Reading List 2016

I was so busy in 2016 that the number of books I read in their entirety declined from 63 to 52. Of the books I read last year, the one I enjoyed most was South of the Border, West of the Sun, a novel about a jazz club owner by Haruki Murakami. The novel I most enjoyed was Nick Cole’s Ctrl-Alt-Revolt!, I find it hard to imagine the game designer or serious gamer who would not enjoy it. Dance Dance Dance was very good, but Murakami did not quite bring his A-game in that one.

The worst books I read this year were Simon Hawke’s clumsy attempts to turn Shakespeare into a detective, a fictional trend that I despise, and although he is a pop-SF writer with a historical bent whom I normally enjoy reading, I gave up on the Shakespeare & Smythe series after reading the first three books in it. They weren’t horrible, though, and I did not read a single book I considered to be a one-star book this year.

On the non-fiction side, I read a number of truly excellent books from Hallpike, Oman, Huntington and Turchin. We managed to acquire the Hallpike for Castalia House, we tried and failed to do the same with the Turchin books. One for three isn’t bad. The best non-fiction book was Underground, Haruki Murakami’s fascinating and incredibly in-depth investigation into the perpetrators and the survivors of Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin attack on the Tokyo subway.

Keep in mind these ratings are not necessarily statements about a book’s significance or its literary quality, they are merely casual observations of my personal tastes and how much I happened to enjoy reading the book at the time. A five-star book is one that I recommend without any reservations, while any three-star or above is likely going to be worth your while. As always, I have read parts of more books than are on this list, but I only rate books that I have read cover to cover.


Underground, Haruki Murakami
South of the Border, West of the Sun, Haruki Murakami
Do We Need God to be Good, C.R. Hallpike
CTRL ALT Revolt!, Nick Cole
A History of the Peninsular War, Vol. I, Charles Oman
The Clash of Civilizations, Sam Huntington
Ages of Discord, Peter Turchin


Belief or Nonbelief: A Confrontation, Umberto Eco
Dance Dance Dance, Haruki Murakami
Iron Chamber of Memory, John C. Wright
There Will Be War Vol. IX, Jerry Pournelle
Red Rising, Pierce Brown
Golden Sun, Pierce Brown
Morning Star, Pierce Brown
Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia
Kokoro, Natsume Soseki
The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendahl
Why We Read the Classics, Italo Calvino
The End of the World as We Knew It, Nick Cole
The Origins of Political Order, Vol. 1, Francis Fukuyama
Clio & Me: An Intellectual Biography, Martin van Creveld
The God of Atheists, Stefan Molyneux
An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity, J. Mulrooney


The Majipoor Chronicles, Robert Silverberg
Agent of the Imperium, Marc Miller
The Red and the Black, Stendahl
War to the Knife, Peter Grant
Forge a New Blade, Peter Grant
Inventing the Enemy, Umberto Eco
Five Moral Pieces, Umberto Eco
Free Speech Isn’t Free, RooshV
The Old Man and the Wasteland, Nick Cole
The Eden Plague, David VanDyke
Reaper’s Run, David VanDyke
Skull’s Shadows, David VanDyke
Penric’s Demon, Lois McMaster Bujold
The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Italo Calvino
Soda Pop Soldier, Nick Cole
Valentine Pontifex, Robert Silverberg
Sorcerers of Majipoor, Robert Silverberg
Ultrasociety, Peter Turchin
The Savage Boy, Nick Cole
The Road is a River, Nick Cole
Stoke the Flames Higher, Peter Grant


The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
Fight the Rooster, Nick Cole
A Mystery of Errors, Simon Hawke
The Slaying of the Shrew, Simon Hawke
Much Ado About Murder, Simon Hawke
The Khyber Connection, Simon Hawke
The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
Uprooted, Naomi Novik