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Books / Trail

Books I've read.

Single books

  1. 1984? - George Orwell?. Introducing an important concept.
  2. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? - Jules Verne. I loved this as a child, but I remember him using the word 'perpendicular' an awful lot, which was of mild concern to me as I didn't know what it meant. For some reason I never looked it up!
  3. The Alchemist? - Paulo Coelho? writes very readably, and there's lots of truth in what he says. This is a nice book, but I didn't find it as inspirational as The Little Prince? which it was compared to. Good stuff though.
  4. Alice In Wonderland? - Lewis Carroll?, mindbending stuff. To words as Escher is to images.
  5. Almost Everyone's Guide to Science? - John Gribbin. An illuminating survey that is simplified but not over-simplified, if I remember correctly.
  6. An Atlas of World Affairs? - Andrew Boyd? takes a political look at the whole world, in 1970. Very interesting background material.
  7. Angry White Pyjamas? - Robert Twigger? takes an aikido riot police course in Tokyo, and writes averagely about it. There are 2 references to Shorinji Kempo in this book. It gets a lot better towards the last half to a third of the book.
  8. Animal Farm? - George Orwell?. Unfortunately I didn't know enough Russian history to get it when I read it. But it was still a good read.
  9. Aquinas? - Anthony Kenny? skims through the life of a very interesting 13th century Aristotelian philosopher. Excellent, and brief, stuff.
  10. The Art of Unix Programming? - Eric S. Raymond? writes very interestingly on unix. Lots to think about.
  11. The Art of War? - Sun Tzu?'s excellent writing applies, in places, to more than just war I think. Also, Machiavelli seems to be very similar to this...
  12. Bagombo Snuff Box? - A collection of short stories (previously published in magazines) from the early part of Kurt Vonnegut's writing career. Excellent.
  13. Being Good? - Simon Blackburn? expounds tediously on, apparently, Ethics. Jumbled rambling as far as I can make out. Not surprised this didn't make it into the excellent Brief Introduction To series.
  14. The Blind Watchmaker? - Richard Dawkins? stirs up a mess again. But his ideas are always interesting and thought provoking.
  15. Brave New World? - Aldous Huxley?. Interesting story which I have sadly mostly forgotten... I remember not being as impressed with it as I was led to believe I would be though...
  16. Captain Corelli's Mandolin? - Louis De Bernieres?, heartwarming lovestory with comedy, tragedy and lots of moral goodness in there too.
  17. Catch 22? - Joseph Heller?. Hilarious. Classic.
  18. Catcher in the Rye? - J D Salinger? - an interesting account.
  19. Cortical Functions? - John Stirling? wrote this psychology textbook. It's a good intro anyway.
  20. Danny Champion of the World? - Roald Dahl?. Lovely story of a boy and his father and their non-standard life.
  21. Database Nation? - Simon Garfinkel?. Eyeopening book about how databases, and the organisations that use and abuse them, permeate our society on greater and greater scales.
  22. Day of the Triffids? - John Wyndham?, classic sci-fi.
  23. Deschooling Society? - Ivan Illich? - this is an absolutely sprawling book, despite it's diminutive size, and it really inspired me a lot. It explains in such lucid terms so many things that I've not connected so well in my life up to now, mainly about education, but about politics and (life) philosophy in general too. This is one to go over again with very close attention.
  24. The Diary of Anne Frank? - Anne Frank?. interesting insight into WWII from the eyes of a hiding Jew.
  25. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency? - Douglas Adams? I've forgotten most of these in the general mush of the Hitchhiker's Guide, but they were definitely fun.
  26. The Emperor's New Mind? - Roger Penrose?, was an interesting disappointment.
  27. Esio Trot? - Roald Dahl? a heartwarming children's story of a romance between retired folk.
  28. Essays in Skepticism? - Bertrand Russell?. Need to revisit this. I remember being captivated by some very deep thinking simply and clearly put.
  29. Everyman? - Philip Roth?. Interesting story about the life and attitudes and experiences of death of a regular American guy.
  30. Evolutionary Ethics? - Julian Huxley? gives us a rich store of valuables ideas to chew over. Out of this world more mature than 99.9% of the public ethical debate.
  31. EZ-Go? - Bruce and Sue Wilcox? first book I read about the game of Go.
  32. Fables of Aesop? - An American translation, but it would appear to have been a good one. I love these stories. Definitely to dip into again and again.
  33. Fahrenheit 451? - Ray Bradbury?. In my opinion, better than 1984.
  34. Fight Club? - Chuck Palahniuk?. The book that inspired the film. Great story. Great narrative style.
  35. Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions? - in 1884 Edwin Abbott Abbott? writes about living in worlds of different dimensions. The social commentary is pretty good too. Excellent book.
  36. Flatterland? - Ian Stewart?. Interesting tour through various areas of maths.
  37. Fools? - Pat Cadigan?. Amazing story about a world where you can buy and sell memories and personality overlays. Mind bending, and excellently written.
  38. Franz Kafka, Stories, 1904-1924? - Franz Kafka?. Translated by J.A.Underwood. Kafka had one wacky imagination. I love this book. I love the way a lot of the stories are just little portraits with little or no point or purpose other than that they simply portray a scene with honesty, awareness and the rest of Kafka's individual brand of perception.
  39. Geometry? - P. Abbot?. A Teach Yourself Book, written in 1948. Very interesting, I intend to do the exercises from this book some time. Shows me what modern school kids (including me) missed out/are missing out on. We get other stuff instead, but it's still interesting to see.
  40. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian? - Kurt Vonnegut? interviews the dead by going on controlled near death experiences. Surreal and utterly excellent.
  41. Great Apes? - Will Self?. Man wakes up to discover himself in a world of apes. Utterly crazy, utterly satirical and utterly entertaining. I love his attitude to the soft sciences. It's entertaining in a superior sort of way.
  42. Hard Times? - Charles Dickens?. One we did at school. Enjoyed it quite a bit.
  43. Haroun and the Sea of Stories? - Salman Rushdie?, Alice in Wonderland? style surrealism and concepts meet Indian cultural influence and a batch of characters you really get to know. A childhood favourite.
  44. Haunted? - Chuck Palahniuk?. A batch of short stories, wrapped up in another one. Written to evoke and explore disgust and disgusting situations. Very well written. Very ugly. Very interesting. It ends very well. Very.
  45. High Society? - Ben Elton?. Readable. Trashy. Why bother?
  46. The Hobbit? - J R R Tolkein?. A fun book. The first and only 'big' book I ever read out loud with a group of friends (at primary school). It took most of one school year. We started with about 10 of us, by the time we finished there only about 3 or 4 of us left. What fun.
  47. How Children Learn Mathematics? - Pamela Liebeck?. Extremely interesting book about how basic mathematics is taught and learnt.
  48. How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found? - Doug Richmond?. This was such a surprising title to see on some oxfam bookshelves that I had to buy it. Very interesting account giving an angle into various risky and semi-legal areas of society.
  49. How To Live On 24 Hours A Day? - Arnold Bennett? writes gloriously on how to spend one of the most precious budgets of all. Self-help from 1910 is so much less wheedling than modern stuff. Awesome.
  50. How Mathematicians Think? - William Byers? talks about how ambiguity, paradox and contradiction are the beating heart of mathematics. This book bridges Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? and The Emperor's New Mind?, truly staggering stuff.
  51. The Human Machine? - Arnold Bennett? on how to improve your life. Largely true. But how useful? About as useful as a general book can be I guess. Not very.
  52. An Introduction to English Poetry? - James Fenton?. It is what it says on the front. Interesting.
  53. Invisible Monsters? - Chuck Palahniuk?. Story about identity and living a meaningful life, written in Palahniuk's signature style: clear, simple, gruesome and irresistable.
  54. The Islamist? - Ed Husain?, writes about his experiences as a teenager in radical Islam, and his rejection of Islamism. A highly topical and illuminating coming of age tale.
  55. Jailbird? - Kurt Vonnegut?. I've completely forgotten this... I remember reading and enjoying it though. Onto the reread list I suppose.
  56. Java In A Nutshell? - David Flanagan?. Mmmmm. Language reference. Read it for work. At work. Well written. O'Reilly stuff tends to be I find.
  57. Judo Games? - Toni Goffe?. Entertaining book full of good ideas for games in a martial arts class.
  58. JUnit, Pocket Guide? - Kent Beck? - an introduction to the java unit testing framework, and unit testing in general.
  59. The Kindness of Strangers? - Kate Adie?. Extremely interesting autobiography of one of the BBC's most famous reporters.
  60. Là où vont nos pères? - Shaun Tan? drew an extremely beautiful, wordless graphic novel about an immigrant in a foreign land.
  61. Level 7? - Mordecai Roshwald?. Interesting science-fiction story about the experiences of a soldier ordered to start world war III by pressing buttons.
  62. Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals? - Robert M Pirsig?, one of the books which has had the most influence on me.
  63. The Little Money Book? - David Boyle? smashes the myth of money as a natural resource. An extremely thought provoking book.
  64. The Little Prince? - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? - There is real philosophy in this gorgeous book about a man who follows a little prince about the heavens.
  65. Logic and Arithmetic in Computing? - John Jaworski? - An entertaining and old-fashioned (by virtue of being old: 1980) whizz through binary representation of numbers, from integers, fixed-point to floating point, and covering basic arithmetic, touching on random numbers and error. Very relaxing read.
  66. Lolita? - Vladimir Nabokov?. Memoirs of a paedophile. Quite a story!
  67. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul? - Douglas Adams? I've forgotten most of these in the general mush of the Hitchhiker's Guide, but they were definitely fun.
  68. The Long Road Turns To Joy? - Thich Nhat Hanh? - Introducing walking meditation. Awesome concept. Portable.
  69. Lord of the Flies? - William Golding?. Shocking stuff.
  70. Lord of the Rings? - J R R Tolkein?. Nice descriptions, excellent remedy for sleeplessness too. Far too long. Oh well. I read it.
  71. Manhood? - Steve Biddulph?. Thought provoking book about what it is to be male, and how to fit this in with the rest of the world.
  72. Mansfield Park? - Jane Austen?. Haven't read many period novels (is that usual terminology?). Enjoyed it all the same.
  73. The Master of Go? - Yasunari Kawabata? recounts the tale of the end of a Go era, when the last Honnimbo Master, Shusai was beaten by a representative from the modern school. An interesting tale, but unfortunately the Go is too hard to even really be touched upon in the book. Oh well.
  74. The Mathematical Tourist? - Ivars Peterson?. An interesting tour through various areas of mathematics.
  75. Matilda? - Roald Dahl?. A heartwarming story of a girl genius.
  76. Maus: My Father Bleeds History? - Art Spiegelman?. Amazing graphic novel about Spiegelman's father's experience of WWII, and Spiegelman's relationship to his father.
  77. Medical Nemesis? - Ivan Illich? is truly inspirational. This time it is through the aspect of health that Illich urges us to revel in our autonomy, and not allow institutions to steal it from us.
  78. The Midwich Cuckoos? - John Wyndham?. More vivid sci-fi.
  79. Mishima's Sword: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend? - Christopher Ross?, friend of Robert Twigger? (Angry White Pyjamas?), writes about Yukio Mishima, a fairly crazy, but interesting sounding Japanese writer. Death is the main topic of the book, and despite a strange attitude to death, the book manages to be interesting, if a little throwaway. It ends with a fantastic Wittgenstein quote, so it's OK :)
  80. Mister God, This is Anna? - Fynn?, is wonderful.
  81. Mother Tongue? - Bill Bryson?. Linguistic for the layperson. Eye opening.
  82. MySQL: Visual QuickStart Guide? - Larry Ullman? makes a dull and naive exposition on a thoroughly nasty language.
  83. Nights At The Circus? - Angela Carter? writes a luscious story of awakening.
  84. No Destination? - Satish Kumar?'s inspirational autobiography, detailing his lifelong spiritual journey.
  85. The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus? - edited by Brian Aldiss?, and released in 1973 as one volume, this is a very good collection of decent sci-fi. Definitely soft-sci-fi is best: sci-fi about hardware is tedious: sci-fi about people and their reactions to hardware, and their reactions to their societies etc. is much more interesting.
  86. Peter Pan? - fun kid's book.
  87. Political Ideals? - Bertrand Russell?. A lecture he gave, and was banned for giving, several decades ago. I like his thinking.
  88. Power To The People? - Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran?. An optimistic survey of the geopolitical/technological energy situation, past, present and future.
  89. The Prince? - Machiavelli?, led me to believe that it has been widely misinterpreted.
  90. The Princessa? - Harriet Rubin?. Tagline: 'Why fight like Machiavelli when you can fight like Machiavella?'. An extremely interesting work of feminist writing. I came away with it thinking it was both a little over the top but also surprisingly to the point. I also came away with the feeling that underneath the feminist veneer is a potentially useful body of thinking for anyone. Definitely an interesting read.
  91. The Quantity Theory of Insanity? - Will Self?. Funny and astute short stories written in a witty but throwaway style.
  92. QED - Beauty in Mathematical Proof? - Burkard Polster? gives us a lovely ramble through some real maths. Beautiful diagrams and explanations, and a total absence of 'z's, weird.
  93. QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter? - Richard P. Feynmann?. Very interesting, but he gets a bit carried away with overly long descriptions of difficult maths when his (mind) pictures are the special thing.
  94. The Rebel? - Albert Camus?. Mind blowing philosophical/political/historical romp through rebellion and revolution.
  95. A Rebel's Guide To Lenin? - Ian Birchall?. Interesting, extremely sympathetic, summary of Lenin's life and works.
  96. Rhetorical Terms and Concepts, A Contemporary Glossary? - George Y. Trail?. A fantastic little glossary, which takes the philosophical ideas it illustrates right to heart. An excellent and highly readable book that blurs the boundaries between reference, opinion and entertainment writing.
  97. The Satanic Bible? - Anton Szandor LaVey?, an incendiary book nevertheless containing important words of wisdom, so long as you are discerning!
  98. The Science of Discworld? - Terry Pratchett?, Ian Stewart?, Jack Cohen?. Some very down to earth, sensible, illuminating and funny ruminations on knowledge, science and humanity.
  99. The Science of Discworld II, The Globe? - Terry Pratchett?, Ian Stewart?, Jack Cohen?. Some very down to earth, sensible, illuminating and funny ruminations on knowledge, science and humanity.
  100. The Seeds of Time? - John Wyndham?. old science fiction shorts. A good read.
  101. Self Made Man? - Norah Vincent?. A self-confessed hack takes her dubious talent into exceedingly interesting territory (she lives disguised as a man for over a year... and this is her story), which makes this book totally worth the (brief) read that it is. Very thought provoking. I wonder just how true it is...
  102. The Selfish Gene? - Richard Dawkins?. Some very interesting ideas explored here. The way this guy plays with ideas clearly lacks the usual reverence most scientists are perceived to have (refreshing!), despite his evangelical belief in said ideas!
  103. Six Easy Pieces? - Richard P. Feynmann?. Introduction to physics, by 'it's most famous teacher'. I think his methods have become canon now though, because almost everything in this book I've seen before. I'd like to learn more about Feynmann though, he seems like he was quite a character.
  104. Slapstick? - Kurt Vonnegut?. So it goes.
  105. Slaughterhouse 5? - Kurt Vonnegut?. Amazing story of a shellshocked soldier.
  106. Sophie's World? - Jostein Gaarder?, a gentle and easy-to-read tour of some of the philosophical landscape.
  107. Specimen Days? - Michael Cunningham?. Well written and entertaining story on the theme of Walt Whitman, written in Cunningham's trademark way: three stories of different genres, set in different times, containing multiple parallels and interlocking threads.
  108. The Story of My Experiments With Truth? - Gandhi?'s autobiography. Awesome. A fantastic and inspirational read.
  109. Stupid White Men? - Michael Moore?. Lots of valid and not so valid points couched in over-the-top, idiotic garbage. But I guess he's fighting the good fight and doing pretty well. He redeemed himself in the movie The Corporation when he admitted that he was cursed to make anti-corporation media forever (due to his current command of the corporations's resources).
  110. The Sun Book of Short Stories? - stories submitted to Murdoch's paper by its readers for a literacy campaign. Interesting reading.
  111. Symbolism and Truth? - Ralph Monroe Eaton?, very dense book, but fantastic nevertheless. Extremely satisfying treatment of this area philosophy.
  112. Talking Cock? - Richard Herring?. A fairly tedious exposition on male anatomy. Represents an interesting viewpoint, but only, I think, inasmuch as it's one to avoid. Praise the cock? Yes. But not in isolation, or in overly simplistic/materialistic terms. Well, not every book is for everyone!
  113. Teach Yourself Public Speaking? - in 1946 Peter Westland? wrote lucidly on how to present ideas to audiences. I don't agree with his motives all the way, but his methods appear solid.
  114. The Tao of Physics? - Fritjof Capra?. An eye opening look at how eastern philosophy and modern physics are beginning to run parallel.
  115. Through the Looking Glass? - Lewis Carroll?, mindbending stuff. To words as Escher is to images.
  116. Timequake? - Kurt Vonnegut?. More wonderful rambling.
  117. To Kill a Mockingbird? - Harper Lee?. Story about race relations and other social issues in America's deep south, told through the eyes of a child. Wonderful. Even school didn't manage to ruin it for me.
  118. The Tokuhon? - the Shorinji Kempo textbook. Very practical and very useful. A dip-in-and-out-of book from now on.
  119. The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land? - Diana Wynne Jones? - A moderately funny glossary about the world of role-playing and fantasy land.
  120. Tools for Conviviality? - Ivan Illich? - Highly thought provoking, outrageously radical, social/political analytical/visionary/explanatory writing, as usual.
  121. Trouble with Lichen? - John Wyndham?. Interesting sci-fi about a lichen that drastically extends human lifespan.
  122. The Unbearable Lightness of Being? - Milan Kundera?, extremely readable and depthful book about philosophy and human relationships.
  123. Veronika Decides To Die? - Paulo Coelho? tells wonderful fairy stories again. Escapism at its most insidious. Fantastic.
  124. A Very Short Introduction to Logic? - Graham Priest? touches upon some interesting topics in logic. This OUP series is generally pretty good.
  125. Wall And Piece? - Banksy? - A funky graffiti artist sells out totally to the bourgeoisie, or they to him, or both. Good book though.
  126. War Talk? - Arundhati Roy?. A lot of anti-globalization essays and talks. Illuminating points, and extremely emotive.
  127. Winnie the Pooh? - , a classic.
  128. Wise Parenthood? - Marie Stopes? writes about protected sex, and barely mentions parenthood. Pioneering stuff, although the title is clearly a product of the times... (1918)
  129. Yasmin and the Desert Snow? - Barbara Paterson?. A little girl finds a genie in a cooking pot and makes an unusual wish. A lovely illustrated children's book.
  130. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali? - translated and interpreted by Sri Swami Satchidananda?. This is hardly a book you can just read. I should dip into this more!
  131. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? - Robert M Pirsig?, one of the books which has had the most influence on me.
  132. Zen, A Way Of Life? - Christmas Humphreys?. highly interesting introduction to Zen Buddhism, by one of the west's early Buddhist students.

Discworld? - Terry Pratchett?

I used to love these. It's a fun universe full of satirical parallels to our own. But in the end it went on too long and I wanted to read other things.

  1. The Colour of Magic?
  2. The Light Fantastic?
  3. Equal Rites?
  4. Mort?
  5. Sourcery?
  6. Wyrd Sisters?
  7. Pyramids?
  8. Guards! Guards!?
  9. Moving Pictures?
  10. Reaper Man?
  11. Witches Abroad?
  12. Small Gods?
  13. Lords and Ladies?
  14. Men at Arms?
  15. Soul Music?
  16. Interesting Times?
  17. Maskerade?
  18. Feet of Clay?
  19. Hogfather?
  20. Jingo?
  21. The Last Continent?
  22. Carpe Jugulum?
  23. The Fifth Elephant?
  24. The Truth?
  25. Thief of Time?
  26. The Last Hero? - (picture book)
  27. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents? - (children's book, tangential)
  28. The Wee Free Men? - (children's book, tangential)

Earthsea? - Ursula K. Le Guin?

Depthful children's books about the life of a wizard in the universe of Earthsea. A very mature treatment of the subject of good and evil. Much less black and white than other notable children's books.

  1. A Wizard of Earthsea?
  2. The Tombs of Atuan?
  3. The Farthest Shore?
  4. Tales of Earthsea? - nice, simple, earthy, philosophically sound and satisfying stories. Definitely should reread the first three again.

Foundation Series? - Isaac Asimov?

Excellent SF.

  1. Foundation?
  2. Foundation and Empire?
  3. Second Foundation?

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Trilogy? - Douglas Adams?

Some of the first sci-fi I ever read. Some of my favourite books ever.

  1. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy?
  2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
  3. Life, the Universe and Everything?
  4. So Long and Thanks For All The Fish?
  5. Mostly Harmless?

Narnia? -

These are the books that launched me into reading proper.

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
  2. Prince Caspian?
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?
  4. The Silver Chair?
  5. The Horse and His Boy?
  6. The Magician's Nephew?
  7. The Last Battle?

Tintin? - Herge?

The only cartoon strip books I ever got into as a child. These were great. And the TV adaptation too. Turns out I've not read them all.

  1. Tintin in America?
  2. Cigars of the Pharaoh?
  3. The Blue Lotus?
  4. The Broken Ear?
  5. The Black Island?
  6. King Ottokar's Sceptre?
  7. The Crab with the Golden Claws?
  8. The Shooting Star?
  9. The Secret of the Unicorn?
  10. Red Rackham's Treasure?
  11. The Seven Crystal Balls?
  12. Prisoners of the Sun?
  13. Land of Black Gold?
  14. Destination Moon?
  15. Explorers on the Moon?
  16. The Calculus Affair?
  17. Tintin in Tibet?
  18. The Castafiore Emerald?
  19. Flight 714?
  20. Tintin and the Picaros?

Thomas the Tank Engine? -

Some of the very first books I was exposed to. The stories (and illustrations) really are fantastic too. It turns out there are more that I have yet to read!

  1. The Three Railway Engines?
  2. Thomas the Tank Engine?
  3. James the Red Engine?
  4. Tank Engine Thomas Again?
  5. Troublesome Engines?
  6. Henry the Green Engine?
  7. Toby the Tram Engine?
  8. Gordon the Big Engine?
  9. Edward the Blue Engine?
  10. Four Little Engines?
  11. Percy the Small Engine?
  12. Duck and the Diesel Engine?
  13. The Little Old Engine?
  14. The Twin Engines?
  15. Branch Line Engines?
  16. Gallant Old Engine?
  17. Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine?
  18. Mountain Engines?
  19. Very Old Engines?
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Page last modified on January 13, 2008, at 12:46 PM