Category Archives: Reading Posts

Weekly Tuesday posts on some aspect of my reading.

Reading, Halfway Through 2019

I’ve been out of town, and busy with work, but I wanted to check-in briefly now that the year is half over. I set a goal this year of reading 100 books (down form the 130 I read last year). How do things stand?

As I write this, I just finished my 59th book of the year (Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy). That puts me about 8 books ahead of schedule. Overall, my reading time is down this year from last, but I think that some of the books I’ve read this year have been shorter than my average and that has helped to balance out the difference. Last year, the average length of a book I read was 454 pages. This year, so far it is 412 pages, one page less than my 24 year average of 413 pages.

I’ve got a lot of books queued up, and not sure what I am going to settle on next quite yet, but I snapped this photo of the books currently piled on my desk, any of which would serve as a good possibility.

Books stacked on my desk

Bookmarks

Bookmarks are hard to find. At least, I am seeing fewer and fewer of them floating around. Of course, with so many books available in e-book form, it’s no wonder that there are fewer bookmarks.

I like bookmarks, but often use anything but a bookmark to hold my place. The most frequent object I put toward this use is a business card. Business cards have the same thickness of a bookmark. They fit squarely between the pages. They do the job very well. I also feel less guilty about them sitting on my desk or in my wallet, going unused.

We are packing up for a move to a new house, and when I went to look for a business card for the book I’m reading, I couldn’t find one. The book is a hardcover, with a dust jacket, and that is like having a built-in bookmark. I just slide the end of the dust jacket between the pages I want marked.

Dust jacket bookmark
My dust-jacket bookmark.

Most things make terrible bookmarks. In a pinch, I can tear a sheet of paper and slide it between pages. It used to be that a piece of mail would do the trick, but there is so little of that around these days. Then there’s always the possibility of folding down the corner of a page, but avoid that kind of sadism.

E-books have fancy bookmarking capabilities which I rarely use. I don’t know why that is. My Kindle app allows me to place as many bookmarks as I want. Before e-books, the most bookmarks I ever used for one book was two: one to hold my place in the text, the other to keep my place in the endnotes, if they were particularly interesting. I have never found a reason to use more than one bookmark in an e-book. They are no even needed for endnotes because you can jump back and forth between the endnotes and text.

Audiobooks have the worst bookmarks. I love audiobooks but the bookmark system is virtually unusable. The reason for this is that I don’t know I want to mark something until I’ve heard it, at which point I’ve past it. It is complicated and time-consuming to back up to right where I want the bookmark. If I feel the need to bookmark (or annotate) an audiobook, I usually listen along with a copy of the print or e-book.

The thing I miss most about bookmarks is the nice collection I grew from used bookstores. More e-book reading and audiobook listening, combined with fewer used bookstores means fewer opportunities for new bookmarks.

Most magazines come with built-in bookmarks: those annoying cards that ask you to renew your subscription, or send a gift subscription to a friend. When a new magazine arrives in the mail, I rip out all of those cards, and toss all but one–and then use that one as a bookmark until I am finished with the magazine.

Some Reading Stats

I was looking at my reading stats the other day. I happened to make a table that presenting how many books I’ve read each month over the last 24-1/3 years, and noticed a few interesting things. I thought I’d share them here.

  • My list goes back to 1996. The first year in which I read at least one book every month of the year was 1998.
  • There are only two months over the last 24+ years during which I never failed to read at least one book: February and April. I have no idea why that is.
  • The longest stretch I have gone without reading a book is 5 months between September 2007 and January 2008. I know why. That was when I started dating the woman who is now my wife.
  • The longest consecutive streak of reading at least one book a month is at present 52 months and counting. The last time I didn’t read at least one book in month was January 2015.
  • The most books I’ve read in a month is 15 (twice). I might tie that record again, but I think it will be tough to beat.
  • I’ve read more books in March (99) than any other month. November has second place (84), followed by December in third place (82).
  • I’ve read the fewest books in July (56).
  • In 24-1/3 years, I’ve read, on average, just over 3 books per month.
  • Before 2013, that average is 2.5 books/month. Since 2013, that average is 5 books/month, or double what it was. Why? Audiobooks.
  • Last year (2018) was by far my best year as far as reading was concerned. I read 130 books. That’s an average of 11 books per month. I’m on track to read about 110 book in 2019.

Coming Soon

Sometimes, I spend an hour or so looking into the future. I skim lists of books that are “coming soon” to see if anything piques my interest. I keep a list of the ones that interest me, and this list is never completely empty. Even as “coming soon” becomes “coming now” I am looking ahead yet again, filling the list with more books.

I thought it might be interesting to share some of the books that appear on my “coming soon” list as of today. Here they are:

  • The Happy Bottom Riding Club: The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes by Lauren Kessler. The Right Stuff was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and a I grew older, I loved Tom Wolfe’s book on which the movie was based as well. I couldn’t help but be interested in Pancho Barnes, who is mentioned in both, and was delighted to see a biography of her coming out later this month.
  • The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found by Violet Moller. Maps, history, lost knowledge: all buzzwords that tickle my curiosity. This one also comes out in mid-May.
  • The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski. Houdini has shown up in several books that I’ve read over the years, but I’ve never read a book about him. I saw this one and it seemed interesting so I added it to the list. It doesn’t come out until the end of October.
  • Untitled: A Memoir by Tom Selleck. I was and am a huge Magnum, P.I. fan. Celebrity bios and memoirs are a guilty pleasure of mine, and when I saw this as-of-yet untitled memoir by Selleck, I knew I’d want to read it. This one is currently slated for release in mid-November.
  • Agent Running in the Field: A Novel by John Le Carre. I’ve only read one Le Carre novel, but I very much enjoyed his memoir, and so when I see new books by Le Carre, they automatically go on my list. This one is due out toward the end of October.
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. I was intrigued by this because I’ve often thought of myself as a generalist as opposed to a specialist. I know a fair amount about a great deal of subjects as opposed to a great deal about one specific subject area. Isaac Asimov was a generalist in this regard as well, and probably one of the stronger influences on how I came to be as well. This one is due out at the end of May.
  • Blue Moon: Jack Reacher #24 by Lee Child. I read the first 23 Reacher books last year and they are pure fun for me. So naturally, I am looking forward to #24, which comes out at the end of October.
  • The Conservative Sensibility by George F. Will. I enjoy Will’s baseball writing, even if our politics don’t agree. That said, I try to understand many different view points, and when I saw this book and it’s summary, I thought it would make an interesting read. This one comes out in early June.
  • Fall, or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson’s books are always intriguing and in many ways unique. The description of this new novel pushed the right buttons so I added it to my list. It comes out in early June.
  • Play Hungry: The Making of a Baseball Player by Pete Rose. I’m belong to the school of thought that Pete Rose should be allowed into the Baseball Hall of Fame. As soon as I saw he’d produced this memoir, it went onto my list. This one is also due out in early June.
  • Becoming Dr. Seuss: Thedore Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brian Jay Jones. I grew up on Dr. Seuss. That is what my parents read to me when I was little, and that is what I read to my kids when they were little. I’ve often wanted to know more about him. This one comes out next week.
  • One Giant Leap: The Untold Story of How We Flew to the Moon by Charles Fishman. I love reading about the Apollo missions, and of course, a boatload of books are coming out this year, the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. This one caught my eye because it focus on the computer systems that got Apollo to the moon. Book is due out mid-June.
  • Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn. We drive down to Florida several times a year. On a couple of occasions, while down there, we’ve visited the Edison-Ford museum. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and I’ve always wanted to know more about the men. This books provides a nice opportunity to find out more. Comes out in July.

Just because the books are on the list doesn’t mean I will read them as soon as they come out. The butterfly effect of reading takes me in all kinds of directions. But there are all books that I am looking forward to reading at some point.

Best Reads of April 2019

I read 9 books in April, for a total of 36 books so far in 2019. I managed to read 130 books in 2018, and my goal this year was for a more modest 100 books because some of the books I had in mind were longer than the average. So I am pretty pleased at my pace, although I would have read significantly more had I not been distracted by two TV series (Lucifer and Bosche).

Here are the books I read in April. The bold titles are the ones I’d recommend:

  • Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson
  • Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger
  • American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley
  • Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro
  • The Path To Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 1 by Robert A. Caro
  • The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner
  • The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
  • The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
  • White by Bret Easton Ellis

I’d say that my favorite book of April was Brinkley’s book American Moonshot. I have read many, many books on the Apollo program specifically and the U.S. space program generally. This is the first one I’ve read that took a political view point of the space race, and I found it very interesting and well-done.

A close second was Clive Thompson’s Coders. Much of what I read in that book described me. I discovered computer programming on a TRS-80 and Vic-20, and learned how to program by copying programs from computer magazines. It was a wonderfully nostalgic book from a tech writer I always enjoy.

I’d planned to read some of the Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly but the TV series got in the way. I’d also planned to read a biography of Cicero, but after re-reading The Dragons of Eden (I first read it in late 1996), I decided to re-read Carl Sagan’s Contact instead. Next week, David McCullough’s new book, The Pioneers comes out, and I’ll probably jump into that as soon as it appears.

The Origin of Consciousness and Other Mind-Bending Subjects

Every now and then I encounter a book that is particularly challenging. Yesterday, for instance, I finished reading The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes. I probably first heard reference to this book through the science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer. But its title has popped up a number of times over the years and I finally decided to give it a go.

The main premise of Jaynes’s argument is that (1) consciousness, as we know it today, did not emerge until about 1000 B.C., and (2) that consciousness emerged as a result of language. I found both the premise and the book one of the more challenging reads I’ve encountered in recent memory. Even so, I found the book fascinating. (Decades ago, I had the same reaction to David Berlinski’s A Tour of the Calculus.)

Jaynes uses, as much of his evidence, references to the language in literature as it evolved over time, with particular focus on The Iliad and The Odyssey as well as the early books of the Bible. He interweaves this evidence with modern brain and psychological experiments. Where I was particularly challenged was in his discussion of things like metafiers, paraphors, and parafiers, and how they relate to the way we think. Try as I might, I couldn’t get these concepts clear in my head.

It got me thinking about the limits of my own understanding. In college, for instance, I found that I had a weakness for economics. At least, I took a required course on macro-economics, and although I attended the lectures, read the text book, and did the assigned homework, I found the subject impenetrable. I came away with a poor grade that reflected my lack of understanding, as to opposed to my lack of effort. I encountered similar blocks with higher math, like integral calculus.

Still, I’ve often turned to books when I can’t understand something, and with few exceptions, it usually helps. Jaynes’s book, while fascinating, is one of those exceptions where I am left feeling more confused (although more intrigued) than before I read it. I have started to re-read Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden as a kind of palliative to this effect. I remember finding that to be an excellent book on the evolution of human intelligence when I first read it in the mid-1990s. But human intelligence is different from human consciousness. I can’t tell if the failure is on my, for a simple inability to follow Jaynes’s arguments, or on Janyes for being unclear.

I suppose it shouldn’t bother me. I read so much that there are bound to be things about which I read that I simply can’t understand. But reading is my primary method of continuing education, and when I can’t understand something, I feel as I did when back in the macro-economics class, working away at the homework, reading the text, and taking in the lectures–and getting nowhere.

Reading Isaac Asimov’s Memoirs

In the spring of 1994 while preparing to graduate from the University of California, Riverside, I read Isaac Asimov’s memoir, I. Asimov for the first time. I knew of Asimov, of course, but I had read very little of his writing at that point. After reading I. Asimov I began to read everything I could find by the Good Doctor, fiction and nonfiction alike. I loved the FOUNDATION series. I particularly enjoyed the dozens of essay collections from Asimov’s science column in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

But the books that impacted me the most were Asimov’s original autobiographies. They were mentioned early in his memoir, I. Asimov as being out-of-print. I managed to locate some good first editions (one of which was signed) at the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood. Unlike the 1994 memoir, which was a kind of topical overview of Asimov’s life, the 2-volume autobiography (In Memory Yet Green, published in 1979, and In Joy Still Felt, published in 1980) totalled something over 1,500 pages wherein Asimov, in his colloquial way, discussed his life in great detail.

It was from these books that I learned how to be a writer. Not how to write, but how to act as a professional writer. I learned about the importance of manuscripts and clean copy, about the relationships between author and editor, about the mechanics of the publishing process, and much more.

Two years later, in 1996, I began a tradition of reading all 3 volumes in the month of April. Asimov died on April 6, 1992, so I would begin I. Asimov on April 1, and try to finish it on April 6. I would then spend the remainder of April reading the two large volumes. I began with I. Asimov because I didn’t want to end my month with Asimov’s death. This tradition became a fixed point in my life, and I eagerly looked forward to the spring because I knew it would be time to read those books.

I never tired of them. I can recall heading over to Swenson’s in Studio City, ordering a chocolate malt, and sitting at a table with In Memory Yet Green, reading it with absolute pleasure while sipping at my shake. Over the years I managed to read these books at least a dozen times, to the point where I had them virtually memorized, but I still sat down to read them each spring. It was like I was sitting down with Asimov, and he was telling me these stories. I could hear his Brooklynese accent in my mind as I read the pages.

The last year in which I read all three was 2007. I had already made my first professional story sales at that point, but my life was soon to change: marriage, followed by the first of my three children. In 2010, I managed to sneak in a reading of just In Joy Still Felt (the 11th time I read the book), and in 2012 I read In Memory Yet Green. But that was it. That was the last time I read any of the Asimov biographies, or any Isaac Asimov books for that matter. My interests had drifted. Between 1996 and 2012 I read Asimov books 137 times. Though I’ve read 400 books since 2012, not one has been by Isaac Asimov.

Until now.

I mentioned that we recently sold our house and bought a new one. It has been an extremely stressful, chaotic and busy 2 months, and I was looking for a way to center myself, now that the hard part was over. I remembered the joy and comfort that Asimov’s autobiographies brought me each spring, and as it happens to be spring now, I thought I’d read the two big books again.

It was easy mainly because we’d packed away a lot of stuff in order to declutter the house for showings. My bookshelves went into storage and the thousand books that rested on them were all boxed up. Fortunately, I had the forethought to record (in Evernote) what was in each box, so it wasn’t difficult to locate what box I needed in order to retrieve the books. The hard part was moving all of the other boxes to get to it.

On Wednesday, cracked open my first edition hardcover of In Memory Yet Green and began to read. It had the intended affect. The years flew away and it was if I was back in that Swenson’s in Studio City, with the book in front of me and chocolate shake off to one side. I am hearing Asimov’s voice again, laughing in all the right places, and soaking in the joy I’ve always taken from those books. I’m only about 80 pages through the first book, but I expect to make it through both of them within the next week or two, and I am so glad I decided to read them again.

Revisiting the Revolution

In fifth grade, we learned American history. I lived in New England at the time, and there was no better place to learn about the American Revolution. Upon a hill in my neighborhood was an old graveyard. It had a stone wall, and among the briers and brambles aging gravestones tilted this way and that. Several of them had rusted markers in front of them indicating that the person buried there fought in the Revolutionary War. They fought in the Revolutionary War. You couldn’t get closer to history than that, not in the fifth grade. It left an impression with me right down to the present. I am fascinated with the period of time surrounding the American Revolution, and the people involved.

Last fall, I read Rush: Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father by Stephen Fried, a wonderful biography of Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, friend of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the man who re-ignited the light of Adams and Jefferson’s friendship after many years. You can’t read about that time period without Rush’s name appearing just about everywhere. Reading in the fall reminded me of how much I enjoy that period.

Last week, I read 1776 by David McCullough, and like Rush’s efforts with Adams and Jefferson, it re-kindled my interest in the American Revolution. Yesterday, I kicked off a diversion into that period once again. I started re-reading John Adams by David McCullough, my third time reading that biography. I first read the book in the summer of 2001, the year it was first published. I happened to be in New England at the time, in Maine, and I remember sitting up until late at night, unable to put the book down.

I read it again a few years ago, uncertain if it would hold up to the original reading. I enjoyed it even more the second time, perhaps because I knew more about the history than I did 18 years ago. The book is my favorite biography, the best one I’ve ever read, and John Adams has been my favorite president ever since I first read the book in 2001. (Note: I don’t claim that Adams was the best president, just my favorite.)

Last year I finally finished Dumas Malone’s 6-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson and His time. A few years earlier I read Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington. But there are still some gaps. I’m kicking off this journey back to the Revolution with John Adams because I love the book. But when that is finished, I plan on reading a few others. These include:

  • Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham. Because I believe it’s good to read more than one biography of a president if possible, and Malone’s biography, while fascinating, is somewhat dated.
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I’ve resisted reading this because Hamilton always came across as an unlikeable character in other biographies I’ve read. Truth is, I know little about him, so I think it’s time to change that.
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham. I’ve read a biography of John Quincy Adams, and it seems that Andrew Jackson is a natural cap to that particular time period. (Also, I visited the Hermitage while on vacation last summer.)

That leaves just two of the first seven president for whom I still need to read a biography: James Madison and James Monroe. I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually.

The other reason I decided to dive back into the American Revolution is to remind myself why there was a revolution in the first place. With all of the craziness going on in the country and around the world today, I feel like I sometimes lose sight why we declared our independence. I have this feeling that if Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hancock, Rush, and many others would be appalled at what we’ve done with the revolution into which they placed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Articles I Read – Week of 10 March 2019

It seems as if my little experiment is working. Nearly 50 days ago, I made a goal of reading one magazine article a day as a way with keeping up with all of the magazines I subscribe to. The idea was that in a given month, there was a combined total of about 30 “feature” articles. Tomorrow with be Day 50, and I feel like I’ve been successful. I managed to get through most of the articles in the March issues I’ve received, and the April issues are just beginning to make their appearances. Here is what I read this week. Bold items are recommended. Some articles may require subscriptions for online reading.

I’ll Get To It Someday

When it comes to book recommendations from friends and family, I’m a poor target. I’ve mentioned this before. No one has a better grasp on what I like to read besides me. Then there’s the butterfly effect of reading. Even if someone whose opinion I trust recommends a book that seems interesting, it might be a while before I get to it.

But, if I think the book sounds interesting, I will get to it eventually. It’s just a matter of time. Sometimes, that can be a long time, and those recommending the book have to be particularly patient. A recent book illustrates this in a rather dramatic way.

Sometime back in 1998, my friend (and boss at the time) recommended two “must-read” books. The first was Consilience by Edward O. Wilson. The second was Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jarod Diamond. Not long after he recommended these books, I went out and bought them, and they proceeded to sit on a shelf and collect dust.

This went on for 21 years. Meanwhile, during that 21 year period, I read 780 books, none of which were Consilience or Guns, Germs, and Steel. Until last week.

Consilience by Edward O. Wilson

On March 2, I started to read Consilience by Edward O. Wilson, and I finished the book on March 5. I was in a lull, and trying to figure out what to read next. I was also in the process of packing up books in preparation to move bookshelves so that the walls can be painted. I saw the book sitting on the shelf, and decided it was time.

Why Consilience and not Guns, Germs, and Steel? Well, I’d read and enjoyed other Edward O. Wilson books, most notably Letters to a Young Scientist.

I enjoyed Consilience, thought it a good book, although I thought the first half was better than the second half. What I found most interesting was that the book was written in the early days of the Internet, when the Human Genome Project was still incomplete. Reading Wilson’s predictions about what that would mean for humanity was interesting when compared with what we see today: 23andMe, and similar companies.

So, the book was recommended to me 21 years ago, but I finally got around to reading it, and I feel pretty good about that. I suspect it will be a while before I get to Guns, Germs, and Steel, however. Once again, that butterfly has flapped its wings. Since Consilience, I’ve read Teacher Man by Frank McCourt, and have now moved onto the David McCullough books that I haven’t already read, beginning with 1776, and continuing with the possibility of re-reading some of his books that I have read, most notably John Adams, which is my favorite biography, and which I have already read at least twice.

Sorry, Jared Diamond, it might be a little while, but I’ll get to it someday.

Articles I Read–Week of 3 March 2019

Several good magazine articles in this week’s reading batch. Here’s what I managed to get through (and my effort to read an article a day has now stretched to 42 days as of yesterday.)

As always, bold titles indicate articles I recommend. An asterisk indicates a subscription may be required to read the article online.

Three Reading Lists

I like to keep some curated reading lists handy for those times when I struggle with what to read next. The three lists I depend on most are:

  1. Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books
  2. Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels
  3. Sports Illustrated’s 100 Best Sports Books

Slowly, I am chipping away at these lists. But I recently went through a patch of what-the-heck-do-I-read-next. After spinning like an unsettled top for a few days, I finally settled on two books that a friend recommended to me more than twenty years ago (yes, it can sometimes be that long before I finally get to recommendations). I’ll have more to say on those two books next week. At the same time, I went to my lists to see if anything looked interest and made a decision.

In addition to my already stated reading goal for 2019, I am going to attempt to get through the top 10 books on each of the three lists by the end of the year. That would be a total of 30 books, but it turns out to be less because I have already read some of them. In 2018, I managed to read 130 books and 30 is a less than a quarter of the total. That is important because of the butterfly effect of reading.

The more I considered this additional reading goal, the more I began to see a bigger picture emerge. I eventually want to get through all the books on the three lists. 300 books is a big commitment all at once, but I’ve learned that slow and steady works well for me. (Hey, I’ve been at this blogging thing since 2005, and managed to accumulate nearly 6,400 posts over that time; slow, but steady.) If I aimed for 10 books from each list over each of the next ten years, I could get through all 300 books on those lists by the end of the next decade (2029). This year I’ll tackle the top ten, next year then next ten, and so on.

Some of the books are hard to come by. I have been slowly collecting Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History, which appears on the Modern Library’s Top 100 Nonfiction Books. Even harder to locate is Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilization in China. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m satisfied for now to tackle the top ten in each list. I may not get through them all (some books just don’t hold my interest), but I’ll try each one.

So, by the end of this year, here are the books that appear on those lists that I am going to tackle. Bold titles indicate I’ve already read the book.

Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books

  1. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
  2. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
  3. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolfe
  5. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  6. Selected Essays by T. S. Eliot
  7. The Double Helix by James D. Watson
  8. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  9. The American Language by H. L. Mencken
  10. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard Keynes

Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce
  2. The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. Brave New World* by Aldous Huxley
  6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  9. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
  10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

*I know that I read The Great Gatsby and Brave New World in high school, but I have virtually no memory of them, and since my official list begins in 1996, I am considering them new and will re-read them.

Sports Illustrated’s 100 Best Sports Books

  1. The Sweet Science by A. J. Liebling
  2. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kohn
  3. Ball Four by Jim Bouton
  4. Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger
  5. You Know Me Al by Ring Larder
  6. A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein
  7. Semi-Touch by Dan Jenkins
  8. Paper Lion by George Plimpton
  9. The Game by Ken Dryden
  10. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

The total comes to 25 books, since I’ve already read five of the 30 books in the combined lists. Given that I managed to read 2o books in the first two months of the year so far, I don’t think that will be much of a problem.

I don’t plan to read them all at once, but spread them around. Ultimately, I am at the mercy of the butterfly effect of reading, so this could go sideways. Only time will tell.