Paul Randal (Blog|Twitter) blogged about the books he read in 2010 yesterday. Gail Shaw (Blog|Twitter) posted a similar writeup of the books she read in 2010 not long after. They each read a very impressive list of 45 books in 2010.
I didn’t keep track of my books read last year, but I did have a goal to read more non-technical and non-work-related books in 2010. I had fallen into a pattern in recent years of spending all of my reading time with technical books. I think I was telling myself that I was reading a variety of books, because I would read books about economics/finance in addition to tech books about SQL Server or similar. However, because I work in the investments industry, those economics and finance books really weren’t adding much variety to my reading life… they are just as work-related as any tech book I might pick up. Thus, reading wasn’t providing me with a chance to break away from work and stimulate my mind in other directions.
Favorite Books Read in 2010
Even though I didn’t keep track of the non-technical (or non-work-related) books read in 2010, a quick view of my bookshelves did reveal my favorite books read last year. So, my favorite three of these books read in 2010 are below, in order of most favorite listed first.
- Survivor: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk – You might be familiar with this author from two of his novels that were adapted into movies: Fight Club and Choke. Fight Club is an amazing novel, one of my favorites. If you liked the movie but haven’t read the novel yet, add it to your reading queue. Survivor didn’t disappoint, and I’d be hard-pressed to decide whether it or Fight Club was the more enjoyable read.
- Hey Rube by Hunter S. Thompson – This is a collection of Hunter’s writings for ESPN from end of 2000 until a year and a half before his death. Some people reviewed this book unfavorably, possibly because they expected something more similar to Hunter’s earlier works. To me, the times have changed, and Hunter reflects them in his usual style. Also, these works were written in a part of Hunter’s life that he described as “17 (years) more than I needed or wanted.” If nothing else, I find the tone of these writings interesting because I’m approaching the age that Hunter thought should have been the end of his days here on Earth.
- Spook Country by William Gibson – This is the second book in Gibson’s latest trilogy that started with Pattern Recognition. This trilogy is current day rather than being set in the future, and deals more with marketing and advertising than near-Earth orbit and high-tech gadgetry. The trilogy is a fun ride so far, but then again Gibson’s style has appealed to me for decades. A fair number of people tell me they can’t stand his books whenever I mention his name, so take that into account when I mention Gibson’s novels among my favorites.
Books Queued for Reading in 2011
Looking ahead, the first three non-technical books I’m planning to read in 2011 are already on my nightstand, queued up and ready for me to start reading tonight. These books are listed below in the order I plan to read them.
Zero History by William Gibson – The continuation of Spook Country (listed above) and final book in Gibson’s latest trilogy.
The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson – This is a collection of Hunter’s writings beginning with the time period when I was in high school and first started reading his articles in Rolling Stone magazine.
When I Grow up: A Memoir by Juliana Hatfield – I’m a fan of Juliana Hatfield. My MP3 playlist of her songs is around 15 hours long and growing (I don’t have all of The Lemonheads albums that she’s on yet). So it’s not surprising that I was excited to start reading her memoir when it came out a couple of years ago. I knew it wasn’t going to be a story full of happiness. It was fun to read about the formation of Blake Babies, especially since that took place in Boston, and I loved living there, so her descriptions would remind me of those days. However, once the book turned less happy, it stayed down and heavy. It was strange to read about shows where I saw her, and learn about the sadness in her life at those times. Finally, it got to a point where I didn’t want to open the book and continue with that frame of mind, so I stopped reading it. Anyway, I’m ready to give it another try, and plan to open it up and start reading it from the beginning again. I’m intrigued to see where Juliana takes her story.