Category Archives: 75 books

2011 Book List and Stats

Number Title Author G
1 How to Train Your Dragon Cressida Cowell A
2 How to Be a Pirate Cressida Cowell B-
3 How to Speak Dragonese Cressida Cowell B
4 How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse Cressida Cowell A
5 How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale Cressida Cowell B
6 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen A
7 Emma Jane Austen A+
8 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen B-
9 Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians Jason Long A-
10 I Love You, Phillip Morris Steve McVicker A
11 God Hates You, Hate Him Back CJ Werleman C
12 The Vile Village Lemony Snicket A
13 The Hostile Hospital Lemony Snicket B+
14 The Carnivorous Carnival Lemony Snicket A
15 The Slippery Slope Lemony Snicket A
16 The Grim Grotto Lemony Snicket B
17 The Penultimate Peril Lemony Snicket B
18 The End Lemony Snicket B
19 Moab is My Washpot Stephen Fry A
20 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins A
21 Catching Fire Suzanne Collins A-
22 Mockingjay Suzanne Collins B
23 Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond A
24 The Blind Side Michael Lewis A-
25 Catch Me If You Can Frank Abignale, Jr. B
26 The Lost Gospel of Judas Bart Ehrman B
27 Forged Bart Ehrman A
28 Monarchy Christopher Hitchens B-
29 Griftopia Matt Taibbi A+
30 The King’s Speech Mark Logue and Peter Conradi A
31 Bossy Pants Tina Fey B
32 Doubt Jennifer Michael Hecht A-
33 The Next Ancient World Jennifer Michael Hecht A
34 Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality Jack Rogers B-
35 Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin Frank Bailey B+
36 The Tudors GJ Meyer B-
37 The Princess of the Midnight Ball Jessica Day George B+
38 The Family Jeff Sharlet B
39 The Invisible Gorilla Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons A
40 Goblin Quest Jim C Hines A-
41 Dragon Slippers Jessica Day George A
42 Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Douglas Adams A
43 Goblin Hero Jim C Hines B
44 Dragon Flight Jessica Day George B
45 The Pluto Files Neal deGrasse Tyson A-
46 Goblin Tales Jim C Hines B+
47 The Men Who Stare at Goats Jon Ronson B
48 Princess of Glass Jessica Day George B+
49 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte A-
50 Goblin War Jim C Hines B
51 The Rise and Fall of the Bible Timothy K Beal C+
52 The Stepsister Scheme Jim C Hines B+
53 Breaking Their Will Janet Heimlich A
54 Them, Adventures with Extremists Jon Ronson A
55 Rabbit-Proof Fence Doris Pilkington A
56 Dragon Spear Jessica Day George B
57 The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins A
58 The Ancestors Tale Richard Dawkins A
59 Towards a Rhetoric of Insult Thomas Conley A
60 Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer A+
61 Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys Don A Dillman A
62 Artemis Fowl 2: The Arctic Incident Eoin Colfer A-
63 The God Delusion Richard Dawkins A-
64 Artemis Fowl 3: The Eternity Code Eoin Colfer B
65 Artemis Fowl 4: The Opal Deception Eoin Colfer B+
66 Artemis Fowl 5: The Lost Colony Eoin Colfer A
67 The Rogue Joe McGinniss A+
68 Artemis Fowl 6: The Time Paradox Eoin Colfer B-
69 The Humanist Approach to Happiness Jen Hancock D
70 God, No! Penn Jillette A-
71 Percy Jackson 1: The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan A
72 Percy Jackson 2: Sea of Monsters Rick Riordan B
73 Percy Jackson 3: Titan’s Curse Rick Riordan A
74 Percy Jackson 4: Battle of the Labyrinth Rick Riordan A-
75 Percy Jackson 5: The Last Olympian Rick Riordan B
76 Heroes of Olympus 1: The Lost Hero Rick Riordan A-
77 I Shall Wear Midnight Terry Pratchett A+
78 Snuff Terry Pratchett A
79 Bromeliad 1: Truckers Terry Pratchett B+
80 Bromeliad 2: Diggers Terry Pratchett B+
81 Bromeliad 3: Wings Terry Pratchett B+
82 Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture Susan Murray and Lauren Ouellete A-
83 Heroes of Olympus 2: Son of Neptune Rick Riordan B+
84 Carpet People Terry Pratchett B
85 The Blind Watchmaker Richard Dawkins A-
86 Bad Science Ben Goldacre A
87 Matilda Roald Dahl A+
88 The Witches Roald Dahl A
89 The Twits Roald Dahl B+
90 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl A-
91 Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Roald Dahl B
92 The Fantastic Mr. Fox Roald Dahl B
93 Freak Show James St. James A+
94 Aunts Are Not Gentlemen PG Wodehouse A
95 Flatland Edwin A Abbott B
96 Charlotte’s Web EB White A
97 Fleetwood Mac: The Definitive History Mike Evans A
98 Happy Accidents Jane Lynch B+
99 Jeeves in the Offing PG Wodehouse A
100 Thank You, Jeeves PG Wodehouse A

Fiction: 62
-YA/Kids: 38
-Classics: 5

Non-Fiction: 38
-Religion: 12

GPA: 3.5

Worst Book:
Jen Hancock’s The Humanist Approach to Happiness D

A+ Books:
Emma – Jane Austen
Griftopia – Matt Taibbi
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
The Rogue – Joe McGinniss
I Shall Wear Midnight – Terry Pratchett
Matilda – Roald Dahl
Freak Show – James St. James

75 Books 36-40: Meyer, George, Sharlet, Chabris and Simons, Hines

I have just finished book 41, which puts me a bit ahead of the game for the year.  Which is good since TAM will be a non-reading sort of a place.  Though the flights will be good reading time.


36. The Tudors – GJ Meyer

This is a history of the entirety of the Tudors, which in reality isn’t that big —  just over 100 years.  Henry 7, 8, Edward 6, Mary, and Elizabeth.  Unfortunately, despite claiming to be a history of all the Tudors, it was probably 3/4ths devoted to Henry VIII.  There was almost nothing about Henry VII, and not nearly enough on Edward, Mary, or Elizabeth.  I appreciate that there’s a lot written about all of them elsewhere, but the comprehensive claim the book makes is absurd.  It should have been called Henry VIII and Family.

One thing I really liked about the book was that between each chapter about the Tudors, there was a chapter giving background on general life in England or Europe at the time.  It was very helpful.  I also liked the fact that, unlike most writers, Meyer had a fairly negative view of the Tudors — a very interesting shift in perspective.


37. Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George

I have two favorite fairy tales: Donkey Skin and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  This is based on the latter.  The book is fairly similar to the original telling, just much expanded.  I enjoyed George’s writing style, and I particularly liked how much she weaved knitting into the story.  Seriously, the book has knitting patterns in the back for the knitting that took place within the story.  Goofy?  Yes.  Awesome?  Probably.


38. The Family – Jeff Sharlet

I have been reading this for like 4 months.  It is a slog, and incredibly depressing.  Not bad, mind you, just dense.  The book follows three basic stories: the rise of fundamentalism, the power the family has in American and World Politics, and the importance of political power to Christianity.  I particularly enjoyed the parts about Ted Haggard, who was an even bigger player behind the scenes than I had realized, and Hillary Clinton, who I am horrified to know actually has worked with the Family on numerous occasions.  As Sharlet says, in the US there is only one party, they just are smart enough to pretend like people have choices.  The information is important, but not terribly well-organized, and it can be difficult to read at times.  It seems to flop back and forth between third and first person too much.


39. The Invisible Gorilla – Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Non-fiction usually takes me a long time to get through.  I guess because there’s no plot, or maybe because writers don’t think they have to be entertaining or provide forward motion for a book that’s mostly about facts.  This book was the first non-fiction book I’ve read in a while that was easy to get through.  It’s a fascinating exploration of how terrible our minds are at a lot of different things.  We’re bad at noticing unexpected things we aren’t paying attention to, we’re bad at remembering things accurately, we’re bad at differentiating between confidence and skill — our intuition about our brains is usually wrong.

They talk about film editing and continuity, which I found very interesting because we know we can get away with a lot.  When you’re editing, particularly non-scripted, you use a lot of stuff that has horrible continuity errors.  Have people talking to each other when they’re not even in the same room, cut to a different day and pretend it’s the same one because the shirts look close enough, cut from the exterior of one car to the interior of a different car.  We do some blatant crap in the editing room, and it’s almost always missed.

Another interesting thing about this book is that, during this whole Elevatorgate thing, Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear has come up a few times.  I was required to read the book for a self-defense class I took in college.  It was, I thought, fairly useful — though depressing, since it was basically aimed at women because women need to be vigilant at all times.  It is truly a gripping book, but it talks a lot about relying on intuition, which is sort of funny next to a book that says how wrong our intuitions are.  I suppose when in a situation where you feel threatened, it’s better to get out of it than to try to clinically dissect whether you’re being reasonable or not.

Not that The Invisible Gorilla really addresses anything like that, it’s just fairly anti-intuition.  Anyway, the book was a fantastic read, and I recommend it highly.  Particularly to anyone who thinks they’ve got an accurate memory.


40. Goblin Quest – Jim C Hines

This book is like reading a Dungeons & Dragons game play out, except it doesn’t suck.  I know, that’s very confusing to you, it was confusing for me too.  Basically, in a sort of Pratchett-esque way, it tells a very good adventure quest story while making fun of all of the conventions of adventure quest stories.  Sort of meta like that.  It was very entertaining, easy to read, and my only real disappointment with it was the ending, which I felt was abrupt and unnecessarily got rid of interesting characters.  The interesting characters only matters because there are sequels.  I did like that the end sort of emphasized how miserable it is to return to your small life after living a larger than life adventure.  It’s difficult to grow and change and have everyone you know stay the same.  I’m upset that my library has only the first and last in the series.  I’m going to have to buy the middle one.


75 Books 26-30: Ehrman, Hitchens, Taibbi, Logue and Conradi

26. The Lost Gospel of Judas – Bart Ehrman

This book is very similar to most of Ehrman’s other books, but it focuses a bit on the Gospel of Judas.  It’s an interesting subject, if only because seriously, Judas had to do what he did for Jesus to save humanity, so why is it that he isn’t praised rather than condemned?  I didn’t love the book, but it was pretty good.  B

27. Forged – Bart Ehrman

I loved this book, it felt more focused than some of his other work.  I cannot over recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of the Bible. A

28. Monarchy – Christopher Hitchens

This barely qualifies as a book, but I’m counting it because it took me over a month to get my hands on it.  I had to have it shipped from an out-of-state library.  It wasn’t that great, if only because anti-monarchy arguments are fairly, you know, obvious.  It was interesting to see how Hitch wrote 20 years ago, though. B-

29. Griftopia – Matt Taibbi

Read this.  Right now.  Not even kidding.  The most fascinating read about the financial crisis and melt down and who is to blame for it.  I learned a lot about Alan Greenspan who I now despise.  Also, he makes fun of Ayn Rand, which really always makes me happy.  I feel obligated to find and read a lot more Taibbi. A+

We live in an economy that is immensely complex and we are completely at the mercy of the small group of people who understand it — who incidentally often happen to be the same people who built these wildly complex economic systems. We have to trust these people to do the right thing, but we can’t, because, well, they’re scum. Which is kind of a big problem, when you think about it.

30. The King’s Speech – Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

Pretty good, interesting to see the actual history and how it got changed and consolidated for the film.  Very very good.