(lightly edited for grammar in 2024)

Books I read in 1999 - 2005

The following is from a small notebook I kept between around 8th and 11th grade.  Notes in parenthesis are original notes, written roughly around the time when the book was read.  It's either a lot or not that many depending how you look at it.

1999 - 2000 (6th - 7th grade)
20,000 Leauges Under the Sea by Jules Verne **
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne **
* </b>(My  fav. book. Very Exciting!)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis *** </b>(I read 6/7 books. Voyage of the Dawn Trader was my fav.)
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien (400pgs) **

Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov (250pgs) **
(Very good - obeying the laws of physics, men travel into the human body. Made into a movie)
Fantastic Voyage II&nbsp by Isaac Asimov (250pgs) * (Didn’t live up to FV1. Men travel into the brain.)
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (250pgs) **
* (Science fiction classic. Very slow moving) (read 2-3 times)
Second Foundation by Issac Asimov (250pgs)
Robots & Empire by Isaac Asimov (250pgs) * (didn’t finish)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens *** (boring; but worth reading to increase vocab., etc)
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
** (very good suspense novel! Slow moving plot, but always interesting story about rebel Soviet submarine commander headed for Cuba in an old sub)
White Fang by Jack London *** (About a maltreated dog/wolf)
Call of the Wild by Jack London **
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton **
Sphere by Michael Crichton **
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain **

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
(my favorite Twain book….)
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sherlock Holmes (my fav. Holmes..beause of length, suspense, and scary parts)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
(English class)
Down River by John Hart (English class)
In my Father’s House  by Ann Rinaldi
(English class)
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (English class)
The Giver by Lois Lowry**
 (English class) (Fantasy, about society without pain or emotions)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee **
</b> Summer of 2000
(from a reading report I submitted. I wrote brief plot summaries of each for credit.)
Seven Summits by Dick Bass & Frank Wells
(336pgs) ****
Lord Brocktree by Brain Jacques (416pgs) **** (Redwall series)
Salamdanstron by Brian Jacques (391pgs) **
(Redwall series)
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Marten
(208pgs) **
Wake Island Pilot by Brig. Gen. Jhon F. Kinney (181 pgs) **

Smokey the Cowhorse by Will James (310pgs) **
The Ark of Noah  (194 pgs) **
(didn’t read entirely)
Mossflower by Brian Jacques (425pgs) **
** (Redwall series)
A Study in Scarlet & Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle **

2002-2003  (8th - 10th grade) (notes in parenthesis were written at that time)
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(200pgs) **
(very good, suprising end)
High Adventure by Sir Edmund Hillary ** (first hand account of 1st Everest Summit)
The Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde * (slow, quaint, boring predictable ending. French lit)
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
Prey by Michael Crichton
Jupiter by Ben Bova
Star Trek: The Abode of Life
Foundation and Empire
by Isaac Asimov
2nd Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke
The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton
Tuck Everlasting by Natali Babbet
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Star Trek: Unification
A Brief History of Time
by Stephen Hawking
Kidnapped! by Robert Lewis Stephenson **
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie </b>
Sink the Bismark!  by E.M. Forester
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
(was so long that by the time I got to pg. 400 I switched to the condensed version and finished it up in 25 pages, instead of an additional 250)
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

2004 (10th - 11th grade)

The Time Machine </i>by H.G. Wells
The DeVinci Code by Dan Brown
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
(HS English)
A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemmingway
1984 by George Orwell (HS English)
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain
(HS English)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Frederick Douglas
Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck 
(HS English)
The Color of Water by James McBride
(HS English)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
(Sci-Fi classic! **
Star Trek: Log 1 by James Blish
Tooth & Nail
(SAT Prep Book)

2005 (11th-12th grade)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
(HS English)
Brave New World by A. Huxley
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Time Hoppers by Robert Silverberg

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss

Books I Read in 2006
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brian (HS English)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (HS English)
The Mysterious Island
by Jules Verne
The Caves of Steel
by Issac Asimov
Pebble in the Sky by Issac Asimov
A Confederacy of Dunces
by James Kennedy Toole
A Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller, Jr

Books I Read in 2007
Dr. Crypton & His Problems
by Dr. Crypton
by Carl Sagan
Lucky Star & the Oceans of Venus
by Isaac Asimov
God and the New Physics by Paul Davies
Seeing in the Dark
by Timothy Ferris
The Stranger
by Albert Camus

Books I Read in 2008
Feynman's Rainbow
by Leonard Mlodinow
The Meaning of it All
by Richard Feynman
The Selfish Gene
by Richard Dawkins
The Revolution: A Manifesto
by Ron Paul
What do You Care What Other People Think?
by Richard Feynman
My Brain is Open: the Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos by Bruce Schechter 
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald (2nd reading)
Flatland : A Romance of Dimensions
by Edwin A. Abbot
3001: The Final Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau 
Learn Faster and Remember More by Allen Bragdon and David Gamon
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
The Communist Manifesto
(pamphlet) by Karl Mark and Frederich Engels
by Jean Paul Sarte

Books I Read in 2009
The End of Faith
by Sam Harris
Tao te Ching by Lao-tzu
QED : The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Feynman
Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

The Singularity is Near
by Ray Kurzweil
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Books I Read in Spring 2010
The Trouble With Physics by Lee Smolin
-- This book was a bit long-winded, but was pretty interesting. It touched on the history and some of the basic postulates of string theory. The overview of modern physics was pretty mediocre and uninspired. The history of string theory was long winded and not very memorable. The impression one gets is the field has been plagued by extremely difficult (and dull) calculations. The the most interesting part of this book was the last quarter, which discussed the culture of science and the way string theory now dominates fundamental research. He also discusses how revolutionary thinking is not encouraged by the establishment and makes some suggestions as to new directions. Sean Carroll's review of the book reflects my overall opinion about the book. He sharply criticized the book's treatment of string theory but praised the social analysis. He lamented that the public would probably miss the point of the social analysis but be misled by the harsh criticisms of string theory.

Neuromancer by William Gibson (2nd reading)
[See my review](https://www.moreisdifferent.com/2010/03/01/neuromancer/)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick
-- I found this to be a very worthwhile read. It explains some aspects of Blade Runner that are not apparent -- for instance why there are artificial animals (most real animals died due to nuclear contamination). The book spends quite a bit of time on the notion of artificial animals and uses them in an allegorical fashion. It differs largely from the movie in its tone which is satirical and not "neo-noir". The plot also diverges somewhat towards the second half. Overall it is an enjoyable quick read.

The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose
--In my opinion this is one of the best popular science books on the market. I sort of glossed over some of the quantum material but otherwise it was very engrossing.

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Give me a Break by John Stossel
--This book is quite biased and from I've heard has some factual errors. I honestly don't remember much about it other than that it was somewhat sensational and very engrossing. John Stossel certainly is a maverick and one of the only true libertarians in the mainstream media. He talks about how he changed from a critic of corporations to a critic of government. He makes some good points and gives a lot of specific cases that he has encountered during his journalistic investigations.  It is perhaps reading for the interesting cases which show how government policies can have many unexpected effects contrary to their intention. He argues against institutions such as gov't education, the FDA and EPA, arguing that the free-market and tort system can do a better job. However, since he bases his arguments only on specific cases he encountered, they remain weak. His discussion of the need for tort (lawsuit) reform is interesting, in particular his comparison with the European system, where plaintiff pays the defendant's legal fees if they loose.

Count Zero by William Gibson

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
--When I have time I will write a long review on this. As you probably know, its a very long novel. (longer than War and Peace) I've read that die-hard fans recommend breaking it into sections. That is a good idea because she repeats her basic philosophical points many times and the long-winded monologs can get kind of tiresome. That is basically what I ended up doing since since I stopped reading about 400 pages in in 2008,  then almost 2 years later I picked it up and read the remaining 690 pages. Some parts I really loved and some parts I found rather tedious. Overall I enjoyed it.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

The Petite Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

by Hermann Hesse
--This is a really interesting book. It starts out as a depressing existential novel but twists into a more hedonistic form, finally resolving itself in the most bizarre way. Hard to explain in brief. According to Wikipedia it borrows some ideas from Eastern philosophy. </p>

Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma by Jeremy Bernstein
--This is a nice enjoyable biography that has the merit of being relatively short ~220pgs. I won't delve into the story, but he had a fairly interesting life.

Mona Lisa Overdrive
by William Gibson
--I felt Mona Lisa Overdrive was substantially better than Count Zero. It had an engaging plot, a ton of interesting characters and a lot of jaw-dropping action. I mean, the entire plot interweaved between 4 frames of reference, climaxing in a long complex denouement, set amongst a ruined industrial complex. And it involved computer hackers, robots, and a young female protagonist. A great combination no doubt. His prose remains "finely polished" -- "gleaming" one might say. He continues to explore some of the themes in Neuromancer, most notably "sim-stim" (simulated stimulation, ie. virtual reality, (what people watch instead of TV)) and bodily modification. (btw, here's a song by Juno Reactor called "Mona Lisa Overdrive" that was used in the Matrix.)

The Brain: the Final Frontier
by Richard M. Restak

Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
--This was a really enjoyable read. I highly recommend this for anyone curious about Einstein. It provides the entire picture, giving his human side, his philosophic side, his political side and his scientific side without watering down the philosophy or the science. Even though Isaacson is a journalist, he presents excellent descriptions of the science -- he really did a lot of research for this book and consulted with a lot of physicists.  Isaacson is very careful to avoid the biases of earlier biographies. He presents Einstein's strengths without patronizing and his weaknesses without being overly cynical or disingenuous. He seeks to explain some of the contradictions in his life, such as why he failed to get a professorship but ended up doing revolutionary physics, and why he preferred to work alone but at the same time embraced his role as a world famous pop-icon. And finally, the question of why he was revolutionary in his youth but reactionary in old age. Overall, it is a very loving and balanced treatment of his life. Highly recommended.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
--This is another great book by Vonnegut. In his self-appraisal Vonnegut ranked it third after Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five and I tend to agree.  Here he deals with the issues of American greed and "what to do about the poor" using his black satire. Great fun. (8/31/10)

Virtual Light
by William Gibson
--Virtual Light is a "cracking good yarn". People magazine called it "both exhilarating and terrifying". That was exactly how I felt while I was reading it, and I feel that apt description Gibson's books in general.  His prose has evolved slightly as well, one might say it has softened a bit.. it seemed to flow easier than the Sprawl trilogy, although part of that may be that I'm getting more acquainted his writing style. The characters were interesting and he kept the plot moving along nicely. The best thing about this book though was the sociological phenomena he investigates through the narrative. I mean, this is a thinking-person's book. This is not , as some would blow it off to be, another techno-thriller ala late Michael Crichton. No, beneath the glam, hyperbole and action sequences there are some real issues Gibson is exploring.  And as if it wasn't already obvious Gibson wanted to study sociological phenomena in this book, one of the characters is actually a Japanese sociologist visiting California to see "The Bridge". The Bridge is a fixture in this book and the two that GIbson wrote next -- the three together are known as "The Bridge Trilogy". At first, I was incredulous about the entire concept. But once it was explained I found myself fascinated. In brief, the idea is that after a mega-earthquake, a the San Francisco-Oakland bridge is shut down and left in disrepair. Eventually, masses of derelicts break through the barb-wire and take over the bridge, turning into a massive living space. Crudely speaking, you could call it a "shanty town", but it's actually a lot more. Gibson introduces the obscure Japanese notion of a "Thomasson" (an actual term) to describe monuments that serve no purpose but as sociological artifacts. He discusses street life amongst message couriers, a real inner-city subculture that he researched. The female protagonist, Chevette, is a courier and seems to be a type for the girl in Snow Crash. There are some interesting looks at religion and the government as well. Finally, I've noticed a technique Gibson uses to make his characters seem believable -- he analyzes thing at their intelligence level -- sometimes with humorous results. To give too examples, the male protagonist (Rydell) is looking at an old calendar of a man riding a horse. Below it it says "Courrier and Ives", and he wonders which one is the horse. Another example is when Chevette thinks Billy Holliday must be a guy. Finally, to compare this with the Sprawl trilogy, I would say it is quite similar, but his vision of the future has been updated. It is safe to say that Gibson became more interested in analyzing contemporary society in his books--to the extent that his latest books are not science fiction at all. (this is partly due, no doubt, to the actual realization of Gibson's world).  Still, compared to Neuromancer, there are no far-flung space platforms, consol cowboys, or God-like AI. Instead, there is virtual reality, l33t hackers and a lot of teeming, disease-riddled masses. (Some themes he continues to explore are drug use and mercenary police, in this case private security forces vs. government police). Overall, it was a great read and quite thought provoking. I feel like I've begun to look at society differently as well. (its a subtle change in worldview, kindof scary.. people desperate to "belong" to some social group... hence social movements emerge chaotically.. certain people/institutions manipulate technology to control the masses.) (9/8/10)

Books I'm reading:
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
Consciousness Explained
by Daniel Dennett

--Daniel Dennett begins this book by explaining how he got hooked on the mind-body problem in college. Now 35 years later, he claims he's made progress and it's certainly true. I was soon blown away in the first chapter when he explained dreams. He offered a reasonable explanation based on simple facts about the brain. I won't go into it here, but it can be explained quite simply in a few minutes. It basically involves a "guessing" game going on where the brain is guessing what random electrical fluctuations are in the brain.
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Moby-Dick by Hermann Melville

Books I started reading but haven't finished:
Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter
The Bible by Saint Paul et al.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol (?)
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The Case for Mars by Zubrin
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Fredrick Nietzsche (still need to read part III)

Books I want to read:
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Brothers Karamazorov
by F.D.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
e and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A History of Wes
tern Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Time by Mark Haddon (?)
Anna Karenna by Leo Tolstoy
Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
A Fire Upon the Deep by Victor Vinge
Something by Haru Murakami
The Diamond Age (and other books) by Neil Stephenson
Nietzsche :.  various
Science : a Candle in a Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Walden by H.D. Thoreau
The Art of Intrusion by Kevin Mitnick

Books I stopped reading...
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon is AMAZING. I mean, the name alone is freakin awesome. This is the seminal work in postmodernism. Now only if I had time to read it!
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant (?)
Inward Bound by Abraham Pais
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman
The Nature and Growth of Modern Mathematics by Edna E. Cramer (very long..)