For the last several years, I have been doing my book reading systematically. Always one book at a time, always reading straight through from beginning to end, always alternating fiction and non fiction. Here is my list of books I have read recently, starting with the one I am currently reading, and heading back. I have kept track in this way since 1997. I will slowly fill in this webpage with the books going back until 1997. (I did not do the comments contemporanously before Apr 2002, so as I fill in the earlier years, the comments will be more sparse.)


Books read in 2003
# Date Finished Pages Days Rate (p/d) Book Comments
1 4 May 2003 366 172 2 GRE Exam 2003
by Kaplan
In fall of 2002, I decided to take the GRE again.  I had last taken it about 10 years previously.  So I decided to get an Exam book.  I got it, and moved it up in my pile way ahead of where it should have been.  But I still didn't get to it until long after I had taken the test.  So by the time I was reading it, it was rather pointless, and I was unmotivated.  BOY was I unmotivated.  This probably has a few good tips if you are actually studying for the test.  But I was not.  I was just reading it to read it.  And let me tell you, on its own, without actually prepping for a test, it is BORING.  I struggled through it.  In the end I started skimming sample questions instead of reading them and trying them in detail.  And I ended up only very quickly skimming over the sample tests and answer keys instead of reading every word.  I felt ashamed for not having read everything completely.  But I had to move on, or this would be the only book I read the whole year!  As it was, I only manged to force myself to average two pages a day!  Oh well!
Books read in 2002
# Date Finished Pages Days Rate (p/d) Book Comments
16 14 Nov 2002 761 90 8 Blue Mars
by Kim Stanley Robinson
This is the third and hopefully last book in Kim Stanlet Robinson's "Mars" series.  The first book I really enjoyed.  The middle book was OK.  But by the time I got to this last one, even after a long break since the one before it, I really could not get into.  It seemed to drag and go on and on.  I eventually got through it, but it felt like a chore.And the ending was dissapointing.
15 17 Aug 2002 96 1 96 Who Moved My Cheese?
by Spencer Johnson
This was given as a gift from management at work.  The book has a few basically obvious observations about change and how to deal with it, which is fine.  And it was fun and not bad.  Something that people going through change could pass amoungst each other.  But given from management on the eve of major reorgs and layoffs...  No, that is just wrong.  It comes off as being increadibly self serving, insensitive, and manipulative, regardless of whatever well meaning intentions may have been present.
14 17 Aug 2002 344 12 29 A Spell for Chameleon
by Piers Anthony
The first of the Xanth novels, basically a fantasy adventure plus lots of puns combination.  It was entertaining, made me laugh a bit.  And I found I didn't quite remember exactly all of the surprises, although I did remember some things from the first times I'd read it may years back.  It was OK.  Not sure if I would go through with reading the other 24 books in the series though.  Might be a bit too much.
13 6 Aug 2002 325 60 5
by Frederick Newell
This was written at the height of the internet bubble and describes in detail the benefits of CRM, and specifically CRM using the Internet as a catalyst.  It was amusing to read all of the pronouncements about how everything would change with the internet.  Some have, some haven't.  And eventually most things will, but reading the perspective of a couple years ago was amusing.  Also though, reading everything from the perspective of a marketer also continued to convince me that I have to get out of marketing.  The whole mindset of the whole thing just borthers me.
12 8 Jun 2002 215 13 17 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
How can you beat 42 and Marvin? This was shorter than I remembered it, and I remembered so much of it that some of the freshness and surprise that you can get when you first read it was gone, but it was still amusing and funny. Definately a classic.
11 27 May 2002 127 7 18 The Bachelor Home Companion
by P.J. O'Rourke
Al got me this book as a present. I think it is supposed to be humorous, but all the suggestions sounded completely reasonable to me. Seriously though, it was pretty funny, and I did see a lot of myself in it. Good funny quick read.
10 21 May 2002 222 4 56 To Your Scattered Bodies Go
by Philip Jose Farmer
OK, this series of SciFi from my childhood is actually getting a little tiresome, I'm starting to want some variety again. But in itself this Book 1 of the Riverworld series is still a good book. An interesting idea, all of humanity is ressurected, but not the sort of heaven or hell anybody expected, but instead a manufactured world controled by a mysterios conspiracy. Our hero, Sir Richard Burton, starts a quest to find out what is going on. Interesting premise, interesting world, interesting juxtoposition of historical figures.
9 18 May 2002 224 1 224 Divine Help
by Saint Matthew's Churches
This came in the mail one day, and went straight into my pile. I was too embarrassed to go out in public with it, so I quickly read the whole thing in one sitting before heading out for dinner. This thing is a shamable scam. Supposedly a self-help book full of prayers, it is in fact just a bunch of stories of people who supposedly got "gold books" from the publisher and proceeded to have money come to them and other things in their lives. The "gold books" appear to be pledge books for "donations". "Be sure to send in your gold book pledge before paying your other bills!" it says a few times. Shameful and disgusting.
8 18 May 2002 216 4 54 Inherit the Stars
by James P Hogan
Another in the SF from my childhood series. This is basically a scientific detective novel, where you follow the progress of a scientific team as they try to figure out how a million year old dead body showed up on the moon. It was enjoyable, but didn't hold quite the same magic as when I read it as a child. Mainly, I knew the answers to all the questions, remembering them from years ago. But it was still OK.
7 15 May 2002 288 26 11 Fly! User Manual
by Terminal Reality Inc
This was interesting to read for some of the background on the various planes and basic flight instruction. But I don't currently have the program installed on my computer, and even if I did I don't have the extra equipment to make it realistic. So it wasn't perhaps as compelling as it could have been if combined with those things. But, as I said, it had some interesting basics about the various planes and how to fly them.
6 20 Apr 2002 255 20 13 Pilgramage: The Book of the People
by Zenna Henderson
Another in the series of old SF books from my childhood that I am rereading. Pilgramage is a book about lost and lonely people finding their way home. It is a theme that for whatever reasons really gets to me. Of these books that I am rereading, so far this one is the one that I enjoyed the most.
5 1 Apr 2002 292 14 21 Providence
by Will D. Campbell
This is the history of Providence Plantation, in Missisippi. For a period of that history my grandfather was the doctor there until they were chased out of town. Because of the family history, it was extremely interesting to me.
4 19 Mar 2002 206 5 41 I, Robot
by Isaac Asimov
The first in the chronological sequence of Asimov's Robot/Foundation books. I thought I'd give them a new try. I thought the best short story of the bunch was the first one, "Robbie".
3 15 Mar 2002 288 14 20 Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
by Joseph J. Ellis
This was a book of vignettes of various episodes during the history of the period immediately after the American Revolution. When I started it the style it is written in just wasn't quite doing it for me, but it grew on me. And overall I enjoyed the book. I particularly enjoyed the various sections about Madison.
2 2 Mar 2002 183 8 23 A Wizard of Earthsea
by Ursula K. LeGuin
I had read this book as child, and wanted to reread it for the first time since then. It held up decently well. It is the story of a child wizard growing up. In this first volume of the series he discovers his powers, goes to wizard school, and then goes off to fight (literally) a personal demon. It was fun to read again, as I read I slowly remembered the story, even though it had been decades since I last read it.
1 23 Feb 2002 759 59 13 The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
by H. W. Brands
I of course had heard the various things about Ben Franklin had done on the highest levels that one gets at school, but this was the first time I read something more in depth and detailed about him. I was absolutely facinated by the whole book. It read quickly and easily. On every page I learned more and filled out details of this increadibly interesting and varied life.
Books read in 2001
# Date Finished Pages Days Rate (p/d) Book Comments
17 27 Dec 2001 479 18 26 The Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R.Tolkien
I was of course rereading this in preparation for the release of the movie. I didn't quite finish before seeing the movie. This is of course a classic, and I enjoyed it as much this time as on any of my previous readings.
16 10 Dec 2001 191 27 7 Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life
by Watch Tower
This was a little booklet that was pawned off on my by a couple of those door to door religious freaks. Normally I don't answer the door if I wasn't expecting someone, but I thought it was a package I was expecting. I took their book and they went away. Of course the book went in my pile and I eventually read it. It started out fairly normal, but got increasingly "out there" as it went along. By the end I was completely convinced that while well meaning, these folks were definately way off the deep end.
15 14 Nov 2001 304 17 18 The Hobbit
by J.R.R.Tolkien
Rereading this because the movies were coming out. No movie of the Hobbit, but still background. This is the most kid-oriented of the middle earth books. But it still holds up. It was fun to read it again, although I was constantly doing so with a mind toward what I knew would happen in subsequent books, looking for the little hints of things to come.
14 29 Oct 2001 638 70 9 Design of Library Automation Systems
by Michael D. Cooper
Reni gave this to me as a gift, thinking it would be useful for the sort of things we were doing at work related to taxonomies. By the time I got to actually read it, the taxonomy thing was long gone from work. But the book really didn't get into the theoretical problems in classification, but was much more into the details of implementing the low-level details of a working system. And all based on really old technological assumptions (pre-web, pre-standardized databases). So it was interesting as a curiousity, but not really helpful to anything I was doing at work. Sorry Reni. It's the thought that counts though. :-)
13 21 Aug 2001 535 45 12 Dune
by Frank Herbert
Dune is a classic.  What more can you say.  Lots of depth, lots of detail, and a good story too.  It had been many years since I read it.  I enjoyed it a lot.
12 8 Jul 2001 193 41 5 Building Enterprise Information Architectures
by Melissa A. Cook
I am writing this over a year after I read it, so my memory is not sharp.  But I do remember thinking that the approach mentioned, while being logical and making a lot of sense, was something that was more applicible in various other areas, rather than in the content management space in which I was hoping to also apply the principles.  There are certainly overlaps, but there are enough differences to make the concepts not directly applicible.
11 29 May 2001 160 30 5 The Master Mind of Mars
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Book 6 in the "Martian Tales".  This is pulp science fiction from the 1920's.  It is pretty much mindless pap.  It can be fun though, as long as you completely suspend all rational thought, try to think like a 10 year old, and enjoy it as just a random adventure romp.  That's all it is though.  So you really have to have the right mindset going in to enjoy it.
10 30 Apr 2001 202 17 12 Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
by Louis Rosenfeld & Peter Morville
This was THE Information Architecture book for the web.  By the time I read it in 2001 though, it was about 3 years old, which is forever in Internet terms.  There was still a lot that was relevant in terms of general concepts, a lot of which I had been practicing already.  But I was a little dissapointed by just HOW outdated it felt.  Time after time as I read it, I was wishing for a more up to date version that addressed some of the issues introduced by the advancing capabilities of the web and of the increasingly marketing oriented nature as opposed to information providing nature of what I was working on.  A second edition was published in 2002, but I have not read that one.
9 14 Apr 2001 255 24 11

Brother Cadfael's Penance
by Ellis Peters

My mom gave this to me as a present.  It is the 20th and last of a series of mysteries with the main character being Brother Cadfael, a mideval priest.  In this one he goes to rescue someone who is secretly his son.  It did stand alone, but I still wish my mom had given me the FIRST book in the series rather than the last!  I did order the first to go into my reading pile and do the series in order eventually.