Friday, January 07, 2005

50 book challenge


The 50 book challenge is spreading around the blogosphere. Many blogs are discussing it and here are some of the rules:
http://blogs.salon.com/0001092/2004/01/27.html
I have been thinking in these terms for a long time now and did some calculations. Let's say that I can read 50 books per year. Let's also say that I will be alive and capable of reading for another 50 years. 50 x 50 = 2500 books total. I have about twice as many at home. If you go to a big library, this is one side of one aisle. I have to choose really carefully what to read. Out of millions of books out there, millions still to be published, how does one choose the best and most important 2500 (adjust for your age and life expectancy)? It is a tough choice, to say the least.

I have been really bad at writing down what I read in the past year or two, and also had to read so many scientific papers (that does not count for the reading list, unfortunately, nor do the textbooks). Also, my criterion is tough - I count a book as read if I have read EVERY word in it. Thus, many books that I skim through or read important parts do not count. This elminates many books this year, as I have started or skimmed through many. I also do not count repeats, unless it's been 20 years since the last reading. So, here is the list reconstructed out of memory of the stuff I am sure I have read in 2004 (some of them perhaps as early as 2003 - who knows?).

Non-fiction

Lakoff, George (2002) Moral Politics
Lakoff, George (2004) Don't Think of an Elephant
Graff, E.J. (1999, 2004) What Is Marriage For?
Ducat, Stephen (2004) The Wimp Factor
Parenti, Michael (2004) Superpatriotism
Howard Gardner (2004) Changing Minds
Roughgarden, Joan (2004) Evolution's Rainbow
Ivins, Molly and Dubose, Lou (2003) Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America
Chomsky, Noam (1999) The New Military Humanism
Kipnis, Laura (2003) Against Love: a polemic
Moore, David S (2001) The Dependent Gene
Roach, Mary (2003) Stiff
Wilson, David Sloan (2002) Darwin’s Cathedral
Edwards, John (2003) Four Trials
Stephen Jay Gould (2002) The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (yes, I read every word!)
Hanauer, Cathi (Ed., 2002) The Bitch in the House
Marks, Jonathan (2002) What it means to be 98% chimpanzee
Fox Keller, Evelyn (2000) The Century of the Gene

Fiction and Science-fiction

Pratchett, Terry (2000) The Truth
Slonczewski, Joan (1989) The Wall Around Eden
Snicket, Lemony (1999) The Bad Beginning
Snicket, Lemony (1999) The Reptile Room
Snicket, Lemony (2000) The Wide Window
Snicket, Lemony (2000) The Miserable Mill
Snicket, Lemony (2000) The Austere Academy
Snicket, Lemony (2001) The Ersatz Elevator
Snicket, Lemony (2001) The Vile Village
Snicket, Lemony (2003) The Slippery Slope
Snicket, Lemony (2004) The Grim Grotto
Arthur, Robert (1964) The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot
Arthur, Robert (1965) The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy
Arthur, Robert (1966) The Secret of Skeleton Island
Arthur, Robert (1972) The Mystery of the Singing Serpent
Bear, Greg (1979) Psychlone
Bear, Greg (1987) The Forge of God
Bear, Greg (1992) Anvil of Stars
Bear, Greg (1999) Darwin’s Radio
Bear, Greg (2003) Darwin’s Children
Dessen, Sarah (2000) Dreamland
Dessen, Sarah (1999) Keeping the Moon
Dessen, Sarah (2002) This Lullaby
Sheffield, Charles (2002) Amazing Dr.Darwin
Bradbury, Ray (1951) Fahrenheit 451
Dick, Phillip K.(1967) Counter-Clock World
Dick, Phillip K.(1956) The Man Who Japed
Frankowski, Leo (2002) Conrads' Time Machine
Houllebecq,Michel (2000) The Elementary Particles
Vanderbes, Jennifer (2003) Easter Island

I will take the challenge and post a short book review on this blog about once every week.

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