Jim's Book List

I am a life-long bookworm. Here are some books I've read in the last 3 years or so.

For the past few months it seems as if I've been reading nothing but Patrick O'Brian. This isn't strictly true, but I have been gradually working my way thru his 20-volume Aubrey/Maturin series. A truly outstanding set of novels best described as "Jane Austen onboard". I started reading the first one after seeing Peter Wier's excellent movie "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," which is based on the first and tenth book in the series.

I never would have predicted that a series of books in which the action is mostly confined to a sailing ship (and that requires a reference volume to decode, such as A Sea of Words - right) would keep me enthralled, volume after volume. But Patrick O' Brian was a remarkably good writer - his prose is economical and witty, his observation of character is sharp and his erudition is immense.

I recently read Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. This book was recommended by Connie Willis, a recent favorite author of mine. In various interviews she cites this as her favorite book, so I thought I'd give it a try. The book was originally written in Norwegian in the 1920s, and the author won the Nobel Literature prize. I read the Archer translation for the first two volumes, but then switched to the more recent Tiina Nunnally translation (and went back and reread a few parts). The Nunnally translation is much better.

Things to note from the book list below: I tend to buy books in groups pertaining to my obsession du jour. You'll see from the following list that among my recent obsessions were:

  1. Animation
  2. 19th Century Technology
  3. British Folk Music
  4. Shamanism and Siberia
  5. Computer Chess
  6. The English Language & Dictionaries
  7. 3D Computer Graphics Progamming
  8. Tom Stoppard
  9. Fantasy Literature
  10. Poetry

Aside from the "obsession books," which are typically read to expand the mind, there are a few "comfort books" thrown in, which are typically read to sooth or entertain the mind. These include the books read to Jenna, the Nero Wolfe books, Nostalgia books (like the Little Rascals) and the Comic Books. I also haven't included the crossword puzzle books, which are intended to exercise the mind, without necessarily expanding it.



For Young Readers:

Non-Fiction, non-technical: