, Scientific American
The Biology of Belief: Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
Sackett’s Land: Louis L’Amour
The Burden of Bad Ideas: Heather MacDonald
America Alone: Mark Steyn
Naked: David Sedaris
The Best American Erotica 2005: Susie Bright, Jane Smiley, Mary Gaitskill, Steve Almond, and more
Bonk: Mary Roach
This Is Your Brain on Music: Daniel J. Levitin
Blade Runner: Philip K. Dick
Snuff: Chuck Palahniuk
Trigger Men: Hans Halberstadt
The Disappeared: Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Future of Freedom: Fareed Zakaria
The Brain That Changes Itself: Norman Doidge
Red Mars: Kim Stanley Robinson
The Puppet Masters: Robert A. Heinlein
The Door into Summer: Robert A. Heinlein
More of the Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Karen Joy Fowler, Roger Zelazny, John Varley, Joe Haldeman, Robert Silverberg, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lawrence Watt-Evans
The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of the 20th Century: Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, David Brin, Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Bear, Terry Bisson, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Clifford D. Simak, Judith Merrill, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Terry Bisson, Eric Frank Russell, and John W. Campbell
Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1: Robert J. Sawyer
Voyagers: Ben Bova
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Michael Pollan
Three Cups of Tea: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Liberal Fascism: Jonah Goldberg
The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce: C.S. Lewis
Shadow Divers: Robert Kurson
Great Blunders in History: Kasserine Pass:  The History Channel
Genghis Khan: Harold Lamb
How Come They Always had the Battles in the National Parks?: Peter Bales
Berserker’s Planet: Fred Saberhagen
For the New Intellectual: Ayn Rand
Striking Back: Aaron J. Klein
The Coming Economic Collapse: Dr. Stephen Leeb and Glen Strathy
In the Wake of the Plague: Norman F. Cantor
Gut Feelings: Gerd Gigerenzer
We Could Do Worse: Larry Niven, Howard Waldrop, Harry Turtledove, Robert Silverberg, Gregory Benford, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Allen Steele
Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely
Beyond the Gap: Harry Turtledove
Opening Atlantis: Harry Turtledove
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress: Robert A. Heinlein
I Am Legend: Richard Matheson
Children of Jihad: Jared Cohen
The Cat Who Walks through Walls: Robert Heinlein
The Menace from Earth: Robert A. Heinlein
Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: Larry Winget
Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the 92nd Street Y on The Trouble with Islam
Preachers of Hate: Kenneth Timmerman
Philosophy: Ayn Rand
Infidel: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Big Three in Economics: Mark Skousen
Freedomnomics: John R. Lott, Jr.
Free to Choose: Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman
The City Who Fought: Anne McCaffrey and S.M. Stirling
The Sky People: S.M. Stirling
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: Richard P. Feynman
What Women Want Men to Know: Barbara DeAngelis
IBM and the Holocaust: Edwin Black
Guns, Germs, and Steel: Jared Diamond
Callahan’s Key: Spider Robinson
The Callahan Chronicals: Spider Robinson
Callahan’s Con: Spider Robinson
Very Bad Deaths: Spider Robinson
Callahan’s Legacy: Spider Robinson
Snow Crash: Neal Stephenson
Death by Black Hole: Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Female Brain: Louann Brizendine, M.D.
Double Star: Robert A. Heinlein
Citizen of the Galaxy: Robert A. Heinlein
Variable Star: Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson
Lies: Scientific American Mind
Consciousness: Scientific American Mind
Scientific American: A Robot in Every Home: Bill Gates
The Rolling Stones: Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Heinlein Radio Dramas: Robert Heinlein
The Sociopath Next Door: Martha Stout
The Diamond Age: Neal Stephenson
God Is Not Great: Christopher Hitchens
A Game of Thrones: George R. R. Martin
The Tipping Point: Malcolm Gladwell
Survival of the Sickest: Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince
Blink: Malcolm Gladwell
A History of the Middle Ages: Crane Brinton, John Christopher, and Robert Wolff
Rocket Ship Galileo: Robert A. Heinlein
Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus: Dave Barry
How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You: Leil Lowndes
Brave New World: Aldous Huxley
Freakonomics: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner 
Linked: Albert-Laszlo Barabasi 
Win Your Case: Gerry Spence
Because They Hate: Brigitte Gabriel
The Best American Erotica 2002: Susie Bright, Jamie Callan, Maggie Estep, and more 
Deep Survival: Laurence Gonzales
The God Delusion: Richard Dawkins 
2007 State of the Union Address: George W. Bush 
Islam Unveiled: Robert Spencer, foreword by David Pryce-Jones 
Hatred’s Kingdom: Dore Gold
America’s Secret War: George Friedman 
The Truth About Muhammad: Robert Spencer 
Empire: Orson Scott Card 
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal: Ayn Rand 
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Richard P. Feynman 
Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand 
The World of Atlas Shrugged: Robert Bidinotto 
The Clash of Civilizations: Samuel P. Huntington 
A Short History of Nearly Everything: Bill Bryson
Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Richard M. Restak
Sex, Time, and Power: Leonard Shlain
Sex and the City Writers’ Special:  Un-Cabaret 
Cryptonomicon: Neal Stephenson 
Starship Troopers: Robert A. Heinlein 
Hannibal: One Man Against Rome: Harold Lamb

12 thoughts on “My book list

  1. Lots here I’m not familiar with. Most of the ones I am familiar with I like….

    Except Ayn Rand–I’ve read a good part of Atlas Shrugged, and if that is any example, she’s an awful writer, without a tiny shred of subtlety, belaboring the obvious with a sledgehammer. I feel like I should have read her as a sort of libertarian duty, but without that incentive there’s no way I’d have continued. I can’t imagine anyone who needs to be convinced finishing that book voluntarily, and I have no intention of seeking out any of her other books.

  2. Thanks, I bookmarked this. I recently started listening to books on my commute. So far, I have enjoyed:

    A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

    The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood

    Short Science Fiction Collections from Librivox.org. They’re public domain stories read by volunteers.

  3. Wow, you are one dedicated reader, Joe. That’s impressive.

    Thanks for the shoutout on my book, COLUMBINE. I’m so glad it provoked some good discussion within your family. That’s about the best compliment I could hear.

    If you heard it on audio, you didn’t get the Afterword that I wrote for the paperback edition this year. You can go into any B&N or Borders and read that in half an hour or less without buying it again.

    Here are some other updates on the book, for anyone interested:

    Because of the interest from students and teachers/profs, we’ve created lesson plans and I’m doing phone-ins or skype to book clubs.

    An expanded paperback edition is just out. I spent a lot of time on the new material, so I hope it’s OK to mention what I added:

    — A 12-page afterword: “Forgiveness.” It includes startling new revelations on the killers’ parents. The purpose, though, was to look at three victims in very different places 11 years later, and how forgiving played a pivotal role in their grief. I discovered the secret meetings with the killers’ parents in the process.

    — Actual journal pages from Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold.

    — Book Club Discussion Questions (also available at Oprah.com).

    — Diagram of Columbine High School and environs.

    — A large-print edition is also now available.

    There’s lots more info at my Columbine site.

    Thanks again, Joe.

  4. I like some of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, but she sure did get long in the tooth.

    So is the “complete list” the complete list of what you own, or the complete list of what you thought was awesome?

  5. Check out Spook Country by William Gibson. It touches on some of the technologies you’re working with and is only barely science fiction. It was also the first place I heard the phrases “cold civil war” and “cyberspace is everting“.

  6. Dave Cullen,

    Thank you so much for visiting!

    I thought it was a really great book and I will catch up on the extra material that I missed out on. Thanks for the tip.

    Ben,

    This is the almost complete list of books I listened to in the last four years and I drove to/from Kirkland/Moscow, at the gym, walking to work, etc.

    Sean,

    Thanks for the tip. I just added it to my “wish list” on Audible.com.

  7. Our reading lists are remarkably similar, but I think you’ve got me by a factor of 2.

    Take a listen to The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history by John M. Barry. Not only do you get the history of the pandemic, you get the history of science of medicine.

    And two I enjoyed by Simon Winchester; Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, and The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology.

  8. How good is the writing in “Ice Man”? I used to read a lot of True Crime but I enjoyed the books with the more interesting writing (versus the writers who hack out a book in a couple of weeks).

    If you are interested in True Crime with good writing and interesting subjects, you might want to look for a book named “Bad Karma” by Deborah Blum. I don’t know if it’s available in an audio book but it’s a really fascinating story about an Indian (from India) student and a free-spirited Berkeley girl and the many misunderstandings that led up to murder.

  9. I thought the writing was good. It wasn’t the best I have read but the only thing that bugged me was how many times the author said the guy was a psychopath.

  10. Oakenheart,

    Thanks for the tip but Busby doesn’t show up on Audible.com.

    deadcenter,

    I added those three to my wish list.

    ubu52,

    Deborah Blum only has one book available from Audible: The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

    Thanks everyone.

  11. Sadly, no audio books for Busby, you’ll have to read his stuff the old fashioned way. 100% worth it though.

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