Our Summer Reading List

Reading was an important diversion for us on the trip. Some parts of the trip, like Africa, were filled with so much travel and otherwise idle time that we would have gone absolutely crazy without a book. Fortunately, it was also times like that where books were constantly available to trade. The flip side to availability is quality, though. But, you do what you have to for entertainment.In other parts of the world, books weren't quite as easy to come by, but most places have a hostal or used book store to (rarely) swap or usually buy an English language book or two.

We kept a sort of thumbs up/down tally on our reading, but quickly found that we needed more and more thumbs to separate ok from good from great. In any event, here's what we read and some attempt to categorize good from bad. 'zzzz' means skipped and 'bah' is an indifferent "no thumbs" review.

Title Author Genre Mary Says Steve Says Comments
Endurance Alfred Lansing non-fiction Incredible true story of 1914 Antarctic shipwreck with amazing photos
Last Chance to See Douglas Adams non-fiction great stuff
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams scifi
Don Quixote Cervantes classic Would be 3 from Steve, but SO long
Lord of Light Roger Zelazny scifi
Short Stories of HG Wells HG Wells classic WAY ahead of his time
Harry Potter 6 - Half Blood Prince JK Rowling fiction Our first and favorite of the Potters
Frost and Fire Roger Zelazny scifi
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Mark Twain classic
The Naked Sun Issac Asimov scifi
The Odyssey Homer classic
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke scifi
R.U.R. and the Insect Plays Karel Capek classic Must read for history's sake.
Rubicon Tom Holland nonfiction
Prelude to Foundation Isaac Asimov scifi Best of the Foundation series
Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott classic
Eating People is Wrong Malcolm Bradbury fiction
The Man in the High Castle Philip K Dick scifi Either really deep...or not...
David Copperfield Charles Dickens classic
Cities in Flight James Blish scifi
Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov scifi
I am Legend Richard Matheson scifi The movie totally missed the target
Harry Potter 3 - Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling fiction
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Philip Dick scifi Became the movie Bladerunner
Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens classic zzz...
Harry Potter 4 - Goblet of Fire JK Rowling fiction
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic
Life of Pi Yann Martin fiction
Harry Potter 2 - Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling fiction
Harry Potter 1 - The Philospopher's Stone JK Rowling fiction
The State of Africa Martin Merideth history zzz...
Beneath the Underdog Charles Mingus autobiography zzz... sex, drugs and jazz
Foundation's Edge Issac Asimov scifi
Second Foundation Isaac Asimov scifi
The Complete Robot Isaac Asimov scifi
Organ Grinders Bill Fitzhugh fiction Funny, with a Bay Area connection
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens classic
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka classic zzz...
The Forever War Joe Haldemann scifi
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke scifi
Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnagut scifi weird
Rama Revealed Arthur C Clark scifi blah
Rama II Arthur C. Clark scifi blah
the Stranger Albert Camus classic blah Inspiration for the Cure's "Killing an Arab"
Heart of Darkness Robert Conrad classic blah
DaVinci Code Dan Brown fiction blah
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe classic blah
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway classic
Foundation and Empire Isaac Asimov scifi blah
Shadow Puppets Orson Scott Card scifi blah
Alas, Babylon Pat Frank scifi blah interesting cold war-era perspective
Starship Troopers Robert Heinmein scifi blah So much better than the movie
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Marina Lewycka fiction blah zzz...
Stupid White Men Michael Moore non?fiction blah blah
The Last and First Men Olaf Stapledon scifi zzz... blah Very very hard read, but thinking beyond his time
The Climb Anatoli Boukreev nonfiction blah blah Inspiration for our Everest attack
Harry Potter 5 - Order of the Phoenix JK Rowling fiction blah blah
The Rainmaker John Grisham fiction zzz... blah
Jason and the Golden Fleece ? mythology blah blah
The Devil Wears Prada Lauren Weisberger fiction blah zzz...
The Tunnels of Cu Chi Mangold and Penycate history zzz... blah
Sick Puppy Carl Hianssen fiction blah blah Curiously similar story/style to Organ Grinders, just not as good
Kiss and Makeup Gene Simmons autobiography zzz... blah
Arabian Nights translated by Richard Burton classic blah blah
Foundation Isaac Asimov scifi blah blah
Investment Biker Jim Rogers nonfiction zzz... blah
Sex Lives of Cannibals don't care travelogue blah blah
Slaughterhouse 5 Kurt Vonnagut non-fiction blah blah
Garden of Rama Arthur C. Clark scifi blah
Deadeye Dick Kurt Vonnagut fiction blah
Tales of Troy and Greece Andrew Lang mythology blah
Greetings Carbon Based Bipeds Arthure C Clark nonfiction
The Theory of Everything Steven Hawkings nonfiction
Nasty Bits Anthony Bordain nonfiction Chefs shouldn't write
Timescape Gregory Benford scifi zzz...
As far as my feet will take me Fritz Baur nonfiction zzz... Escape from Russia
I Know You've Got Soul Jeremy Clarkson nonfiction zzz... Brit+typewriter=crash
Freakonomics Steven Levette nonfiction zzz...
Round Ireland with a Fridge Tony Hawks travelogue zzz...
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Tom Wolfe nonfiction zzz...
Swahili for the Brokenhearted Peter Moore travelogue
Foundation and Earth Isaac Asimov scifi This story should have ended long ago...
The Crisis of Islam Bernard Lewis nonfiction zzz...
Starfarers Poul anderson scifi zzz...
Honeymoon with my Brother some whiney guy travelogue
Running with Scissors don't care crap