What follows is a (very) partial list of the books I’ve read over the years. While ebooks and online ordering make it easier to track the books I’ve read in the past ten years or so, prior to that I have nothing but my physical bookshelves and my memory to rely on.
Here’s my ranking system:
Five stars: A masterpiece…and I’d gladly read it more than once.
Four stars: The cream of the crop…somewhere in the top five percent of its genre.
Three stars: Not only did I enjoy it, I’d recommend it to my friends.
Two stars: Better than average in its genre…worth the time and money I spent on it.
One star: Meh. Not bad, but I’ve either read better or I can easily imagine how it could be better.
I’m combining different genres in this list, which makes for strange bedfellows, but there you have it.
So, without further ado, here is my very partial, work-in-progress list of books I’ve read (and some I’d recommend). Within each rating, books are listed in no particular order.
For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
On Writing, by Steven King
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
To Know As We Are Known by Parker Palmer
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
On the Shores of Silver Lake + On the Banks of Plum Creek, etc., (“Little House” series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works by Flannery O’Connor
Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond
River of Doubt, by Candice Millard
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
The Midnight Library: A Novel by Matt Haig
AAA Book Club
The AAA Book Club is a men’s book club that has been meeting…well, just about forever, but at least since I joined in 2006. We only read nonfiction. The “AAA” stands for affordable, accessible, and…what? No one really remembers, but I think we’ve decided to settle on “apocalyptic,” given the number of books we read about the world going to hell in a handbasket.
Following is a list of all the books I’ve read with the book club. The book club’s list is about thirty titles longer, but I culled out the ones I didn’t read or don’t remember. The titles are listed from 2006 to present, in descending order.
- God’s Politics, by Jim Wallis
- Wittgenstein’s Poker, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow
- On Writing, by Steven King
- For the Time Being, by Annie Dillard
- Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, by Stephen Bloom
- Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond
- Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit, by Krista Tippett
- River of Doubt, by Candice Millard
- The Places in Between, by Rory Stewart
- Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel
- Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner
- Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, by Dr. Atul Gawande
- Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell
- Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, by John McKnight and Peter Block
- Bayou Farwell, by Mike Tidwell
- Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder, by Kent Nerburn
- River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler
- Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, by Annie Murphy Paul
- 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, by Jonathan Haidt
- Post American World 2.0, by Fareed Zakaria
- Healing the Heart of Democracy, by Parker Palmer
- Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, by Kevin Bleyer
- Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t, by Nate Silver
- Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
- Reinventing Organizations, by Frederic Lalaux
- Life is a Miracle, by Wendell Berry
- The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
- Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo
- Climate Change: A Very Short Intro, by Mark Maslin
- Pope Francis: Untying the Knots, by Paul Vallely
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande
- A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, by Rebecca Solnit
- My Life With the Saints, by James Martin
- Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown
- When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi.
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein
- Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
- The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
- The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging, by Charles Vogl
- A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin
- Silence in the Age of Noise, by Erling Kagge
- Our Final Invention: AI and the End of the Human Era, by James Barrat
- Travels With Charlie, by John Steinbeck
- Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
- The Second Mountain, by David Brooks
- Love Your Enemies, by Arthur C. Brooks
- Reclaiming Conversation, by Sherry Turtle
- An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives, by Matt Richtel
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson
- This is How They Tell Me the World Ends by Nicole Perloth
- Rising Strong by Brene Brown
- The Midnight Library: A Novel by Matt Haig
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- I Never Thought Of It That Way Monica Guzman