I’ve read a lot of books this year, thanks in part to the joy of tracking things through GoodReads (see my profile on GoodReads). For some reason, keeping track of what I’ve read and want to read in the future has spurred my reading on in ways I didn’t expect.
Here’s the list of what I read in 2011:
In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat in Iraq, by Rick Atkinson
The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point’s Class of 1966, by Rick Atkinson
Rick Atkinson may be my favorite writer covering military issues – he brings a fantastic balance of experience and objectivity. I’m greatly anticipating the third in his “Liberation Trilogy” about the Allied forces in Europe during World War II.
The New Cool, by Neal Bascomb
A great story about a high school FIRST robotics team. Inspiring.
Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II, by Stephen Budiansky
Triumph and Tragedy, by Winston S. Churchill
Finally finished the last of Churchill’s World War II memoirs. It was a long slog, but worth it.
Soul Mining, by Daniel Lanois
A beautiful, impressionist look at the work of my favorite music producer.
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, by Michael Lewis
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis
I got slightly obsessed with Michael Lewis’s writing this year; he has the rare talent of taking things I would never be interested in (the financial meltdown, valuations of football players by position, etc) and making them incredibly intriguing.
Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway, by Walter Lord
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, William Raymond Manchester
Manchester is a fantastic biographer whose work I first read when I tackled his biography of Winston Churchill. This is another excellent piece.
Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage, Joseph E. Persico
Not recommended; this is a strange and scattered accounting of the USA’s World War II espionage and codebreaking. Battle of Wit, by Stephen Budiansky, is much better.
Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945, by Evan Thomas
Spare Parts: From Campus to Combat: A Marine Reservist’s Journey from Campus to Combat in 38 Days, by Buzz Williams
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery (Billy Boyle World War II, #1), by James R. Benn
Pacific Glory: A Novel, by P.T. Deutermann
Enigma, by Robert Harris
Los Alamos, by Joseph Kanon
Lots of WWII-era fiction here; “Pacific Glory” may have been the best among them, but none are really essential. This was basically light summer reading.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
I finally read this after years of gentle (and not-so-gentle) suggestion by my lovely wife, and I regret not having read it sooner. A masterpiece.
Reamde, by Neal Stephenson
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, by Neal Stephenson
Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
Stephenson’s new work, “Reamde”, spurred me on to re-reading “Cryptonomicon” for the fourth or fifth time. “Crytonomicon” is still my absolute favorite of his books, but “Readme” was entertaining; it’s more a thriller (think Bourne Identity) than a piece of historical or science fiction.
The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk