As you all now know, I enjoy reading. This is a list (in reverse chronological order) containing many of the books I've read in the last few years. Please note that all textbooks (esp. math) are not included this list.


  1. Brinkley - The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. It is a little long at 800+ pages and hence a little wordy at times. Still it moved quickly. I liked it and learned a lot. Perhaps because I began with knowing almost nill about TR and the era.
  2. Bryson - Made in America. Pretty Fantastic.
  3. Bryson - The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir. Everything Bryson writes is a fun read.
  4. Huff - How to lie with statistics. Very good. Highly recommended.
  5. Asimov - The Stars, Like Dust. - Currents of Space. - Pebble in the Sky. This is the Galactic Empire series.
  6. Gallant - The Paris Stories.
  7. Cox and Forshaw - Why does E=mc^2? Ok. The intended audience knows a lot less math than I do, so I got a little bored. Probably really good if you are in high school.
  8. Korner - The Pleasures of Counting. So good, so far. It is a collection of short essays on mathematics. From the author: "This book is meant, first of all, for able school children of 14 and over and first year undergraduates who are interested in mathematics and would like to learn something of what it looks like at a higher level ... the aim is so worthwhile and the number of such books so limited that I feel no hesitation in adding one more."
  9. Clarke - Rendezvous with Rama. Super fanstastic. I see why this book is considered a masterpiece of science fiction.
  10. Moffat - Reinventing Gravity. Pretty good. I learned some fun stuff.
  11. Rand - Altas Shrugged. Better than I expected but very very long. It is basically just a venue to pimp her ideology.
  12. Asimov - The Caves of Steel. - The Naked Sun. - The Robots of Dawn. - Robots and Empire. His famous "Robot Series" is fantastic.
  13. Babel - The Complete Works of Isaac Babel It is a long book because he wrote a lot, but it is really very good.
  14. Carey - My Life as a Fake
  15. Oerter - The theory of almost everything It is about the standard model of physics.
  16. McDevitt - Deepsix - Chindi I'm on a bit of a McDevitt kick at the moment. Working my way through the Priscilla Hutchins series.
  17. Kaufman - Gross indecency: The three trials of Oscar Wilde
  18. Stoker - Dracula Boring.
  19. Dawkins - The God Delusion Not bad. It was a little too long.
  20. Zimmer - Microcosm I'd prefer if he'd just talk about the subject like a normal person, which in this context is a microbiologist. He seems be anthropomorphizing too much: "thanks to its atomic structure, oxygen is eager to attack other molecules, wrestling away atoms to bond with." Really Carl, is the oxygen eager?
  21. Farmelo - The strangest man It is about P.A.M. Dirac.
  22. McDevitt - The engines of god
  23. Twain - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  24. Stace - Misfortune.
  25. Burroughs - A Princess of Mars - The Gods of Mars - The Warlord of Mars. (The Martian Tales Trilogy) - This author is best known for Tarzan. This story was a lot of fun. It is basically the literary equivalent of an action movie, and in this analogy "Commando" with Schwarzenegger or a John Wayne film seems to be the first to come to mind. They say it is one of the first science fiction books, but the science is really rather thin, so don't expect much in that regards.
  26. Silone - Fontamara - Bread and Wine - The Seed Beneath the Snow. (The Abruzzo Trilogy) - The first was good, second was okay, and the third was lacking. The page lengths follow a 1:2:3 ratio totalling over 900 pages.
  27. Asimov - Robot Visions. A collection of short stories. I <3 Issac Asimov.
  28. Vinge - Fire Upon the Deep.
  29. Calvino - Cosmicomics.
  30. Bryson - Neither here nor there: travels in Europe. Okay.
  31. Lessig - Free culture. Very interesting. If you are interested in copyright, intellectual property rights, internet piracy, or other issues of this type, then this is a very insightful account of how the government is allowing corporations to mess up the laws and prevent cultural/intellectual growth of a generation.
  32. Caesar - The Conquest of Gaul. Surprisingly engaging.
  33. Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling. (Penguin great ideas series) The more I read philosophy the more I realize that I don't like reading philosophy. SK really likes Abraham.
  34. Shakespeare - The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
  35. Baxter - Believers. A collection of short stories and the novella Believers. Fantastic.
  36. Faulks - Engleby.
  37. Mueenuddin - In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. A collection of depressing (in a good way) short stories about life in Pakistan. I enjoyed it.
  38. Bryson - Shakespear. A very funny and interesting history.
  39. Bulgakov - Master and Margarita. Rather weird story, but it worked for me. It is about the devil visiting Moscow in the 1930s. MP pick 3.
  40. Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go. A wonderfully sad book.
  41. Marquez - 100 Years of Solitude. Kind of strange but very good. This is MP pick 2.
  42. Vinge - The Witling. If you like sci-fi and have nothing going on this afternoon, you should stop by and I'll give you my copy to read. I completely understand why VV has won the Hugo and Nebula awards.
  43. Schwartz - A Mathematician Grappling with his Century. I am amazed my how politically active Schwartz was. I've no idea how he had the time to do everything he has done. If you aren't already familiar with French mathematics in the 50s and 60s, and in particular with his works, then you'll find much of this 500 page book difficult. (Fortunately I am acquainted with both.)
  44. Huxley - Brave New World. I will read more of his books.
  45. Lem - Solaris. A MP pick. Perhaps not my favorite sci-fi but still quite worth the short read.
  46. Barbery - The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Muriel seems to be content showcasing her writing skills without developing much of a plot.
  47. Hardy - Tess of the D'Ubervilles. This is a rather good Victorian era British work. Naturally one will compare (and contrast) this with Austin's Pride and Prejudice. In that respect, I would say this piece is less witty and without Austin's unrelenting optimism. Somewhat between serious and satirical in relating the goal of the Victorian woman as finding a husband. It has a dark touch that I particularly find refreshing. Much better than Jane Eyre.
  48. Bowen - The House in Paris. Surprisingly dark and fantastic. Top quality writing.
  49. Baum - The Wizard of Oz. Glad I read it once, but I don't plan on ever visiting it again. The movie was actually much much better.
  50. Thompson - The Rum Diary.
  51. Carroll - The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll.
  52. Chopin - The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction.
  53. Wapner - The Pea and the Sun. It's about the Banach-Tarski paradox. Some fun anecdotes, but rather lacking in any new mathematics for myself. Although it should be noted that I am not the intended audience; it is for the lay person. I should have read it ten years prior. Alas it didn't exist then. A beginning undergraduate math major should be able to follow it easily.
  54. Franklin - The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
  55. Marx - The Groucho Letters. Not very good reading. Stupid NPR.
  56. Joyce - Dubliners.
  57. Larsson - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
  58. Bolano - 2666
  59. Cornwell - Enemy of God. Quite good. It tells of the story of King Arthur in a historical fiction sort of way (much like "Wicked"). This is the second book in the series, and I didn't read the first. I picked it up while traveling in Colombia after I'd finished all the books I had brought.
  60. Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Funny as always.
  61. Shteyngart - The Russian Debutante's Handbook. Quite good. Very funny. My friend MZ recommended it.
  62. Massie - Peter the great.
  63. Asimov - Foundation - Foundation and Empire - Second Foundation - Foundation's Edge - Foundation and Earth. The famous "foundation series" of Asimov. Pretty good.
  64. Cunningham - The Essays of Warren Buffet.
  65. Franzen - How to be Alone.
  66. Green - Looking for Alaska. Not about the state Alaska. :(
  67. Andrews - Under A Lucky Star - A Lifetime Of Adventure.
  68. Green - An Abundance of Katherines.
  69. Austin - Persuasion. Not particularly good. I much prefer Pride and Predjudice.
  70. Sinisalo - Troll: A Love Story. Quite good. Fun in a Finnish sort of way.
  71. Hibbert - The House of Medici. As exciting and well written as a four hour tour guide to the Medici palace. Although medium informative.
  72. Orwell - Why I Write. A collection of short essays, published by Penguin under the dubious "Great Thoughts" series. It contains a large piece about the how and why of turning WWII into a revolutionary war reforming the English government as a social democracy.
  73. Dumas - The Three Musketeers. It was originally published as a serial, and it reads like it.
  74. Wiener - I am a Mathematician. See comment on Ex-Prodigy below. I don't know why I was compelled to read about him.
  75. Stein - Sage, tutorial. A nice introduction to the amazing piece of software (for math) that is sage.
  76. Negrino & Smith - Mac OS X Unwired. Pointless. I learned nothing from this book and neither will you.
  77. Marlowe - Doctor Faustus. Surprisingly short (like 50 pages). Worth the two hours it took to read it. By the way, it comes in two versions, an A-text and a B-text. I prefer the A-text.
  78. Kafka - The Trial.
  79. Hasek - The Good Solder Svejk.
  80. Pamuk - My Name Is Red.
  81. Roth - Portiny's Complant. A 200 page Jewish rant with no plot. I don't think I like this author.
  82. Hemingway - Moveable Feast.
  83. Fitzgerald - The Beautiful and the Damned.
  84. Salinger - Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction. The last of J.D. Salinger's published works for me to read. Recommended, though if you are new to Salinger I'd suggest starting with Franny and Zooey.
  85. Florey - Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences. I'm beginning to think that I should have known how to diagram a sentence before I read this book. As small side-effect is that I now have an erg to teach at a junior high.
  86. Kac - Enigmas of Chance. The autobiography of Mark Kac; probabilist 1914-1984.
  87. Weil (translated by Gage) - The Apprenticeship of a Mathematician. The autobiographical account of the Andre Weil (1906-1998), with emphasis on his math. Perhaps emphasis isn't the correct characterization of the work; I just mean to say that he leaves out a lot of boring autobiographical stuff that most mathematicians wouldn't care to know (and let us be honest, this is only ever to be read by someone with a serious mathematical interest, who probably already knows who Weil is). After reading this I must admit that I think Weil may be my most favorite mathematician (MFM). He did exceptional work and had an life (outside of math) that I would consider well spent.
  88. Parker - R.L. Moore: Mathematician & Teacher. Possibly the most horribly boring, worst written biography I've ever read (and I've read some crap).
  89. Nurnberg - I Always Look Up The Word Egregious. Basically an anecdotal collection of his favorite (e.g. big) words. I'm hoping that by increasing my vocabulary, that I'll be able to think at a higher level.
  90. Wiener - Ex-Prodigy: My Childhood and Youth. An autobiographical account of the childhood and youth of Norbert Wiener (mathematician and odd dude). He has a very nice vocabulary. Somehow unimportant, uninteresting, and compelling at the same time. He seems to enjoy comparing his youth with that of John Stuart Mill's.
  91. Rudin - How I Remember It. This is the autobiography of Walter Rudin. Huge stud. His life was much more interesting than I would have expected - he was 16 and in Vienna when WWII started. I would have liked Part II (which is all about his math) to have addressed his math more; perhaps because I work in his area. I would have liked to known more about how he chose and solved his problems. However, like most of us, he just kinda floated around until the problems found him, and unlike most of us, everyone loved what he had to say about them.
  92. Alexanderson - The Random Walks of George Polya. Cool guy. His life was not that exciting. Would probably be only interesting to mathematicians, otherwise you'd not have any idea who most of the people are. Random Walks always sound more interesting than they are.
  93. Jiu - Starting Your Career as a Wall Street Quant. Ok not terribly insightful.
  94. Heller - Catch 22. It is good, clever and funny. But somehow missing in plot. I can't stay focused on it.
  95. Alverez - How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Ms. Alverez is possible the most famous Dominican author. I almost stayed at her organic fair trade coffee plantation while I was in Jarabacoa, DR. The book was mediocre.
  96. Baldwin - Vintage Baldwin. James Baldwin is an extremely gifted writer. His works primarily address issues of race in the US. I highly recommend it for a good (and quick) read for anyone interested in this subject area.
  97. Plath - The Bell Jar. Looking back I most entirely forgot I read this book. I remember it now. The writing was good, but I cann't help feeling that story/plot was decidedly absent.
  98. Hersh - 18 Unconventional Essays On The Nature Of Mathematics. Not good. For a more unbiased review, you should see what the AMM (American Math Monthly) said about it in the November 2007 issue.
  99. James - The Turn Of The Screw.
  100. Cambeira - Quisqueya La Bella: The Dominican Republic in Historical and Cultural Perspective. I read this in preparation for my upcoming trip to the DR.
  101. McEwan - Saturday.
  102. Salinger - Fanny and Zooey.
  103. Austin - Pride and Prejudice.
  104. [Adam's pick] Crichton - Timeline. Like the movie but better.
  105. Hardy - A Mathematician's Apology. Sad and depressing, but good.
  106. Verne - Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea .
  107. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye.
  108. Coleman - Four-Season Harvest.
  109. Akutagawa - Rashomon and Other Stories
  110. Salinger - Nine Stories
  111. Hofstadter - Anti-intellectualism in American Life
  112. Hesse - The Glass Bead Game. (Re-reading)
  113. Horne - A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
  114. HP7
  115. Vance - To Live Forever
  116. Frank - The Diary of Anne Frank. Who'd've thought it is really boring to be stuck in an attic for most of WWII.
  117. Weber - Off Armageddon Reef. Well done. A little long at 600 pages, but mostly it moves rather fast. You think it is a standard issue sci-fi book, but it is really more about 1800th century naval battle with dragons.
  118. Prose - Reading like a Writer. Very good. Makes me want to go read everything.
  119. Haggard - King Solomon's Mines. Okay; kinda like an Indiana Jones movie.
  120. Campbell - The Lost Fleet: Fearless. The sequel to book below.
  121. Riordan - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. So the whole Greek "mythology" bit is true. Percy is a demigod (half god / half human) has just turned twelve and the shit hits the fan, metaphorically of course. A wonderful, engaging, quick read. A great way to spend a sunny afternoon.
  122. Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible. (Historical fiction) About missionaries in the Congo circa 1950. A good read. I recommend it.
  123. Campbell - The Lost Fleet: Dauntless. Very quality military-science-fiction. If that is your thing, then it is worth the quick read.
     --- The following three are what I call Steve's Picks (SP).-----
  124. SP 1. Eggers - You Shall Know Our Velocity!
  125. SP 2. Palahniuk - Choke. Better than SP3. More sexually focused.
  126. SP 3. Palahniuk - Fight Club. Not much more than the movie in book format. All in all, worth the afternoon it takes to finish it.
  127. Bronte - Jane Eyre. A long book with a surprisingly boring ( and bad ? ) plot.
  128. Colfer - Artemis Fowl. A fun little book. About a genius 12 year old crime boss.
  129. Conway/Guy - The Book of Numbers. This is the Conway from Princeton. It is a reasonably good book on math for the math curious. As you may have guessed from the title, it is about numbers: old, new, transcedental, ordinal ... a little number theory.
  130. Vonnegut - Player Piano. Not his best work.
  131. Haldeman - Camouflage. So far it seems to be a rather good SciFi story.
  132. Dawson - Logical Dilemmas: The Life and Work of Kurt Godel. The definitive biography. A little long...
  133. Vonnegut - Timequake. Okay
  134. Batterson - Stephen Smale:The Mathematician Who Broke the Dimension Barrier. Just like cheese and honey, this too, will blow your pants off.
  135. Fante - 1933 Was A Bad Year. It wasn't a good year, but it could have been worse.
  136. Shelly - Frankenstein. Everyone dies...
  137. Bukowski - Ham on Rye. Humm... It is a novel by Bukowski. If you don't understand that, then this probably isn't the correct book for you.
  138. Hesse - Beneath the Wheel. A rather good Hesse novel. Although not quite as good as The Glass Bead Game. A story about a boy who works hard and does good in school. So good they give him a special test. Then so preforms so wonderfully on the test, they send him to a special school. Where he gets yet more work, tests, etc. Then freaks out, starts hanging with a poet, and .... --- Good. An acceptable topic for my post-qual meltdown read, but didn't quite provide what I hoped from it.
  139. Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions. This book was a Christmas gift from my wonderful and fluffy girlfriend. I remember reading Slaughterhouse Five once many years back. I can't remember if I finished it; seeings how I can't remember much of the story, I'm assuming I never did. So that got me off to a dubious start with Vonnegut. Since then I'd dismissed his works as odd and dark and not something that I was really into. I believed that his large following was simply people trying to seem, well, I guess like English Lit majors. Snobby and serious and at the same time never actually reading the books, just carrying them around so that they could be seen with it. I WAS WRONG. I'm REALLY enjoying this book. So far I'm about 100 or so pages in. I'll let you know if it ends as well as it started. Prow... -------- Well of course it ended quite wonderfully. But who would have dared to expect anything less from a book my lady friend gave me.
  140. Norfolk - In The Shape Of A Boar. I really have very little idea what the book is about at this point. Graham read it and thought it was amazing. So I'm going to read it and judge Graham. -- I'm currently 50 or so pages in, and I'm beginning to question Graham's sanity. The book is odd. We'll see how it goes... Well I just can't get motivated to go on. However the book raises an interesting question: How far is one obligated to read into a book before abandoning it? If the author can't grab my attention after 10, 20, 50, 100 pages, then what really are the odds that he ever will? I think this one will be relegated to the book shelf to be finished later, much later. Blah...
  141. Strauss - The Battle of Salamis. Doesn't everyone just love Ancient Greek war stories. For those not in the know; 480bc Xerses and company tried to invade Greece, in a big way. The seriously outnumbered Greeks came out victorious and that is where all our Western Civ. books start. This is the story of how the Greeks won the naval portion of this war.
  142. Campbell - Make Love, The Bruce Campbell Way. You all know him and love him from the movie "Army of Darkness" and numerous other B-movies. Very little romantic advise is given and even less that is good. Very funny none the less.
  143. Skelton - Endymion Spring. Gutenburg is in it. I really liked this book.
  144. DuPrau - The City of Ember. Out of fear that humans are about to wipe themselves off the planet with another war, the best and brightest build an underground city, populate it, and leave it in isolation. This is what happens 250 years later. (Warning: This is a young-reader type book. So there are no big words and you can finish it in an afternoon farely easy.) I thought it was okay, but rather predictable, but I guess I'm not exactly the target audience.
  145. HP 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. - Why the hell not? Isn't a post-qual slump great! - The series is not bad - I'm ready for number 7.
  146. P. D. James - The Children of Men. Reading about a world where the ablity to have children is lost and the struggle to regain that ablity has turned me against every having kids. The book was readable and original.
  147. Wouk - Don't Stop the Carnival. Appearently this is the book for expat wanna-be's. Plot: New Yorker gets pissed and moves to an island. Kinda frusterated with the ending. Instead read A Saltly Piece of Land.
  148. Smith - I Capture the Castle. The first paragraph made me smile and I was hooked ever since. Cute story, but I thought it was overly predictable.
  149. Tolkien - LOTR 1, 2, 3.
  150. Larrabeiti - The Borribles Go For Broke. It made me happy.
  151. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. First glance: Seems longer than expected. Final thought: It was not good. Too much zen, not enough motorcycle maintenance. I didn't agree with his thoughts on sceince.
  152. Saramago - All The Names. I didn't like it as well as Blindness. It seemed a little pointless (maybe plotless). I still enjoy Saramago's writing style. Although the dialog is a bit rough and the paragraphs seem rather long.
  153. DeLillo - White Noise. It was very not good. I really didn't like it. It is a book only a PHD in English Literature would love. Horrible waste of time...
  154. Niven - Ringworld. A decent sci-fi story. I thought it was a bit overrated. The ending goes well with the music of Tom Waits.
  155. Philbrick - In the Heart of the Sea. The true story about whaling gone bad which inspired Moby-dick.
  156. Buffett (Jimmy) - A Salty Piece of Land. Very good. Makes me want to have an adventure. I'm currently accepting applications for co-pirates to accompany me on said adventure.
  157. Larrabeiti - The Borribles. Kids books rock.
  158. Foer - How Soccer Explains The World. I now understand everything.
  159. Barrie - Peter Pan.
  160. Goldman - Princess Bride. I feel kinda dumb. I read this and it really took me a long time to realize that Goldman was messing with me. If you don't know what I mean then either you didn't get the joke or haven't read the book. I'll just say that I loved the movie and the book even more so. It is safe to skip the Goldman introductions, et cetra... and just read the actual story.
  161. Haldeman - The Forever War. Post Vietnam Sci-fi. The moral of this story is that wars last a really long time, especially if faught in space.
  162. Saramago - Blindness. Very good. Kinda scary. He won a nobel prize in literature.
  163. Streatfeild - Ballet Shoes. You are correct in assuming this is a book for 12 year old girls. Since I am not, I feel that some justification is in order. It was purchased for a girl (more than twice twelve in age), who has a young spirt and enjoys Ballet. We had a falling out before it was gifted; so..... It is a good book (for 12 year old girls).
  164. Andersen (Hans Cristian) - Fairy Tales. Beautiful, but sad.
  165. Hodges - Alan Turing: The Enigma. For all those not in the know, Alan Turning was an extremely brillant English mathematician (studied: Logic - e.g. Turing machines, Computer Science, Number Theory, and Algebra) who is best known for cracking the German Enigma Machine and thereby allowing the Allied forces of WWII to translate the German's secret codes. --- Hodges is a philosopher and likes to wax on philosophizing too much. Turing kills himself on page 480, but unfortunately there are 570 pages in the book. Arg....

    Alphabetical Random Sampling of Various Readings From (12/05 - 4/06):
  166. Card - Ender's Game (I recently re-read this old sci fi classic. It is by far Card's best. The spin offs and sequels are tired; trust me I've read them all.)
  167. Cartledge - The Spartans (History)
  168. Doyle - The Hound of the Baskervilles (Holmes is as Holmes does)
  169. Dr. Seuss - All of them, regularly....
  170. Duncan - The Brothers K
  171. Funke - Inkheart - Inkspell (Inkheart was very good: kids fiction, happy ending)
  172. Graves - I, Claudius - Claudius The God (Historical fiction series about the Roman emporer Claudius; got a little tired by the end)
  173. Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Very good, but sad, but good. Also reviewed in the AMS Notices!)
  174. Heinlen - Startship Troopers - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Stranger In a Strange Land - Job (The first two I liked, but the latter weren't as good.)
  175. Herbert (Frank - Brain blows) - Dune (and all that follows)
  176. Herken - The Brotherhood of the Bomb
  177. Hesse - The Glass Bead Game
  178. Kerouac - On The Road (I read this because Tommy in '3rd Rock' did.)
  179. Lowenstein - Buffett (About Warren not Jimmy)
  180. Lowry - The Giver
  181. Moore - A Dirty Job ( Everything Moore writes is rediculously funny. Start with Practical Demon Keeping, Lamb, or Island of the Sequined Love Nun )
  182. Nasar - A Beautiful Mind (A million times better than the movie.)
  183. Nordhoff and Hall - Mutiny on the Bounty - Men Against the Sea - Pitcard's Island
  184. Orwell - 1984
  185. Phillips - Prague (I had to work to finish it.)
  186. Pressfield - The Gates of Fire - The Tides of War (Gates was great, it started me on a whole Spartan history kick.)
  187. Robbins - Jitterbug Perfume (I've read many of his other works. This was the best. He has a tendency to get overly wordy.)
  188. Stevenson - Treasure Island
  189. Tolkien - The Hobbit (Has a good reputation for a reason).
  190. Vidal - Julian (Historical fiction about the Roman emporer Julian).
  191. Weatherford - Genghis Khan (History).
  192. White - The Once and Future King (Great. Four parts; the first is The Sword in the Stone).
  193. Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  194. Wolfe - The Right Stuff (Great book for every little '?' boy who wants to go fast)