Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in 2009

Once again, here's my annual list of books I've read in the last year. I did much better in quantity than last year--going back to school helped a bit, even though the vast majority of reading for class was articles that aren't reflected in this list.
  • John Baer, James C. Kaufman, and Roy F. Baumeister, editors, Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will
  • Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
  • Jeff Benedict, Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage
  • Simon Blackburn, Truth: A Guide
  • Paul Boghossian, Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism
  • Fred P. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition
  • Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes (not very funny, and thinks "all platypuses are mammals" is analytic and a priori, p. 67--is that what they teach at Harvard?)
  • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
  • Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle
  • Douglas R. Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop
  • Jean-Roch Laurence and Campbell Perry, Hypnosis, Will, and Memory: A Psycho-Legal History
  • Penn Jillette, How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker: The Wisdom of Dickie Richard
  • Paul Krassner, In Praise of Indecency: The Leading Investigative Satirist Sounds Off on Hypocrisy, Censorship, and Free Expression
  • Paul Krassner, Who's to Say What's Obscene? Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today
  • Oscar Levant, The Unimportance of Being Oscar
  • Oscar Levant, A Smattering of Ignorance
  • Ben Mezrich, Busting Vegas: A True Story of Monumental Excess, Sex, Love, Violence, and Beating the Odds
  • Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future
  • Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
  • Vincent Price, I Like What I Know: A Visual Autobiography
  • W.V. Quine, Methods of Logic, Fourth Edition
  • Rudy Rucker, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy
  • Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
  • John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality
  • Kyrsten Sinema, Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last
  • Jim Steinmeyer, Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural
  • Gore Vidal, Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia
  • T.H. White, The Once and Future King
I also read significant parts of
  • Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • Yaron Ezrahi, The Descent of Icarus: Science and the Transformation of Contemporary Democracy
  • Edward J. Hackett, Olga Amsterdamska, Michael Lynch, and Judy Wajcman, editors, The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Third Edition
  • Michael Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity
  • Elliott Mendelson, Introduction to Mathematical Logic (5th edition) (worked through ch. 3 on number theory and Gödel's incompleteness theorems and the appendix on second-order predicate logic, along with Boolos & Jeffrey's Computability and Logic chapter on second-order predicate logic)
  • R.C. Olby, G.N. Cantor, J.R.R. Christie, and M.J.S. Hodge, editors, Companion to the History of Modern Science
  • Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life
(Previously: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.)

4 comments:

I Doubt It said...

Inspiring. I keep a list of everything I've read since 1993. So, I did mine too.
http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/reading-log-2009/

Hume's Ghost said...

I got about 10 pages into Construction of Social Reality and could go no further. Too dense for me, althought I still rank Mind as high up on my list of books I want to read.

John Mashey said...

Fred Brooks: Hopefully, you read the 1995 edition, which has some fine retrospective comments. I urged Fred to do another one, ,but he really doesn't do this any more, sad to say.

Jim Lippard said...

IDoubtIt: Looks like we read one in common in the same year (Kurtz, _The New Skepticism_), and a fair amount of overall overlap (e.g., Randi, Morrow, Lessig). How was _Idiot America_?

Hume's Ghost: I really enjoyed Searle's book. If you found the definitional stuff too dense, you might still have found value in skimming over it. The last three chapters also can stand mostly on their own.

John Mashey: Yes, indeed. I was doing some software testing earlier this year, which motivated me to pull that out of my unread stacks and read it. I enjoyed the Multics references, as well, since one of my earliest career choices was Multics developer.