Captain Billy’s Holiday Reading List

An important part of being an Xtreme Geezer is retaining your mind, maybe even sharpening it a bit. Reading is a critical component of that, but not just any reading. You need to get out of your comfortable rut and explore. One way to do that is to use someone else’s reading list, but good ones can be hard to come by–too many people read fluff and best sellers.

My good friend Bill Rozier has a great tradition he rolls out every holiday season. He gets his extended circle of friends to list the best books they have read in the previous year, then he sends the list to everyone. It’s such a fine list I decided to reproduce it here. Click on the book image to be taken to that book on Amazon. Each book has a short description by the person who suggested the book. In some cases I have added to the description–my adds are in double brackets. Pleast feel free to comment on this list and add favorites of your own.

Rozier’s Holiday Book List 2010

[amazon_link id=”039333032X” target=”_blank” ]Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy[/amazon_link]

1.  [amazon_link id=”039333032X” target=”_blank” ]Six Frigates:[/amazon_link]  The Epic History of the Founding of the US Navy

In truth, I don’t care all that much about the Navy but this is a book about the birth of the United States as a military power and the political debate that preceded it.  It’s also a book about “innovation” in as much as the frigates the US built were far superior to anything on the seas at the time.  Hint: One reason is a special tree called, Live Oak. Another reason is where you put the masts, which was a true maritime innovation. If you live in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York or Boston, this is a story played out in your backyard.  This book is in my “All Time Top 10″ list. (from Rozier) <<I’ve read this book some time ago, and based on Bill’s review picked it up again. I’m enjoying it greatly the second time through.>>

[amazon_link id=”B0042P58JC” target=”_blank” ]Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World[/amazon_link]

2. [amazon_link id=”B0042P58JC” target=”_blank” ]Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World[/amazon_link]
Great read about the history of uranium with the social and political consequences of the rock “that changed everything.”  Very interesting, enlightening, tragic and ultimately, inspiring.  Bet you can’t name how much processed uranium has been “lost” over the years.  Hint:  It’s measured in tons….a whole lot of “tons.” (from Rozier)

[amazon_link id=”0143034758″ target=”_blank” ]Alexander Hamilton[/amazon_link]

3. [amazon_link id=”0143034758″ target=”_blank” ]Alexander Hamilton[/amazon_link]
One of the most unknown Founding Father yet the one we might owe the most to….The Father of Capitalism at a time when “capitalism” was unknown.  OK, Franklin was  “clever” and Jefferson “worldly” but for my money, Hamilton was the smartest of the bunch:  Chief of Staff  to General Washington; elected to the Continental Congress; one of the first constitutional lawyers; one of the first economists; authored the Federalist Papers almost single handedly (which has to be one of the smartest series of essays ever); was the first Secretary of the Treasury before their was a treasury; created the Coast Guard and was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr for calling him a bad name….just like Baltimore.  Beautifully written.  Also, on my “Top 10 of All Time” list…..(from Rozier)

[amazon_link id=”0307594777″ target=”_blank” ]Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest[/amazon_link]

4. [amazon_link id=”0307594777″ target=”_blank” ]The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest[/amazon_link]

Terrific spine tingling Swedish thrillers/mysteries. They are better than candy, while you can devour them quickly, the stories stay with you for a while. I particularly like the first and third. (from Lanyi)

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard all the hype around Stig Larson’s troika. Starting with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, moving to The Girl Who Played With Fire, and wrapping up with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, Larson does a brilliant job of stitching together a series of suspense/crime scenarios that touch on some hot button issues of our time (i.e. corporate corruption, sex trafficking, etc.). Not only is his troika relevant, they are maddeningly engaging. If you’re looking for a break from heavy reading and just want to be entertained, pick up this series. You won’t be disappointed.
(from Johnson)

[amazon_link id=”0743276744″ target=”_blank” ]Three Stations: An Arkady Renko Novel[/amazon_link]

5. [amazon_link id=”0743276744″ target=”_blank” ]Three Stations by Martin Cruz Smith[/amazon_link]

Rich mystery involving all sorts of characters in modern day Russia. If you read any of the earlier Arkady Renko mysteries, you’ll appreciate this one. (from Lanyi)

[amazon_link id=”030738604X” target=”_blank” ]Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman[/amazon_link]

6. [amazon_link id=”030738604X” target=”_blank” ]Where Men Win Glory: [/amazon_link]The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by David Krakauer

Krakauer takes on the truth behind the death of Pat Tillman (who left professional football for the military) via friendly fire and the subsequent military cover up.
(from Lanyi)

[amazon_link id=”1400066034″ target=”_blank” ]Spies of the Balkans: A Novel[/amazon_link]

7. [amazon_link id=”1400066034″ target=”_blank” ]Spies of the Balkans[/amazon_link] by Alan Furst

Furst spins wonderfully detailed spy stories about unlikely people who find themselves enmeshed against the Nazis and their brethren. In this case it’s in Greece, but other Furst novels are set in Paris, Hungary… Pick up ANY of them for historically accurate, intriguing reads.
(from Lanyi)

[amazon_link id=”0446691437″ target=”_blank” ]The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles[/amazon_link]

8. [amazon_link id=”0446691437″ target=”_blank” ]The War of Art[/amazon_link]” by Steven Pressfield’s

No matter what profession you’re in, it’s the artist within each and everyone of us that unlocks our success. “The War of Art” examines “resistance” in bite-sized one- and two-page chunks exploring all of the ways we thwart ourselves through fear, procrastination, and self-doubt. Despite the topic, this is a fun read, written by a fabulous screenwriter and author, that should be stuffed in everyone’s brief case and revisited often for quick refreshers on how to cross the finish line with every endeavor we set  in motion.
(from Howell)

[amazon_link id=”0061122416″ target=”_blank” ]The Alchemist[/amazon_link]

9. “[amazon_link id=”0061122416″ target=”_blank” ]The alchemist[/amazon_link]” by Paulo Coehlo

You’ll be surprised at what you can learn about the world when you follow a young shepherd named Santiago when he choose to cross over from Spain into Egypt on his quest to find his treasure at the bass of the  great pyramids. I’ve read it twice and have recommended it to everyone from 12-year-olds and 82-year-olds. One of my favorite stories of the year.
(from Howell)

[amazon_link id=”0785213066″ target=”_blank” ]A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life[/amazon_link]

10. “[amazon_link id=”0785213066″ target=”_blank” ]A Million Miles in a Thousand Years[/amazon_link]” by Donald Miller

If you think you’re a couch potato, wait until you read about Donald Miller before and after he decided to get off his ass and re-write his life story to make it an epic. I was so taken by “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” that I attended Miller’s Storyline conference in Portland earlier this year. Definitely a book that is ideal for a New Year’s resolution to make 2011 the beginning of something big: Namely the rest of your life. For a little added value, you might also consider his “Blue Like Jazz,” Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, his surprising indie sensation that started it all.
(from Howell)

[amazon_link id=”0767923057″ target=”_blank” ]The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0767923057″ target=”_blank” ]The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century[/amazon_link]

Worried about the Chinese taking over as the next global superpower? Think again, says George Friedman. This is a really fascinating view on what could be in store in the 21st century according one of the most renowned geopoliticians.
(from Graham)

An audacious attempt to predict the next 100 years. I love the conviction – the contrived analysis! The observations in economics and cultural anthropology are accessible and thought provoking. The conclusions are a bit fanatical but entertaining.

[amazon_link id=”0812972767″ target=”_blank” ]The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life[/amazon_link]

12. [amazon_link id=”0812972767″ target=”_blank” ] The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life[/amazon_link]

To me, this book is more an adventure story than a biography — traipsing around some of the world’s most exotic places. Lots of colorful characters, including the main one, who really did lead a strange and dangerous life.
(from Graham)

[amazon_link id=”1573225797″ target=”_blank” ]CivilWarLand in Bad Decline[/amazon_link]

13. [amazon_link id=”1573225797″ target=”_blank” ]CivilWarLand in Bad Decline[/amazon_link]
Quick, quirky and (I think) darkly hi-larious stories about people working in a surreal and failing amusement park call CivilWarLand. You could sit down and read the whole thing in an evening. (from Graham)

[amazon_link id=”0446563048″ target=”_blank” ]Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose[/amazon_link]

14. [amazon_link id=”0446563048″ target=”_blank” ]Delivering Happiness: A path to Profits, Passion and Purpose[/amazon_link]
The story of Great read about a group of visionary entrepreneurs who decided their product, even more than the merchandise they sold, was customer happiness – delivering “wow.” (from Smallman)

[amazon_link id=”0307463745″ target=”_blank” ]Rework[/amazon_link]

15. [amazon_link id=”0307463745″ target=”_blank” ]REWORK[/amazon_link]

Re-think, simplify and get it done.  Quick read drawn from the 37signals blog – simple – brilliant at times.
(from Smallman)

16.  NO MAN’S LAND: A Survival Guide to Growing Mid-Sized Companies
[amazon_link id=”B001BCFSDU” target=”_blank” ]NO MAN’S LAND: A Survival Guide to Growing Mid-Sized Companies [/amazon_link]

The subtitle here used to be: “When you’re too big to be small and too small to be big.”  Classic guide to navigating the “jump points” that every business goes through – institutionalizing the passion, products and services created by the founding personalities, when the business grows beyond their reach.
(from Smallman)

[amazon_link id=”1439149038″ target=”_blank” ]Under the Dome: A Novel[/amazon_link]

17. [amazon_link id=”1439149038″ target=”_blank” ]Under the Dome[/amazon_link] (King)

Having not been a major King fan in the past, I found myself drawn to this book’s concept. The notion of 30k+ people in a small town trapped under an unexplained Dome for an indefinite period of time was ripe for craziness. And King delivered. It’s a hefty investment (north of 1000 pages), but it reads like a TV series – you can jump in and out. Took me about 3 months to complete (along with the other couple books I had going at the time ). If you’re in for some suspense, it’s a page turner!
(from Johnson)

[amazon_link id=”0394536495″ target=”_blank” ]The Castle in the Forest: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0394536495″ target=”_blank” ]18. Castle in the Forrest (Mailer)[/amazon_link]

Whether you’re a history buff or have some random reason to dig into the past of one of history’s worst citizens, Mailer’s depiction of Hitler’s upbringing is simply brilliant. In it he showcases the evolution of a young Hitler, focusing on the influences he encountered as a child/young man. Mailer really digs into the influence that Hitler’s father had on his life and his world view. Fascinating read that offers a look into the making of a mad man.
(from Johnson)

[amazon_link id=”0007201796″ target=”_blank” ]Bones of the Hills[/amazon_link]

21. [amazon_link id=”0007201796″ target=”_blank” ] Bones of the Hills[/amazon_link]

The third in the trilogy of the life of Genghis Khan. Combines historical insight with some creative writing that really brings him and his era into light
(from Parker)

[amazon_link id=”0896725820″ target=”_blank” ]Bring 'em Back Alive: The Best of Frank Buck[/amazon_link]

22. [amazon_link id=”0896725820″ target=”_blank” ]Bring em Back Alive[/amazon_link]

Really fun read about Frank Buck who was a pioneer in catching and shipping exotic animals from the continent to zoos around the world.
(from Parker)

[amazon_link id=”0553381482″ target=”_blank” ]The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour[/amazon_link]

23. [amazon_link id=”0553381482″ target=”_blank” ]The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors[/amazon_link]

The story of the largest ship to ship naval battle in the history of the world and probably the last.  Described as a David versus ten Goliaths comparison because of the size of the Japanese fleet that appeared on the horizon catching a flotilla of 13 smaller US Navy carrier escort ships and destroyer escort ships off guard and unprotected from the main US battle fleets.  The defense of the fleet was lead by three small destroyers with a Cherokee Indian Captain who said to his sailors, “this will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”  Years later Admiral Nimitz proclaimed of the battle, “The vision of the three destroyers charging the main batteries of the Imperial Navy can endure as a picture of the way Americans fight against a superior force.  Our school children should know about it and our enemies should ponder it.”
(from Wright)

[amazon_link id=”0060518502″ target=”_blank” ]Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (P.S.)[/amazon_link]

24. [amazon_link id=”0060518502″ target=”_blank” ]Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer[/amazon_link]

Who knew anything about the Confederate fanaticism of the actor who killed Lincoln, or the plot to also murder other top government officials in a last-ditch attempt to win the Civil War? Reads like a novel.
(from Malinowski)

25. [amazon_link id=”074322454X” target=”_blank” ]Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0743216385″ target=”_blank” ] Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest[/amazon_link]

The Greatest Generation. The sacrifices these guys made is incomprehensible.
(from Malinowski)

[amazon_link id=”144046216X” target=”_blank” ]The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant[/amazon_link]
26.[amazon_link id=”144046216X” target=”_blank” ] The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses Grant[/amazon_link]

The best autobiography ever written, at least in English. Fascinating tale of the nuances of the Civil War by a guy who helped direct it.
(from Malinowski)

[amazon_link id=”0679732764″ target=”_blank” ]Invisible Man[/amazon_link]

27. [amazon_link id=”0679732764″ target=”_blank” ]Invisible Man[/amazon_link]

Riveting, post-war American literature. Hard to describe the premise, but the writing is incredible.
(from Malinowski)

[amazon_link id=”B004BDGHOU” target=”_blank” ][DECISION POINTS]Decision Points By Bush, George W.(Author)Hardcover On 09 Nov 2010)[/amazon_link]

28. [amazon_link id=”B004BDGHOU” target=”_blank” ]Decision Points by George Bush[/amazon_link]

Surprisingly engaging and a great view into how the presidency works–or doesn’t.
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”0375708111″ target=”_blank” ]The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory[/amazon_link]

29. [amazon_link id=”0375708111″ target=”_blank” ]The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory[/amazon_link]

A fine popular-level book on physics
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”0143034669″ target=”_blank” ]Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001[/amazon_link]

30. [amazon_link id=”0143034669″ target=”_blank” ]Ghost Wars–Steve Coil[/amazon_link]
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”0316069485″ target=”_blank” ]The Reversal[/amazon_link]

31. [amazon_link id=”0316069485″ target=”_blank” ]The Reversal–Michael Connely[/amazon_link]

Good right up to the end, when he gets bored and shuts it down.
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”0618592261″ target=”_blank” ]Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life[/amazon_link]

32. [amazon_link id=”0618592261″ target=”_blank” ]Cosmic Jackpot[/amazon_link]

Why our universe is just right for life
Interesting and well done, but a little fuzzy on the general thinking.
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”045123281X” target=”_blank” ]The Pillars of the Earth[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0451228375″ target=”_blank” ]World Without End[/amazon_link]

33. [amazon_link id=”045123281X” target=”_blank” ]The Pillars of the Earth[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”0451228375″ target=”_blank” ]World Without End[/amazon_link]

Both by Ken Follet—amazing. Who knew the history of building cathedrals could be so engrossing. These are real page-turners. The people are three dimensional and deep. Like any really well written book it’s easy to drop into the culture and concepts of this very foreign time and place, feel a connection with the people, understand what drives them. Really excellent writing.
(from Babcock)

[amazon_link id=”0316017922″ target=”_blank” ]Outliers: The Story of Success[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0316076201″ target=”_blank” ]What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0316017922″ target=”_blank” ]34. Outliers[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”0316076201″ target=”_blank” ]What the Dog Saw[/amazon_link]

Malcom Gladwell–both excellent. It’s getting old calling Malcom Gladwell a genius, but he certainly sees deeper into the nature of business and commerce than anyone else has in a long time. He manages to take potentially boring material and make it exciting and deeply relevant. Both of these are excellent books. You might as well buy them together if you haven’t read them. read one and you’ll want to read the other.
(from Babcock)

35. [amazon_link id=”0307386287″ target=”_blank” ]The Chicago Way (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0307386287″ target=”_blank” ]The Chicago Way[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0307386295″ target=”_blank” ]The Fifth Floor (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0307386295″ target=”_blank” ]The Fifth Floor[/amazon_link]

both by Michael Harvey. Solid mysteries, well written
(from Babcock)

36. [amazon_link id=”0345464788″ target=”_blank” ]Caught Stealing: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0345464788″ target=”_blank” ]Caught Stealing[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”034548133X” target=”_blank” ]A Dangerous Man: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”034548133X” target=”_blank” ]A Dangerous Man[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0345464796″ target=”_blank” ]Six Bad Things: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0345464796″ target=”_blank” ]Six Bad Things[/amazon_link]

Charlie Huston–harrowing to the last page.
(from Babcock)

37. [amazon_link id=”0743280482″ target=”_blank” ]The Blight Way: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery (Sheriff Bo Tully Mysteries)[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0743280482″ target=”_blank” ]The Blight Way[/amazon_link]

Patrick McManus–funny cop novel.
(from Babcock)

38. [amazon_link id=”0345460014″ target=”_blank” ]The Scar[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0345460014″ target=”_blank” ]The Scar[/amazon_link]

China Meiville–complex scifi
(from Babcock)

39. [amazon_link id=”0975533150″ target=”_blank” ]Guilty Pleasures - Historical Erotic Romances[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0975533150″ target=”_blank” ]Guilty Pleasures – Historical Erotic Romances [/amazon_link]

Maria Isabel Pita–Erotica. Maria is a very naughty girl. With an imagination like this she must live in her head, I figured she weighs 300 pounds and has a mustache.  Imagine my surprise when I finally saw a picture of her–a lovely woman, but still very naughty.

40. [amazon_link id=”0812975596″ target=”_blank” ]The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0812975596″ target=”_blank” ]The Wild Trees[/amazon_link]

Richard Preston–you think you know trees, you know NOTHING. Fabulous book. A breathtaking adventure high above the ground, and shoving through impassable tangles to find the world’s largest trees.
(from Babcock)

41. [amazon_link id=”0312317123″ target=”_blank” ]Monsoon[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”0312317123″ target=”_blank” ]Monsoon[/amazon_link]

Wilbur Smith–if you like Wilbur’s style you’re in luck. He’s written about a million books. No idea why I’ve never heard of him. Good journeyman writing.

(from Babcock)

42. [amazon_link id=”0061537969″ target=”_blank” ]The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0061537969″ target=”_blank” ]The Art of Racing in the Rain[/amazon_link]

Garth Stein–Billy, you have to read this book. A tearjerker about racing cars.
(from Babcock)

43. [amazon_link id=”0802136680″ target=”_blank” ]This Boy's Life: A Memoir[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0802136680″ target=”_blank” ]This Boy’s Life[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0375701494″ target=”_blank” ]Old School[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0375701494″ target=”_blank” ]Old School[/amazon_link]

Tobias Wolfe–fine writing about, well, nothing. But fine writing.
(from Babcock)

44. [amazon_link id=”0812977823″ target=”_blank” ]The Descendants: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0812977823″ target=”_blank” ]The Descendants [/amazon_link]

The Descendants – by Kaui Hart HemmingsIt is a very well written story about contemporary Hawaii , and a great glimpse into the life of privilege for those born ‘lucky’. The book was hand picked and filmed by academy award winning director Alexander Payne ( Sideways ) starring some guy named George Clooney. It will be the date night movie next fall, so read it now!
Also in full disclosure, Kaui is a friend of mine and I am in the movie in 2 pivotal scenes as one of George’s 6 cousins and one of the ‘Descendants’
(from Esecson)

45. [amazon_link id=”185168574X” target=”_blank” ]The Spiritual Heritage of the Human Race: An Introduction to the World's Religions[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”185168574X” target=”_blank” ]The Spiritual Heritage of the Human Race[/amazon_link]

The Spiritual Heritage of the Human Race by Suheil Basrui and Mehrdad. A great book for those who want to gain better insight into the things that unify rather than separate.  Philosophical and scholarly; thick in substance.
(from Danielson)

46. [amazon_link id=”0525951652″ target=”_blank” ]Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0525951652″ target=”_blank” ]Fall of Giants[/amazon_link]

Fall of Giants, Ken Follet

Another tour de force by one of our generations greatest authors.  Leaves one longing for installments 2 and 3.  A study of human beings and the impact of WWI from the perspective of individuals from the UK, Germany, Russia, and the US
(from Danielson)

47. [amazon_link id=”0470482281″ target=”_blank” ]The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0470482281″ target=”_blank” ]The Secret of Shelter Island[/amazon_link]

The Secret of Shelter Island, Alexander Green

Don’t let the sub-title turn you off; this is not a book about money.  This is a collection of essays by one of the most pragmatic and soulful people in the “blogosphere” today.  Mr. Green also happens to be one of the most successful money managers of the past couple of decades.
(from Danielson)

48. [amazon_link id=”0061992704″ target=”_blank” ]Sh*t My Dad Says[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0061992704″ target=”_blank” ]Sh*t My Dad Says[/amazon_link]

Sh*t My Dad Says   by Justin Halpern

For those of you who have older sons, this book is a riot.
Although short, it is very funny .This guys dad reminds me of my grandpa. Very candid and no bullshit!
(from Wyborney)

48. [amazon_link id=”1416580522″ target=”_blank” ]Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”1416580522″ target=”_blank” ]Horse Soldiers[/amazon_link]

Horse Soldiers   by Doug Stanton

I have one son in Iraq and another in South Korea so I have a bias for military reads. The bravery and resourcefulness these soldiers have in the early stages of war in Afghanistan is remarkable
(from Wyborney)

49. [amazon_link id=”0061353248″ target=”_blank” ]Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0061353248″ target=”_blank” ]Predictably Irrational[/amazon_link]

Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely

One of the most interesting expositions on human decision-making behavior. Extremely interesting, easy to read,  and very useful in daily life and business as well!
(from Finn)

50. [amazon_link id=”0520261992″ target=”_blank” ]Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0520261992″ target=”_blank” ]Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions[/amazon_link]

Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions 
Mark Moffett

Who would have thought that ants were interesting?  They don’t even have brains!  But, surprisingly, this book taught me an enormous amount of fascinating things about how organisms work together – and how nature has so much complexity that goes well beyond our current knowledge. Some lessons about how groups (of people) behave as well, if you’re willing to think beyond the literal word.  Intriguing and educational in so many ways.
(from Finn)

51. [amazon_link id=”1585748048″ target=”_blank” ]Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men's Cross-Country Team[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”1585748048″ target=”_blank” ]Running with the Buffaloes[/amazon_link]

Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear

Fascinating inside look at the 1998 University of Colorado cross country team that won the individual title and finished third in the team competition.  I’ve reread this once and probably will again.
(from Joyal)

52. [amazon_link id=”030738604X” target=”_blank” ]Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”030738604X” target=”_blank” ]Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman[/amazon_link]

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Tragic look at the life of a pretty remarkable dude.  This doesn’t make the Army look very good, though.
(from Joyal)

53.  [amazon_link id=”1416597891″ target=”_blank” ]Once a Runner: A Novel[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”1416597891″ target=”_blank” ]Once a Runner[/amazon_link]

Once a Runner

I know, another running book.  This one is classic running fiction.
(from Joyal)

55. [amazon_link id=”0375703764″ target=”_blank” ]House of Leaves[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0375703764″ target=”_blank” ]The House of Leaves[/amazon_link]

The House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski

Truly a book like NO OTHER. A surprisingly (not if you leaf through the book) psychedelic tale about a house that turns out to be bigger on the inside than on the outside – and let’s just leave it at that.. An absolute must-read for anyone who’s into postmodernism.
(from Kwiatkowski)

56. [amazon_link id=”0141180145″ target=”_blank” ]The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics)[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0141180145″ target=”_blank” ]Master and Margarita[/amazon_link]

Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

The ONE single-seating book in my opinion. Have read it about six times so far an every single time I started at 10PM and finished at 6AM. Serves you a truly explosive mix of Stalinist Russia, mysticism and New Testament – all wrapped in quite unique humor..
(from Kwiatkowski)

57. [amazon_link id=”056353916X” target=”_blank” ]Terry Jones' Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”056353916X” target=”_blank” ]Barbarians [/amazon_link]

Barbarians – Terry Jones

If you think the Roman empire was the best thing since bread came sliced in the ancient world (did they slice bread back then, come to think of it?), this book will derail you completely. A Monty-Python-humour-saturated history of the Romana look from the point of view of the nations they conquered – something completely different..
(from Kwiatkowski)

New Additions. This list is a living document. I’m going to add reviews as I read the books–yes, I intend to read them all. I’m glad to take additions to the list as well. These latest two are from Paul Lanyi

[amazon_link id=”B004CGCBEG” target=”_blank” ][UNBROKEN]Unbroken By Hillenbrand, Laura(Author)Compact disc(Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption) on 15 Nov-2010[/amazon_link].

[amazon_link id=”B004CGCBEG” target=”_blank” ]Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand[/amazon_link]
amazing story of survival during wwII by airmen at the hands of the japanese.  (in case you have not read about laura, she wrote Seabiscut (a terrific book too) WHILE she was stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome.)

also, another military book:

[amazon_link id=”0767932412″ target=”_blank” ]The Twilight Warriors[/amazon_link]

[amazon_link id=”0767932412″ target=”_blank” ]The Twilight Warriors by Robert Gandt.[/amazon_link]

The story of flyers and seamen prior to and surround the siege of okinawa.  fascinating account of the the kamikaze pilots and those who battle them.

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