Reading List

Books I’ve Read (2018) 

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Rating: Currently Reading
Currently reading this book… 

Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
It just keeps getting better! Utrhed is healed and has his best battles ever in this book, It is about battles, honor, and… family. We learn more about Uthred’s daughter, and like George R.R. Martin, the female characters end up being the strongest. An amanzing book, amazing battles, and amazing relationships. As good as the Empty Throne, my prior favorite in the series. A mist read!!! 

The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
This is book 8 of the Saxon series, and by far the best book in the 10 book series so far. The character development is just amazing, and the action is supurb. With all that is happening, it’s hard to believe there are only 2 more books to go. 

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Sunzi)
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
Ted Neward turned me on to this book about 7 years ago, and because I do so many quotes from it in my talks I thought I would read it again as a refresher. The book consists of 13 chapters, and this time around I chose to really study it rather than simply read it. I took one chapter at a time, paid close attention to every word, and thought about the chapter for a while before moving onto the next one. While I am certainly not going to be leading armies into battle, as a software architect I do have to negotiate with stakeholders and lead development teams through the implementation of my architectures, which is almost as hard as leading troops into battle. This book gives me lots of insite into negotiating business deals and dealing with stakeholders. A definite worthwhile read into forming overall strategies for engagement.   

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
This is my second reading of Seveneves, and one of my favorite Neal Stephenson books (Cryptonomicon being my other favorite). Because I’ve been traveling so much I decided to read this again on my long trips, and I’m so glad I did. This is really 2 books in one, but part 1 is my absolute favorite (part 2 is okay, but not nearly as good as part 1). I gave this 5 stars because part 1 is actually 7 stars, and part 2 only 3 stars, which makes the book as a whole 5 stars. The way Neal Stephenson describes in detail the physics and dynamics of cosmic events is amazing, and the characters are deep and well developed. A must-read for any Neal Stephenson fan.   

Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons
Rating: 4 stars * * * *
Ok, so it might seem weird that I include this sort of book in my reading list, but if you like bitters then this is a must read. Bitters consist of herbs or fruit (or anything) infused using high proof alcohol, with only a few drops used to enhance the flavor of the drink (e.g. Manhattan, Old Fashioned). The first half of the book goes into the history of bitters (which was fascinating), and also has a whole section about how to make your own bitters. The second half of the book contains tons of recipes for drinks containing bitters, which starts the creative juices flowing for making your own bitters drinks (my favorite is a classic margarita with smoked chili bitters - amazing).  

WOOL by Hugh Howey
Rating: 4 stars * * * * 
I’ve been wanting to read WOOL for a long time, and finally got to it. An amazing book about an apocolyptic modern-day earth consisting of underground silos where communities live. It is about the eventual breakdown of a controlled and overly-governed society, with plenty of action. The author goes into sufficient detail to really get a picture of life in underground silos. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It shares some similarities to the Hunger Games trilogy about controlled society and those that choose to fight that sort of society rather than live in it. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because of the ending and lack of deep character development - although the ending was full of action, I felt it didn’t match the rest of the book and seemed a bit hokey to me (as most book ending do unfortunately). Furthermore, there was a part about a “governing body” overseeing all of the silos that was mentioned about 4/5th of the way through the book that was changed at the end to a group of kids - that part didn’t make much sense to me as the “governing body” concept disappeared after one page. Still, a fun and worthwhile read.    

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
This is the third book in the awesome broken earch trilogy that my friend
Neal Ford turned me onto. Jemisin’s writing style is fantastic, and the world she creates in this series is extremely well done. While the book started out a little slow and confusing, it picked up quickly, explaining the stone eaters and making for an amazing conclusion to the triogy (in particular, the last chapter and the following acknowledgements). I would highly recommend all three books in this trilogy. Jemisin’s style of writing combined with the characters and the world she has created makes this book (and the whole series) a solid 5 stars. What I first through as a “final great sci-fi/fantasy book in an end-of-the-world trilogy" quickly became more about a book between the strong but difficult relationship between mother and daughter. The final acknowledgements section at the end of the book (as well as the final chapter) almost brought tears to my eyes. Amazing.

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin
Rating: 5 stars * * * * *
Book 2 in the broken earth trilogy that my friend 
Neal Ford turned me onto. This book provides most of the answers to lots of question from the first book in this trilogy (The Fifth Season). I really had trouble putting this book down once I started reading it, making for some very late nights. The stone eaters are still a mystery to me, but hopefully that mystery will be solved in book 3 of the trilogy. After reading this book I can’t imagine stopping after the first one in the series. So much more is explained in this book, making it a must to read after book one to really get the whole picture of the end of the world.

Books I’ve Read (2017) 

  • Artemis by Andy Weir (A)
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (A)
  • The Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger (B+)
  • The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • The Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • Origins by Dan Brown (A-)
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (A)
  • The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell (A) 
  • A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles (A+)
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (B+)
  • Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (A)
  • The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell (A)
  • Thinking Machines by Luke Dormehl (B-)
  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley (B-)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (B+)
  • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (B+)
  • The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston (B+) 
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (B+)
  • The Revenant by Michael Punke (B+)
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (B)
  • Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (B+)

Books I’ve Read (2016) 

  • Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell (A+)
  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King (D-)
  • Terminal Velocity by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (B+)
  • The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory (A)
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi (C)
  • A Higher Call by Adam Makos (A)
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (B)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (B-)
  • The Lost Island by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (B+)
  • Proxy by Lauren Richards (my daughter) (A)
  • The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck (A-)
  • Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace (A)
  • The Third Gate by Lincoln Child (B+)
  • The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child (B+)
  • The Rescue by Joseph Conrad (B)
  • Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell (A-)
  • When the Eagle Hunts by Simon Scarrow (B)
  • Diamond Age by Neal Stevenson (B)
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (B)
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (A-)
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (B+)
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard (A)
  • Under The Eagle by Simon Scarrow (B+)
  • The Eagle’s Conquest by Simon Scarrow (B+)
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (A)
  • Seveneves by Neal Stevenson (A+)
  • Proxima by Stephen Baxter (B-)
© Mark Richards 2018