Books 2014 (January-June)
The first six months of 2014 are at an end, and I thought it made sense to make a post providing an overview of the books I’ve read during the first half of this year. I decided to be a bit more thorough in this post than I was when I wrote the 2013 book overview post; for example in this post I’ve at least tried to include in the links below all relevant posts I’ve written about the books on the blog, rather than just a subset of them. The corresponding goodreads list is here. Aside from links to relevant posts I’ve also added a bit of information about the books – the numbers in the parentheses are the goodreads ratings I have given the books (for information about how to interpret those ratings, see incidentally the comments here and here), whereas the various letters following those numbers indicate which ‘type’ of book it is – ‘f’ = fiction, ‘nf’ = non-fiction.
I was seriously considering adding other dimensions/categories to the categorization scheme as well, but in the end I decided against doing much of that because such things tend to get messy and I didn’t want to bother with figuring out which other categories might be interesting to include and which books fit into which categories. The only additional variables I added were the names of the publishers of the non-fiction books (it didn’t take any mental effort to add this variable and it seemed to me like it might be relevant information), as well as the names of the authors of the fiction books (-ll-). As people reading along here can’t be expected to necessarily know all the publishers included, I decided to also add a link to some information about each of the publishers featured on the list – the link is added the first place where they are mentioned – in order to make it easier to assess relatively fast which type of book it might be. Aside from these things I’ve written very little about each book; I have added a few other remarks here and there where they seemed relevant, but I’ve tried to keep such comments brief and to the point. If you don’t do this a post like this can get very long very fast.
I have not rated all the books on the list, but I have added the goodreads ratings in the great majority of cases where I have – usually the posts about the book will in the cases where no ratings are provided give you both some idea why I did not rate them and some idea as to what I think about those books. In general it’s safe to say that books I have not rated have some (to me) problematic features which I’ve felt somewhat ambivalent about. On a related note it should be clear from the list that I have not blogged all the books I’ve read this year; this is because I decided a while back to limit fiction blogging a bit – I have however covered all non-fiction books I’ve read this year so far, and many of them I have written more than one post about. Roughly two-thirds of the books I read were non-fiction; of the 53 books on the list there are 18 fiction books and 35 non-fiction books. There are 70 links to book-related posts below, and the great majority (64) deal with the non-fiction books, meaning that I’ve written slightly less than two blog posts about each non-fiction book on average.
On the list below I have only included books which I have read in full and have actually finished, meaning that as usual some books are left out – this is incidentally the reason, in case you were wondering, why the list below looks slightly different from the list on goodreads. The list may also look slightly different because although when writing an early draft of the post I organized the books according to how they were listed on goodreads – i.e. the books are not necessarily listed in the order they were read, or in the order they were covered here on the blog – I did not really care about this stuff when updating the draft later on to include new books I’d read (I should note that given the number of links you need to add and posts that you need to track down, a post like this actually takes a while to write). The category of books I’ve read significant chunks of this year but have not finished include books such as Microeconomic Theory, Ecological Dynamics, and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, so ’20 pages of light reading’ is not in all cases an accurate characterization of the type of books excluded from the list.
I hope you’ll find the list helpful in terms of navigating the site and that it’ll make it easier for you to find stuff I’ve written here about things you consider interesting. I should note that I occasionally have a bit of trouble keeping track of the stuff I read myself, so this post was not only written for you guys..
Okay, here we go:
1. Pathophysiology of disease (5, nf. Lange medical text. Long, takes a lot of work compared to most of the other books on this list). I took a few quite long breaks from the book along the way, which is why the posts are somewhat spread out over time. I decided in the end to add all relevant posts about the book here, even the ones which were not written this year. Relevant links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
2. The Complete Maus (4, f). Art Spiegelman. I was seriously considering not including this one on the list at all (is this even a book?), but on the other hand it took me longer to read this than it took me to read Calvino so I figured I might as well add it to the list.
3. Why Women Have Sex (2, nf. Times Books. There are two non-fiction books on this list which are not either academic publications (the great majority) or technical publications (#40, 42 and 45) – this book is one of those two books. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the book is written by two university professors; the level of coverage here is much lower than that of pretty much every other non-fiction book on this list). Blog links: 1, 2.
6. Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior (4, nf. Guilford Press psychology text. Long). Blog coverage here, here, and here. Note that I changed my mind about the goodreads rating after I’d written the last of my posts about the book.
7. Evolution of Island Mammals: Adaptation and Extinction of Placental Mammals on Islands (4, nf. Wiley-Blackwell biology text). Blog coverage here.
11. Death in the clouds (4, f). Agatha Christie.
14. Screening for Depression and Other Psychological Problems in Diabetes: A Practical Guide (2, nf. Springer). Blog coverage here.
16. The Daughter Of Time (4, f). Josephine Tey.
17. Cards on the Table (5, f). Agatha Christie.
18. A Practical Manual of Diabetic Retinopathy Management (2, nf. Wiley-Blackwell medical text). Blog coverage here.
19. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe: Volume 1, 1700-1870 (3, nf. Cambridge University Press economics text). Blog coverage here and here.
21. Personality Judgment: A Realistic Approach to Person Perception (3, nf. An Academic Press psychology publication). Blog coverage here and here.
22. The Remains of the Day (5, f). Kazuo Ishiguro.
23. The Origin and Evolution of Cultures (5, nf. Oxford University Press. Takes a lot of work, but it’s an awesome book – “Highly recommended. Probably the best book I’ve read this year”). Blog coverage here, here, here, here and here.
24. What Did the Romans Know?: An Inquiry into Science and Worldmaking (2, nf. University of Chicago Press). Blog coverage here and here.
25. Bioterrorism and Infectious Agents: A New Dilemma for the 21st Century (3, nf. Springer medical text). Blog coverage here.
29. Lost in a Good Book (5, f). Jasper Fforde.
32. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (3, f). Philip K. Dick.
34. Military Geography: For Professionals and the Public (3, nf. Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press). Blog coverage here, here and here.
36. To Kill a Mockingbird (2, f). Harper Lee. Overrated.
37. Impact of Sleep and Sleep Disturbances on Obesity and Cancer (5, nf. Springer medical text). Blog coverage here and here.
39. Something Rotten (5, f). Jasper Fforde.
41. Plant Animal Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach (5, nf. Blackwell Publishing biology text). A really great book, high average goodreads rating. Blog coverage here, here, and here.
43. Peril at End House (4, f). Agatha Christie.
48. Poirot Investigates (3, f). Agatha Christie. Unlike the other books by her on the list, this book is a collection of short stories, rather than a novel.
50. First Among Sequels (5, f). Jasper Fforde. Goodreads review: “(Maybe I shouldn’t give all these [Jasper Fforde] books five stars, but as long as they keep being awesome I’ll keep giving them five stars.)“. Blog coverage here.
53. Murder in Mesopotamia (4, f). Agatha Christie.
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