Friday, January 07, 2011

My reading list 2010

Since the year 2010 is over, I thought it's a good idea to review the books that I've read. Here are the list:

1. Have Spacesuit Will Travel - Robert A. Heinlein
2. World War Z - Max Brooks
3. The zombie survival guide - Max Brooks
4. Helmet for my pillow - Rober Leckie
5. Glory Road - Robert A. Heinlein
6. Stranger in a strange land - Robert A. Heinlein
7. The cartoon introduction to economics - Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman
8. The Odyssey - Adapted by Roy Thomas and Greg Tocchini
9. Laugh at life - Jane Seabrook
10. The moon is a harsh mistress - Robert A. Heinlein
11. The elephant in the room - Barry Bridger
12. Starship Trooper - Robert A. Heinlein
13. Influence - The psychology of persuasion - Robert B. Cialdini
14. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
15. The picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
16. Buddha: A story on enlightenment - Deepak Chopra
17. Should you judge this book by its cover? - Julian Baggini
18. Late night thoughts on listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony - Lewis Thomas
19. The life of Pi - Yann Martel
20. With the Old Breed - At Peleliu and Okinawa - E.B. Sledge
21. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen / Seth Grahame-Smith
22. Through the looking glass - Lewis Carroll
23. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
24. Chariots of the Gods -Erich von Däniken
25. Three Tales from the Arabian Nights
26. A Nation Cheated - Chee Soon Juan
27. Killing Sacred Cows - Garrett Gunderson
28. How to Love - Gordon Livingston
29. The richest man in bablyon - George S Clason
30. Plato and a Platypus - Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein
31. Now we are sixty (and a bit) - Christopher Matthew
32. Stock Market Wizards - Jack D. Schwager
33. Zero - Charles Seife
34. Infinite ascent - David Berlinski
35. Ten thoughts about time - Bodil Jonsson

I've only read 35 books in 2010, which is about 1 book in 1.5 weeks. This is a far cry from my constant target of reading 52 books per year or 1 book per week. I guess it'll be harder to achieve that (not that I'm dying to achieve anyway) considering the huge amount of time drain that I have as I grow older and have more responsibilities. Still, not too bad :)

After getting a kindle dx, I've changed my reading habit somewhat. First of all, I don't have to make runs to the NLB to get books to and fro. There's also no need to rush to finish the books before the date due. Hmm, maybe that's why I read less last year, haha :)

Amongst the books I've read, I think I'll mention a few of those worth mentioning. One worth mentioning is a book by Dr Chee Soon Juan - A nation cheated. I saw this book lying in a dusty shelf in my student's home. I found it pretty interesting so I borrowed it from him (it's actually from his parents). It's interesting because history is written by the victors, so it's good to read another side of history by those not so victorious. It's a pretty good read, exciting even, if you ask me.

If you've noticed, I didn't read much about financial stuff in 2010. Sort of a general saturation in that area after reading about it intensely for 2-3 years. But among those few financial related books that I've read, I thought I should mention George S Clason's The richest man in bablyon. If you intend to read only one financial book this year, do put this as the top choice. There are many short stories and at the end of each story, there'll be a purpose and a moral to it. I think the stories are touching (hmm, strange description? It's touching because it resonates so much in me) and ultimately very educational. A very easy read and thoroughly enjoyable. This is a re-readable book for me and I'll definitely re-read this again and again.

I never never read so much fiction in my life until 2010. What a grave mistake! There are so many things to learn from seemingly fictional stories. Fiction have very real emotions themes that one can relate to, albeit in a fictional context. I think there's a lot more to learn from fiction in terms of learning about humans and their emotions. Delightful re-discovery of fiction for me, haha :) I'll like to highlight Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. If you're somewhat a music lover, you'll love this book with its sense of humor and constant references to music records. Ultimately, it's about relationships (seriously, almost all fiction is about relationships). Wonderful book!

The second is Deepak Chopra's Buddha: a story on enlightenment. I always find it interesting to know the internal struggles and conflicts that faces Siddhartha as he journeys into a very lonely path towards enlightenment. It's part fiction and part historical but the facts and fictional bits are weaved so tightly that I do not know which is true or false. Which inherently makes me want to find out more. That is an essence of a good book (or blog article by the way) - the fact that reading about it arouses your curiosity and makes you want to acquaint yourself with the subject matter. If there's a book like this about Christ, I'll love to read it too.

I've read so many Heinlein's books that I re-confirm the fact that he's one of my favourite authors now. His books are full of technical details and is deep and well researched. I thought it sort of kindles the engineering mind in me, haha :) I won't recommend him to everyone though. Sci-fi fans, oh, please help yourself to him. Among the ones that I like are Starship troopers, Have spacesuit will travel and Stranger in a strange land.

Stranger in a strange land...isn't that enigmatic? I'll try try try to read wheel of time series. Heard it's super super good :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your reading list. I had the same New Year resolution :)

BTW, Deepak Chopra had also written similar books on Jesus and I think Muhammad too.

I am contemplating on buying a kindle. Can I ask have you checked out its text-to-speech function? Is it okay? I listen to audiobooks a lot as I have to drive a long distance to work. That's how I managed to read 50 books last year :)


PanzerGrenadier said...


I read lots of Heinlein during my JC days :-)

If you like military science fiction, I highly recommended John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" as well as the "Ghost Brigades".

For the classic military science fiction, Joe Halderman's "The Forever War".

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

I knew it! You don't write that beautiful piece on your significant other without love for the language or books ;)

Wow! Your list of books read puts me to shame....

Good good. I now know who to share ideas on books that touches me (now now, don't be naughty!).

la papillion said...

Hi Michael,

Yes! I've heard of the other book by Deepak Chopra too! I'll check it out :)

Oh, the text to speech, firstly, works only on amazon native format, which is .amz or .mobi. If you have pdf or other formats, it can't do the text to speech function. You can either convert using a software called calibre to .mobi form, or buy/find the right format.

The other thing is that the function is ok. It's enough to know what the person is speaking, but it's a little mechanical. Check out youtube vids to hear it yourself. It's nowhere near the standards of audiobooks...but it's comprehensible without sounding irritating or too mechanical.

You can listen to audiobooks on kindle dx too, btw :)

Oh, you 'cheated' by hearing audiobook on the way to work!

la papillion said...

Hi PG,

Wow..I'm a late adopter of Heinlein, hahah! Okay, Ill take note of those books in my reading list, thanks!


Seems like you really like that post :)

Hmm, most of my fiction books are recommended to me by Patrick from cbox :) I found out that not all the books recommended by others fit...I guess it's different frequencies :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks LP. I checked out some vids on youtube, kindle's voice doesn't sound bad, but like you said it's nowhere near the standards of audiobooks.... I guess it's okay for non-fictions. For fictions and drama, it sounds odd :)


Anonymous said...

14. High Fidelity - Jack Hornby

Jack Hornby? Thought his name is Nick Hornby... :x

la papillion said...

Hi Michael,

Haha, glad that you've checked it out :) So, gng to get it? :D

Hi anonymous,

Oopsie... Will change it right away :P

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Ah, So Des Neh!

I was scratching my head on your book choices. Normally I can tell from the books people read on what their interests are.

For a moment, I was thinking that this butterfly's interests must be as varied as the iridescent scales on his wings!

Both moths and butterflys come from caterpillars; but there is only one La Papillion :)


Anonymous said...

Hi LP,

Very tempted... thought about whether to buy an iPad instead as it can do a lot more, but also much more expensive...

I download ebooks from everywhere. I use Stanza to convert pdf files to epub for my iphone, but it often messes up the file. I hope calibre is more reliable.


la papillion said...

Hi Michael,

Haha, it really depends on your uses..ipad can indeed do more and kindle just do one thing that it's good at - reading. The ipad screen is back lit so it might cause strain when reading for long periods of time. Kindle is like reading a decide what's important :)

Calibre can mess up pdf files too - nothing is perfect, haha!