Wednesday Book Club

Last updated Monday, 5 October 2009 — 4:47pm

Every seven days—at present, every Wednesday, but only because I started doing this on a Wednesday—I will publish a post on a book I have read that week. It may be a review, a critical essay, or a thematic digression that uses the book of the week as a convenient springboard; I don’t expect to approach every selection with anything resembling consistency. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum, but not to the point of completely impeding intelligent discussion.

I do not intend to post about every book I read. In fact, I plan to deliberately omit some from time to time, for the sole purpose of keeping the selections diverse and fresh.

This project was inspired by the 52 Books in 52 Weeks feature at A Modest Construct, where one may also find a running directory of everyone else who did or is doing something similar in a given year.

Without further ado, may I present the index:

Books read in 2009

  1. The Rights Revolution (2000) by Michael Ignatieff
  2. Twilight (2005) by Stephenie Meyer
  3. Childhood’s End (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Watership Down (1972) by Richard Adams
  5. The Simple Art of Murder (1950) by Raymond Chandler
  6. Cat’s Cradle (1963) by Kurt Vonnegut
  7. Spiritus Mundi: Essays on Literature, Myth, and Society (1976) by Northrop Frye
  8. On Beauty (2005) by Zadie Smith
  9. Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007) by Ben Ratliff
  10. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004) by Susanna Clarke
  11. The Immortal Game: A History of Chess (2006) by David Shenk
  12. The Scientist as Rebel (2007) by Freeman Dyson
  13. Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life (2008) by Robin Wilson
  14. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1997) by Haruki Murakami
  15. Master and Commander (1970) by Patrick O’Brian

Books read in 2008

  1. Plowing the Dark (2000) by Richard Powers
  2. The Manticore (1972) by Robertson Davies
  3. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (2006) by Eoin Colfer
  4. Moonraker (1955) by Ian Fleming
  5. Rebecca (1938) by Daphne du Maurier
  6. Red Mars (1992) by Kim Stanley Robinson
  7. The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy
  8. Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz (2006) by Stanley Crouch
  9. The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind (2006) by Marvin Minsky
  10. Ivanhoe (1819) by Walter Scott
  11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) by Truman Capote
  12. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969) by Vladimir Nabokov
  13. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) by Junot Díaz
  14. Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language (1997) by Douglas R. Hofstadter
  15. The War of the Worlds (1898) by H.G. Wells
  16. Gravity Journal (2008) by Gail Sidonie Sobat
  17. The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  18. The Ruby in the Smoke (1985) by Philip Pullman
  19. The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007) by Alex Ross
  20. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Inheritance and Race (1995) by Barack Obama
  21. The Siege of Krishnapur (1973) by J.G. Farrell
  22. The Gunslinger (1982) by Stephen King
  23. Wonder Boys (1995) by Michael Chabon
  24. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (1999) by Matt Ridley
  25. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008) by J.K. Rowling
  26. Persepolis (2004) by Marjane Satrapi
  27. Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi (2008) by Martin Gardner
  28. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974) by John le Carré

I am always looking for book recommendations, and they need not be fiction. You can probably get a sense of my tastes from my posts and reviews, but the whole point of soliciting recommendations is to discover things I might not otherwise encounter by myself, so anything goes. Nevertheless, some guidance: artificial intelligence, imperial civilizations, board games, political intrigue, scientific ethics, logical quandaries, mythology, literary/film/music theory/history/criticism, wordplay.