I reported a year ago the list of the books I had read during 2010. I’ll do the same again for 2011 in hopes of turning this into a habit. The key to developing a habit, or so I’m told, is to do it seven (or some other number) times, but I’m not sure how well that works with something that’s done only on an annual basis.
I’ve kept roughly the same book count as last year, mid thirties, while continuing my other reading. Every week C and I read the New York Time on the weekends, and Time and New Yorker magazines. I also read a half dozen monthly magazines, mostly motorcycle related, and the occasional magazine I pick up in an airport. And I spend too much time reading blogs and other web content. Mid summer I spent a lot of time reading the PMBOK® Guide to study for a project management certification, and lately I’ve been reading some ham radio manuals. I make all of this possible by hardly ever watching TV; at least four or five evenings a week are wholly spent reading.
Several months ago I bought myself a Kindle, mostly for the purpose of reading while traveling and while on airplanes where carrying multiple books (I’m usually reading three or four at any one time) is impractical. I previously had a Nook but was terribly disappointed with its slow performance and selection of books; the later Kindle has worked out quite well. But I always have to make the decision of whether to buy a physical copy or an electronic copy of a new book. My rule has evolved into buying an e-book for just plain ol’ reading, and physical copies for books I intend to read again later — or especially one that requires referencing or a lot of flipping back and forth or underlining. I had started one book (White’s History, below) in electronic form, and tried using the highlighting function, but after making just a few notes, and attempting to go back to check something previously read, I decided that this was a book that demanded a physical copy.
Since I’ve been lusting after an Apple iPad for the past couple of years my wonderful wife C bought me one for Christmas last week. And of course there’a a Kindle app I can use to read my Kindle books on this device. So while I still have the same rule for whether to buy an e-book or a p-book, I now have the additional decision of which device to carry with me. It’s undoubtedly going to be the iPad, as there’s lots of other things that it can do, and while the Kindle e-ink screen is a bit easier on the eyes I haven’t been bothered by the hundreds of pages that I’ve read on the iPad so far. So I may have an extra, unused Kindle gathering dust soon.
As was the case last year I’ve read a lot of Hitchens (RIP, Christopher; I will miss you), and I started the year by reading quite a bit of Neal Gaiman. A business trip to Florence and a visit to the Galileo Museum has inspired me to read some works by the great scientist as well as accounts of the conflict of church and science, and I’ve recently been reading some Waugh, which while I don’t read a lot of novels I’m greatly enjoying.
As far as my favourites for the year, I’ll select The Information by James Gleick, Arguably by Hitchens, History of the Warfare of Science and Theology by White, and finally two by Gaiman, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett and featuring the unforgettable image of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse now riding motorcycles) and American Gods (I know that Mr. Wednesday was supposed to be Scandinavian, but throughout the book I pictured him as Morgan Freeman).
And finally (drum roll, please) on to the list:
- Good Omens – Gaiman, Pratchett
- Packing for Mars – Roach
- American Gods – Gaiman
- Diary of Samuel Pepys (Modern Library Abridgement)
- Samuel Pepys: The Unequaled Self – Tomalin
- Anansi Boys – Gaiman
- Moby Dick – Melville
- Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch – Miller
- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – Irvine
- Neverwhere – Gaiman
- Fragile Things – Gaiman
- The Information – Gleick
- Diary of Samuel Pepys (unabridged), vol.1 1660
- Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia – Korda
- The Infinities of Lists – Eco
- Guns, Germs, and Steel – Diamond
- The Friar and the Cipher – Goldstone
- The Quotable Hitchens – Hitchens
- The Color of Magic – Pratchett
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Twain
- Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide (5 novels) – Adams
- The Believing Brain – Shermer
- Mrs. Fry’s Diary – Fry
- This is Not the End of the Book – Eco, Carriere
- Driven to Distraction – Clarkson
- Arguably – Hitchens
- Moab is My Washpot – Fry
- History of the Warfare of Science and Theology in Christendom (vol 1) – White
- Scoop – Waugh
- Collected Writings of Galileo
- Jeeves Collection – Wodehouse
- Brideshead Revisited – Waugh
- Complete Stories – Waugh
Happy reading for 2012!!