Scott Hanselman

March 2007 My Reading List - Home

March 06, 2007 Comment on this post [17] Posted in Musings
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I've been reading less and less lately. It takes about 90 minutes to get Z to sleep, from the time we announce "night-night" through bathtime, and reading of five or six (of his) books, and then rubbing his head until he finally passes out. These aren't things to be rushed, so one has less time to read. Here's what's on my night-stand right now (compared to October last year, and compared to two months before he was born).

  • The State of Africa - I picked this up on our trip to Tanzania in the airport store. It's fantastically dense with information, each chapter is almost a book itself. It feels balanced and thoughtful and the author is well thought of on the 'net and has an extensive bibliography and there's clearly a great deal of research and thought behind the book. I'm still learning, but it sure is whirlwind coverage of the last hundred years in Africa. Recommended if you're interested in the continent.
  • Phantoms in the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran- This was loaned to me by my friend Michael Stanford. It's a very accessible book on neurology, dealing specifically with phantom limbs and phantom pain, and how the body remaps its image of itself. A fascinating read, much lighter than you'd think.
  • Killing Rain (John Rain Thrillers) by Barry Eisler - I love the whole Barry Eisler "Rain" series. John Rain is a half-Japanese, half-American professional assassin who specializes in making it look like a natural death. Because he's in Japan, he doesn't have a car, so there's incredibly detailed (and apparently, accurate) descriptions on how he gets to and from his target's final resting places. He's an assassin on foot, using crowds and organizational behavior to stay in the shadows.
    UPDATE: Barry Eisler, the author, just left a comment below that the sixth installment, Requiem for an Assassin, comes out on May 22! That's so cool. I love blogs.
  • Cell by Stephen King - Folks are picking on this book, but you either like Stephen King or you don't. In this book, the end of civilization starts with a cell phone can you not like a book that starts like that? Can you hear me now?
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman - I can't remember who in my blog posts recommended Gaiman, but I'm hooked. My family is hooked. My parents are hooked. Stardust the Movie is coming out this summer and I just ordered the BBC Miniseries of Neverwhere, for Pete's Sake. This compilation of short stories is great "bathroom reading." Just put it in there and you'll eventually make it all the way through. 
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman - More Gold from Gaiman (Neil Gaiman blogs here), another Armageddon novel I'm reading, although this one is decidedly "jollyer" than Cell. It involves a mixup in the birth of the Anti-Christ and wackiness ensues along with an unusual partnership between a demon and an angel.
  • The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington (Paperback)) by David Weber - Darn that Chris Sells, he told me to read the first Honor Harrington novel and now I have to read all, what, eleven of them? The first one started slow...real slow, and then something like fifty pages in, I was hooked. It's better than Star Trek (in terms of space combat) when Star Trek was great. My dad's hooked too. I keep wanting Angelina Jolie to play Honor in a movie, but that would cheapen it, wouldn't it?

By the way, all the links and pictures in this post were quickly and easily added using my CueCat for Windows LiveWriter Plugin that you can download and use as well!

What are you reading?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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March 06, 2007 18:16
Have you checked out: ... it has the first three books of the honor harrington series, and many other books from baen's back catalog as well
March 06, 2007 18:57
I think people are picking on Cell because it's not SKs best work. I'm a big fan of his, read everything including the non-fictions. Cell's a little like a less grand version of the Stand. It's generally a bit flat, lacking in characterisation and thrills. Not his worst but a long way from the best. Still, in paperback it's now dirt cheap and still better than DaVinci Code.
March 06, 2007 19:19
I read Cell and enjoyed it. It wasn't his best work and it is fairly anticlimactic, but, like jon ^^ said, it's very similar to the Stand. He's been doing that lately, it seems. Cell = The Stand, From A Buick 8 = Christine, etc.

But a good read.
March 06, 2007 19:50
I'm reading Spin by Robert Charles Wilson right now. It's a, ahem, stellar Sci Fi book from 2005. So far the best book I've read this year, though it's been a bit slow.
March 06, 2007 22:30
I've been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately. My two current reads are "A Perfect Mess" by Abrahamson/Freedman and "The No As*hole Rule" by Sutton. The first is a thorough examination of mess and messy people, and why it's not always bad to be messy (my wife thinks it's going to justify the omnipresent pile of crap on my side of the bed). The second is a book about keeping your workplace free of, well, as*holes, and how to deal with the ones that might already be lurking. Both are quite insightful thus far.
March 06, 2007 23:43
Nice. I'm "listening" to Good Omens right now. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an audio book through Audible or Amazon. For those who are interested, I had to buy the audio cd's directly from ISIS publishing in the UK and have them ship it to me. Cost about 26 pounds.
March 07, 2007 1:00
Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich - Mark Kriegel – This book is must read for me because I went to Pistol Pete’s basketball camp just a few years before he died, and in college I played ball at the same school the camp was at and Press (Pate’s father) used to come over to the college and teach us how to shoot free-throws.

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman – Not read yet.

Roughneck Nine-One: The Extraordinary Story of a Special Forces A-team at War by Frank Antenori, Hans Halberstadt – Great peak of what its like to be in the middle of a modern day war.

Echo Park (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connelly -- My favorite author and Harry is his best character. Bosch is a detective in the L.A. Cold Case Division who had retired and is now back solving cases he could not solve in the prime of his career.

Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One by Thomas Sowell. – Not read yet. Just trying to learn something that I know nothing about.

The Innocents Abroad (Dover Value Editions) by Mark Twain – A very interesting take of what it was like for an American to travel oversees in the nineteenth century, and you can’t get a better author to do it than Mark Twain.

I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny by Bob Newhart – I never knew that Newhart had one of the best selling comedy albums ever. Cute light hearted funny read. He also includes all his comedy bits in the book.

The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth – About a man who infiltrates Alqueda to stop a terrorist attack.

The Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin – Currently listening to this one in my car.
March 07, 2007 1:17
The latest books that i read that i think you would like:
-Leaving Microsoft to change the world

I added some of the books that you mentioned to my wishlist. I am especially interested in the book about Africa, since i am very interested in the history of Africa.
March 07, 2007 3:22
My current reading list at home:

If you give a mouse a cookie - My daughter walks around looking for this book saying "soooooo, glass of milk".

Saxaphone Sam and his Snazzy Jazz Band - She calls this one the "band aid" book. I think it's because it has "band" in the title.

Go, dog, go! - She walks around quoting parts of this book. "By boat, by car"

Seriously, that's about all I get to read lately. I know there are books that contain words with multiple syllables, I just don't get to read them yet.

re: Honor Harrington - A few years ago they released a hard cover book that came with a CD with ebook versions of the entire series.
March 07, 2007 6:17
Currently reading: "The mythical man-month" (Frederick Brooks) and "Cryptonomicon" (Neal Stephenson) - from what I read on various blogs, I can't work in software if I haven't read these books.
Just finished: "A dirty job" (Christopher Moore) and Kindred (Octavia Butler), both of which I highly recommend.


March 07, 2007 6:25
Oh, the joys of little ones.

Tonight I read Curious George Learns the Alphabet to my 5 year old but when I do have time to read independently I like to mix it up. I am a big history and sociology buff and lately I have been tag-team reading Guns, Germs, and Steel along with Collapse, both by Jared Diamond. When I am in the mood for fiction I pick up my copy of Son of a Witch (the follow-up to Wicked) by Gregory Maguire.

Three books is the most I like to juggle at one time but I have 3 bookshelves waiting to be perused.
March 07, 2007 8:46
I'm reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I didn't grow up with baseball and at first only followed it to be able to talk to people, but now I can see that any person with a love for numbers is probably going to love the statistical side of baseball.

In the fiction department, I'm reading Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald.
March 07, 2007 8:48
Oh, and I just wanted to say I do like Eisler... I picked up on him after a footnote in a Paul Graham essay, I wonder how many other people did too.
March 07, 2007 11:37
Wow. If Z is reading this stuff at his age, I can't imagine what he'll be like years from now. Great parenting job! ;)
March 09, 2007 10:49
Hey, I like that guy Eisler's books, too... ;-)

Thanks for the kind words, Scott and David. The sixth installment, Requiem for an Assassin, comes out on May 22... hope you enjoy it at least as much as the others.

March 12, 2007 8:46
A book I would highly recommend, both for its writing style and the thoughtful way in which the characters are delineated, is Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Its a collection of short stories that won the Pulitzer prize for fiction some years back. Check it out!
March 19, 2007 23:31
Scott, if you like Gaiman, try one of his Graphic novels from his Sandman Comic Book series. Also, give a Jonathan Carroll a try sometime (From the Teeth of Angels,Child Across the Sky etc...).

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.