So Many Books, So Little Time

02Jan17

We’ve whipped around the sun again and it’s time to take stock of my reading for 2016.

I start each year with several goals:

  • Read a minimum of 20 books,
  • Read at least one classic,
  • Read one book about baseball.

Because I stopped doing my stupidly long commute, my total is significantly down from 2015.

My classics were limited to the sci-fi genre: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I found The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to be silly and weird but, for 410bnolmnol-_sx331_bo1204203200_some reason, my mind keeps wandering back to it. Maybe that’s part of what makes it a classic. More about The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress below.

I never got around to reading a book about baseball. I guess nothing struck me as a must-read. I’ll have to make up for that in 2017. I did gift two baseball books to family members: Zim: A Baseball Life and Shoeless Joe (the book Field of Dreams is based on) because both are excellent and are must-reads for baseball fans.

This was my year of reading books about astronauts. I read three: A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe. I didn’t intend to read three astronaut biographies, it just happened that way.

I read A Journal for Christa beacuse, working at Christa McAuliffe Charter School I felt I needed to know more about this remarkable woman. It’s not great, but I think it ought to be required reading for staff at the school. The books about Sally Ride and Mike Massimino were excellent.

I had the unique experience of reading a book that was, in small part, about me or, more accurately, about some work I did in the 1990’s. I had known Shadow Divers Exposed: The Real Saga of the U-869 existed, but had always assumed it was sour grapes from one wreck 41qpc6chpal-_sx301_bo1204203200_diver about the work, and media success, of another diver. I was wrong. It was really about setting the recored straight about who should have been given credit for uncovering the identity of a World War II German U-boat that was discovered off the coast of New Jersey. As it turns out, I assisted significantly in that effort but was not given credit. Who knew?

The best books I read in 2016?

Both were fiction: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. These were both outstanding. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress provides ample evidence that Robert A. Heinlein was a master of the sci-fi genre. It was an absolute joy to read and I 51hayo7qynlthink about it surprisingly often. I read and enjoyed Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising about World War III in the 1980’s. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War is the 21st century version of that novel. It takes place 20 to 30 years from now is about a geopolitical showdown between China and Russia one one side and the United States on the other side. Lots of ships and marines – it was great – and scary.

This was also my year to reach out to authors and have them respond. I tweeted to Lynn Sherr author of Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space and she tweeted back to me.

I contacted Andy Weir who wrote The Martian and Sam Kean author of The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. Both of the writers agreed to sign my copies of their amazing books. There are days, I love the internet.

Here’s my complete list of the books I read in 2016:

Time’s Eye (Time Odyssey) (Audiobook)

Great Classic Science Fiction: Eight Unabridged Stories (Audiobook)

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (Audiobook)

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi (Audiobook)

Scared to Death: Do it Anyway

Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College

A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space

A Cruise Ship Primer: History & Operations

The Darkest Hour: A Novel

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files)

Red Desert – Point of No Return

Where Divers Dare: The Hunt for the Last U-Boat

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Shadow Divers Exposed: The Real Saga of the U-869

Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space51bvtanlvil

Stories of Your Life and Others

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Voyeur’s Motel

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

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