Below I have posted a list of books I’ve read to completion in 2015, as well as links to blog posts covering the books and reviews of the books which I’ve written on goodreads. At the bottom of the post I have also added the books I did not finish this year, as well as some related links and comments. If you want ‘the big picture’, goodreads has made a very nice ‘my year in books‘ collection with covers and ratings of the books, as well as a few summary statistics. The goodreads overview also includes books I did not read in full, which is why the number of books included in that overview (160) is higher than the number of books on the list below.
Before I move on to the list, I want to talk a little bit about what’s on it and add some data – people who just want to peruse the list of books and links are welcome to skip the next few paragraphs, though I do believe they add some relevant context which might be of interest.
The major change (which isn’t really all that ‘major’, to be honest…) to this year’s list, compared to the 2014 book list, is the inclusion of an additional category, the ‘t/m’ (travel/miscellaneous) category. The other two categories on the list are fiction (-f) and non-fiction (-nf). According to the goodreads overview to which I linked above, I read 44,892 pages in 2015 (~123 pages/day), and the average page count of the books I read was 284. During the year I finished 153 books, which translates into roughly 3 books per week, with one of those three books (51 books altogether) being what I might term ‘serious non-fiction’. There are 10 books in the travel/miscellaneous category and most of these are categorized as non-fiction on sites like goodreads, so the number of non-fiction books depends a bit on how you categorize these things – if I had not added the new travel/miscellaneous category the number of non-fiction books might have been close to 60, but I did not like that categorization model because it seemed to me to lump together books which I did not really think ‘belonged together’. As it is, roughly 40% of all non-fiction books I read (20 books) were published by Springer or Oxford University Press, with most of the remainder being publications from other academic publishers. It should perhaps be noted in this context that although most of the books in the miscellaneous category are light reading, the category does also include Scott’s Last Expedition, an ~850 pages long book on which I spent roughly 25 hours (that one I for a while strongly considered moving to the non-fiction category).
Since I use categories quite systematically when covering non-fiction books on the blog, I decided to use these categories to get a handle on which topics I’ve read about during the year. It turns out that I have posted 20 posts about books dealing with both the topics of medicine and psychology. I posted 12 posts about books dealing with the topic of diabetes, 8 posts about books dealing with the topic of biology, and 7 about books dealing with the topic of statistics. Minor categories include economics (6 posts each), mathematics and zoology (5 posts each), as well as cancer, evolution, alcohol, and anthropology (4 posts each). In terms of books I’ve covered, I have covered 11 books about psychology, 10 books about medicine, and 9 books about diabetes. Other key topics include mathematics and statistics (5 books each), and economics and biology (4 books each).
Although I did cover the majority of the non-fiction books I read during the year on the blog, there is a substantial proportion of books which I either only reviewed on goodreads or did not review at all; the counts above do not include the topics covered in these 21 books, so although the count is an accurate representation of the sort of posts you may find on the blog, they may not be an accurate representation of the sort of books I read during the year; some books are easier to blog than others. I tried to informally estimate the magnitude of this implicit selection bias by trying to figure out which categories I might have used had I found the time to blog the non-fiction books I did not get around to blogging this year; you can probably quibble over the details in one or two cases, but in most cases it seemed reasonably easy for me to figure out which main categories I would have used in connection with a specific book – it doesn’t take a lot of work to realize that a book named ‘Prioritization in Medicine’ would probably be categorized as ‘medicine’, or that a history book would go into the ‘history’ bin. According to my count, among books not included in the count above there were 6 books which I think I would have blogged under the ‘medicine’ category, 6 I would have blogged under the ‘psychology’ category, 5 books about statistics and 4 books I would have categorized under ‘history’. The remaining categories which I considered it likely I would have used were biology and physics (2 each), and philosophy and linguistics (1 each); the implicit posting bias doesn’t appear to be too bad, though it does look as if books on statistics in particular seem, not surprisingly (to me), to be less likely than other books to ‘get a blog post’, rather than a goodreads review (there were few non-fiction books which I did not either blog or review on goodreads). This makes sense because stats posts tend to take a lot of time to write, so I don’t find it surprising that I only ended up blogging half of the 10 statistics books I finished this year. A related reason is probably that a few of those books covered topics I have already covered here on the blog; I have for example already read multiple epidemiology textbooks at this point, and if the book doesn’t add much new stuff I see no reason to blog it.
It should be noted that the above numbers are ‘subject to change’ because there are still some books I read in 2015 which I would like to blog later on, and so what’ll happen in 2016 is that I’ll add more links over time to this post until it covers all the posts and books I want to cover, but I’ll leave the outline above the way it was at the time I wrote this post as it would be a lot of work to modify all the relevant numbers above every time I add a new blog post to this link collection.
I don’t blog fiction these days, but given how much fiction I’m reading at the moment I probably should add a few comments on that topic as well. 2015 was the year I discovered P. G. Wodehouse; a clear majority of the fiction books I read this year (61 books) were written by Wodehouse. I also read 13 books by Agatha Christie; the remainder of my fiction reading was spread out over quite a few authors.
Before moving on to the list I should of course mention that recommendations are always welcome and that I’m always curious to know which kinds of books other people are reading…
The list of books I finished:
3. The Eye of Zoltar (f). Jasper Fforde.
4. Statistical Models for Proportions and Probabilities (nf. Springer). Blog coverage here.
7. Chamberlain’s Symptoms and Signs in Clinical Medicine: An Introduction to Medical Diagnosis (4, nf. CRC Press). Blog coverage here, here, here, and here.
8. Diabetes: The Biography (5, nf. Oxford University Press). My goodreads review is worth reposting here: “This book is awesome. This is simply a wonderful account of the history of diabetes. Highly recommended.” Blog coverage here.
10. Model Selection and Multi-Model Inference: A Practical Information-Theoretic Approach (5, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here and here.
11. Recountings: Conversations with MIT Mathematicians (4, nf. AK Peters). Blog coverage here.
12. Whose Body? (2, f). Dorothy Sayers.
13. Clouds of Witness (3, f). Dorothy Sayers.
14. Introduction to Systems Analysis: Mathematically Modeling Natural Systems (3, nf. Springer). Note that goodreads has listed this book under the wrong title, which is the reason why the title in this post deviates from the title on goodreads. Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
15. Unnatural Death (2, f). Dorothy Sayers.
16. Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Hominids: 65 Million Years of Mammalian Evolution in Europe (4, nf. Columbia University Press). Blog coverage here, here, and here.
17. Belief-Based Stability in Coalition Formation with Uncertainty: An Intelligent Agents’ Perspective (2, nf. Springer). Blog coverage here.
18. Lord Peter Views the Body (2, f). Dorothy Sayers.
20. Leave It to Psmith (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
21. Summer Lightning (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
22. The Psychology of Lifestyle: Promoting Healthy Behaviour (2, nf. Routhledge). Blog coverage here, here, and here.
23. Blandings Castle and Elsewhere (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
24. Thank You, Jeeves (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
25. Right Ho, Jeeves (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
26. The Code of the Woosters (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
27. Uncle Fred in the Springtime (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
28. The Inimitable Jeeves (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
29. A Damsel in Distress (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
30. Full Moon (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
31. Cocktail Time (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
33. Picadilly Jim (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
35. A Systematic Review of Key Issues in Public Health (1, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here and here.
36. Meet Mr. Mulliner (2, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
37. The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood (2, nf. Harvard University Press). Short goodreads review here. Blog coverage here and here.
38. Care Giving for Alzheimer’s Disease – A Compassionate Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones (1, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here.
39. Money for Nothing (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
40. The Small Bachelor (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
41. Neither here Nor there: Travels in Europe (5, t/m. Black Swan). Bill Bryson. This book is very funny!
42. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-town America (2, t/m. Black Swan). Bill Bryson.
43. Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (3, nf. Princeton University Press).
44. Notes from a Small Island (2, t/m. Black Swan). Bill Bryson.
45. Laughing Gas (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
46. A Pelican at Blandings (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
48. Providing Practical Support For People With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Supported Living In The Community (2, nf. Jessica Kingsley Publishers). Short goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
53. Down Under (4, t/m. Black Swan). Bill Bryson.
55. The Complete Yes Minister (5, f). Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay.
57. Pigs Have Wings (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
60. Summer Moonshine (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
61. Practical Approaches to Causal Relationship Exploration (nf. Springer). Goodreads review here.
62. Quick service (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
63. Spring Fever (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
64. Chronic Depression: Interpersonal Sources, Therapeutic Solutions (2, nf. American Psychological Association). Short goodreads review here. Blog coverage here and here.
66. Money in the Bank (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
67. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (3, t/m. Anchor Books). Bill Bryson.
68. The Prince and Betty (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
71. Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States (3, nf. Avon Books). Goodreads review here.
74. The Gem Collector (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
81. Psychological Aspects of Cyberspace: Theory, Research, Applications (2, nf. Cambridge University Press). Goodreads review here.
82. Partner Violence: A New Paradigm for Understanding Conflict Escalation (1, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here and here.
83. The Importance of Being Earnest (3, f). Oscar Wilde.
85. Applied Methods of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Healthcare (Handbooks in Health Economic Evaluation) (5, nf. Oxford University Press). Blog coverage here, here, and here.
86. Joy in the Morning (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
88. The Mating Season (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
90. Jeeves in the Offing (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
91. Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
92. Waves (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series) (3, nf. MIT Press).
93. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
94. Much Obliged, Jeeves (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
96. Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection (2, nf. W. W. Norton & Company). Blog coverage here, here, and here.
100. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (nf.). Charles Darwin. Blog coverage here.
101. Galahad at Blandings (5, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
103. Epidemiology Matters: A New Introduction to Methodological Foundations (2, nf. Oxford University Press). Goodreads review here.
106. Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest (2, nf. Pocket Books/Stephen Ambrose). Goodreads review here.
108. Simply Rational: Decision Making in the Real World (4, nf. Oxford University Press). Goodreads review here. This SSC comment includes a few quotes from the book.
109. Mathematically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations (2, nf. Taylor & Francis Group). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
110. The Luck of the Bodkins (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
113. The Nature of Statistical Evidence (Lecture Notes in Statistics) (3, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
114. Understanding Other-Oriented Hope: An Integral Concept Within Hope Studies (1, nf. Springer). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
116. Peripheral Neuropathy & Neuropathic Pain: Into the light (5, nf. Tfm Pub Ltd). Blog coverage here and here.
117. The Adventures of Sally (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
121. The Man Upstairs and Other Stories (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
123. Scott’s Last Expedition (Classics of World Literature) (4, t/m. Wordsworth Editions). Long (848 pages). Goodreads review here.
124. Hot Water (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
127. The Little Nugget (3, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
128. Ring For Jeeves (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
130. Diabetic Bone Disease: Basic and Translational Research and Clinical Applications (5, nf. Springer). Blog coverage here.
131. Very Good, Jeeves! (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
133. Dead Man’s Folly (4, f). Agatha Christie.
137. Uncle Dynamite (4, f). P. G. Wodehouse.
139. Prioritization in Medicine: An International Dialogue (2, nf. Springer). Blog coverage here.
142. Physically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Physics and Astronomy (2, nf. Taylor & Francis Group). Goodreads review here. Blog coverage here.
143. Sparkling Cyanide (4, f). Agatha Christie.
146. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (2, f). Agatha Christie.
149. The Seven Dials Mystery (3, f). Agatha Christie.
152. History of Life (5, nf. Wiley-Blackwell). “In short, this is a wonderful book about the history of life on Earth, and I highly recommend it” – a quote from my goodreads review of the book. I added this book to my list of favorite books on goodreads.
153. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (4, f). Agatha Christie.
Below I have added a short list of books I did not finish this year:
The Geometry of Special Relativity (nf. AK Peters).
Seas and Waterways of the World, Volume 1 & 2: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues (1, nf. ABC-CLIO). Goodreads review here.
Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (nf. Cambridge University Press). Not a bad book, but back when I was reading it I ended up concluding that it was simply too demanding to be worth finishing – it’s very math-heavy.
Learn from the Legends: Chess Champions at Their Best (nf. Quality Chess). I didn’t particularly like Marin’s writing style as I think the book has way too much fluff and too many irrelevant details/anecdotes, and the book was not engaging enough to motivate me to analyze the included games and positions in the amount of depth required to get much out of a book like this one. A somewhat disappointing read, which was why I did not finish it.
The Science of Reading: A Handbook (nf. Wiley-Blackwell). I found this book much too boring to be worth my time, and after approximately 100 pages I’d had enough. I might decide later on to have another go at it, but I don’t think it’s very likely that I’ll read this book from cover to cover the way I intended to when I started out reading it. The Eysenck and Keane text cover some of the same topics covered in the first part of this book, and I liked their coverage better although they go into much less detail (one to me not implausible inference being that I simply don’t care enough about the topics covered in this book to read about them in the amount of depth/detail they’re covered in this textbook).
Transdisciplinary Public Health: Research, Education, and Practice (1, nf. Jossey-Bass Education). Goodreads review here.
A Handbook of Statistical Analyses using SAS (CRC Press).
100 Endgames You Must Know (New in Chess).
Explaining Behavior: Reasons in a World of Causes (Bradford Book).
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