Reading List 2013

Of the 81 books I read this year, the one I enjoyed most was Jill Paton Walsh’s remarkably good revival of Dorothy Sayers’s famous characters in A Presumption of Death, followed by Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile. The
worst book I read this year was, without question, Isaac Asimov’s Forward the Foundation,
which is one of those ill-considered prequels that makes one wonder how the author ever managed to write the books that inspired them in the first place. I couldn’t even bring myself to start the third book in the trilogy, which was so dreadful that it almost caused me to reconsider the merits of the original Foundation trilogy. The
most disappointing book was Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery. It wasn’t bad or poorly written, (in fact, it was remarkably well-researched), but it was unpleasant, the protagonist was a cipher, the literary device employed was both irritating and unnecessary, and there was little point to the plot itself other than to provide a creative explanation for the authorship of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

On the non-fiction side, I read a number of truly excellent books this year. Rothbard’s An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Vol I is an epic must-read for anyone with any interest in economics, (I’m halfway through Volume II now), and Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile articulated some very important concepts towards which I’d been fumbling over the last ten years. I finally got around to actually reading Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in its entirety, and re-reading Mere Christianity was, as always, both thought-provoking and encouraging. However, PJ O’Rourke’s Don’t Vote It Just Encourages The Bastards read as if it had been phoned in; either O’Rourke has lost his fastball or his effervescent conservativism was fatally discouraged by the Bush ’43 administration.

Keep in mind these ratings are not necessarily statements about a book’s
significance or literary quality, they are merely casual observations of how much I
happened to enjoy reading the book at the time. 

An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Vol I, Murray Rothbard
Panzer Commander, Hans von Luck
My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok 
A Presumption of Death, Jill Paton Walsh
Antifragile, Nassim Taleb
Mere Christianity, CS Lewis
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn
Dune, Frank Herbert
Children of Dune, Frank Herbert
Inherit the Stars, James Hogan
1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
Il Cavaliere Inesistante, Italo Calvino
Scoop, Evelyn Waugh
King Rat, China Mieville
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
Officers and Gentlemen, Evelyn Waugh 
Red Country, Joe Abercrombie
Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, PG Wodehouse
Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino
Five Red Herrings, Dorothy Sayers
Clouds of Witness, Dorothy Sayers
Spellbound, Larry Correia 
Warbound, Larry Correia
Monster Hunter International, Larry Correia
Defense of the Divine Revelation against the Objections of the Freethinkers, Leonhard Euler
The Art of Game Design, Jesse Schell
The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, James Hogan
Giant’s Star, James Hogan
In Search of Stupidity, Rick Chapman

The Theory of Money and Credit, Ludwig von Mises 
Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams
The Meaning of It All, Richard Feynman 
Vile Bodies, Evelyn Waugh 
Sharpe’s Battle, Bernard Cornwell 
Sharpe’s Company, Bernard Cornwell 
Sharpe’s Sword, Bernard Cornwell
The Desert Spear, Peter Brett 
Macroscope, Piers Anthony
Greenwitch, Susan Cooper
Down on the Farm, Charles Stross
Terms of Enlistment, Marko Kloos
Men on Strike, Helen Smith  
Looking for Jake, China Mieville
Hailstone Mountain, Lars Walker 
Tales of the Dying Earth, Jack Vance
The Jewels of Paradise, Donna Leon 
Lord Talon’s Revenge, Tom Simon
Jhereg, Stephen Brust 
Yendi, Stephen Brust 
Teckla, Stephen Brust 
Taltos, Stephen Brust
Hard Magic, Larry Correia
Monster Hunter Vendetta, Larry Correia 
Monster Hunter Alpha, Larry Correia 
Tour of Duty, Michael Z. Williamson 
The Gap into Conflict, Stephen Donaldson 
Lights in the Deep, Brad Torgersen 
The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks 
Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy Sayers 
A Desert Called Peace, Tom Kratman 
The Prague Cemetery, Umberto Eco 
Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman
Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert 
Frostborn: The First Quest, Jonathan Moeller
On Sophistical Refutations, Aristotle
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

 Victory of Eagles, Naomi Novik
The Daylight War, Peter Brett
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Imperialism & Social Classes, Joseph Schumpeter
Phoenix, Stephen Brust 
Athyra, Stephen Brust 
Songs of the Dying Earth, Dozois and Martin, ed.
The Gap into Vision, Stephen Donaldson 
The Gap into Power, Stephen Donaldson
The Gambler, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Prelude to Foundation, Isaac Asimov
Forward the Foundation, Isaac Asimov
Tactics, Asclepiodotus
Don’t Vote It Just Encourages The Bastards, PJ O’Rourke