Books I read In 2014
I can’t believe its been a year. It seems like I was writing my “Books I Read” post for 2013 a few months ago, but there’s no arguing with the calendar.
2014 brought a major change in my consumption of books. Since I have a ridiculously long commute, I vowed to use that time productively and not just waste it on talk radio and traffic reports. Thus, the audiobook makes up a large percentage of the books I read this year. So, when I say “read” I mean read the paper or digital version or listened to a book. I have noted which were audiobooks on the list.
Once again, and now for the fifth consecutive year, I reached my goal of reading 20 books a year. In fact, I blew it away thanks to the audiobooks.
My Brief History – The autobiography of Stephen Hawking. Very interesting.
Rhode Island Disasters: Tales of Tragedy by Air, Sea and Rail – So many disasters for such a small state.
A Briefer History of Time – A nice re-write of Hawking landmark work for the masses on cosmology.
Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 – An inspirational book every teacher should read.
Directed by Jack Arnold – I love the old Jack Arnold movies – you know them: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space, Tarantula, The Mouse That Roared.
For Teachers Only – Forgettable.
The Wisdom of Steve Jobs – Nice bathroom reading.
The Fog – I read this in High School and then passed it around to all my friends. There’s a lot of sex in this story and the cover was pretty racy. What more do you need in a trashy novel?
The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era – This was a fascinating look at the discovery, understanding of and harnessing of radioactive elements. It’s a chemistry, physics and history class all rolled into a gripping story.
Jade’s Story – The unpublished sequel to Nora Waite. Maybe it will hit Amazon in 2015?
The Sun Also Rises – The first Hemingway novel I’ve ever read. I read some of his short stores in school but never got around to one of his novels. I’m glad I read it. I didn’t find it a life-altering read. I try to read one classic per year. This was the first of four classic works on my list this year. Mrs. Quinlan, my 9th grade english teacher, would be proud.
Irwin AllenTelevision Productions, 1964-1970: A Critical History of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants – I loved these shows as a kid. Irwin Allen made the kind of movies and TV shows I loved. This book wasn’t really what I was looking for, which was a narrative of Allen’s life and his creative process, but it was okay.
The End of the Point: A Novel – I saw this book mentioned on WCVB’s Chronicle TV show as a noteworthy book by a local author. It was very good.
Pride and Prejudice (Audiobook) – Saw the movie, listened to the book. Tried and gave up on the zombie version. I’ve had quite enough of Miss Jane Austen, thank you.
Kaiten: Japan’s Secret Manned Suicide Submarine and the First American Ship It Sank in WWII (Audiobook) – Who knew? A very good read about a chapter of World War II that I never knew about.
Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration (Audiobook) – Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon – just moments after Neil Armstrong. He has some very cool ideas about exploring Mars.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (audiobook) – This was part of my school’s 8th grade Fall expedition. It’s a fascinating read. It will change the way you think about food. So much corn.
On the Road (Audiobook) – I started reading this book a few years ago and ran out of gas. Listening to it made all the difference. Jack Kerouac’s novel is a stream of consciousness – images and ideas swirling past the reader with barely enough time to comprehend the significance before being replaced by newer images and ideas. I’ve seen the manuscript/scroll. This book works so much better for me as an audiobook. I loved it. I can imagine myself listening to it again someday.
Dirty Love (Audiobook) – This is a series of long short stories (novellas) by local author Andre Dubus III. They are interrelated in a very loose way. All the characters and places in these stores exist in the same universe. I liked it and wouldn’t mind reading more about this particular universe.
The Ghosts of Bungo Suido : a Novel – A fun, action-packed naval story of World War II.
Hidden Warbirds: The Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering, and Rebuilding WWII’s Lost Aircraft – If you like abandoned things and aircraft especially, you’ll enjoy this.
A Gift of Time – A self-published autobiography of a retired Marine who fought in Korea with my father. I keep urging my father to write his own story. He’s lived an interesting life and it ought to be preserved.
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World (Audiobook) – Fascinating. This is chemistry where you don’t think about chemistry – like chocolate making. The joy of concrete is another great chapter.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Audiobook) – A classic that I was embarrassed to say I’d never read. Now, I don’t have to feel that way anymore. It holds up really well for a book written 138 years ago.
A Stir of Echos (Audiobook) – Why doesn’t Richard Matheson get the recognition he so richly deserves as a writer? I mentioned him to an English teacher who I know reads science fiction and she’d never heard of him. This was excellent and, what do you know, it was made into a movie. Someday I’m going to do a post just about the importance of Richard Matheson.
The Box: Uncanny Stories (audiobook) – More Richard Matheson. As it turns out, I had read this collection a few years ago but it was just a good the second time around.
A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain (Audiobook) – One might expect this to be an interesting read. It was not. The best part about it was that it was, blessedly, short.
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Audiobook) – This might be the best book I read all year. It was gripping, funny, insightful and fast-paced. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys history and the space program.
Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War (Audiobook) – This was very good. Fathers and sons and all that doesn’t get said between them.
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex – This is the other book on my list that gets consideration for best read of the year. This is the real life story that inspired Moby Dick. Someone recommended it to me about five years ago, and I finally got ‘round to reading it. It’s great. Now, I want to visit Nantucket. The movie, directed by Ron Howard, comes out in March.
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Tags: Andre Dubus III, books, In the Heart of the Sea, Nora Waite, Richard Matheson, Tom Sawyer