Books Read, 2006

The following books were read by Doug in 2006. Only Doug is weird enough to keep a list of the books he has read in a given year online. Isaac has done so much reading that Doug has posted a list of Isaac’s books read further down on the page.

  1. Polaris (Jack McDevitt) Jack McDevitt writes excellent science fiction, although he must have been absent the day they discussed the denoument in literature class. My favorite book of his is still Eternity Road (I’ve been a sucker for ruined civilizations since reading “Magic City” in the two-volume A Treasury of Great Science Fiction edited by Anthony Boucher), but this mystery is quite worthy of Mr. McDevitt’s talents.

  2. Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child (Laura Davis)As part of my ongoing reading into the problem, effects, and healing of child sexual abuse, this book is written to benefit the spouse (primarily) or family of someone who is dealing with sexual abuse. I would definitely include this book on my resources list if I were in the position of working with those who have been sexually abused. (Slight caution: Laura Davis is an open lesbian, but that isn’t what this book is about, although one of the questions answered is, “Is my wife a lesbian?”) Most of the book is presented in a series of questions grouped by topic; it ends with a set of biographical stories from interviews with partners of sexual abuse survivors. Healing from sexual abuse is a perilous, painful process; it can be especially painful for those who are closely or intimately involved with a survivor; Davis’s book provides balance, reassurance, and extremely practical advice on dealing with abuse.
  3. Magic Street (Orson Scott Card)Orson Scott Card is still one of my favorite authors, but my opinion of him is fading somewhat. Magic Street is one of Card’s urban fantasy stories, the first of which was Lost Boys. (to be continued)
  4. Have Space Suit, Will Travel (Robert A. Heinlein)Although this is “juvenile fiction,” it’s my all-time favorite book. Heinlein weaves a fascinating and unpredictable story here that anyone who grew up (or remains) “crazy to get to space” will appreciate. The hero is Kip Russell, and the story begins with him explaining how he ended up the owner of a space suit.

  5. Sketches of Jewish Social Life: Updated Edition (Alfred Edersheim)This was a gift from Debi Costine. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the everyday social life, in numerous aspects, of Palestine at the time of Christ. I’ve already started teaching things gleaned from this to my Sunday school class, who should benefit from a better understanding of what life was like for the New Testament believers. Edersheim is a bit difficult to read, so I went very slowly, but this is fascinating. I’ve learned about just how much the Galileans of the time were looked down upon by other Jews, “the road of the roofs” (see Mt. 24:17), at what age daughters could no longer be compelled by their parents to marry a particular person (12 years and one day), that nose rings were popular adornments for women at the time (ugh), and that there were only 6,000 Pharisees, but they held significant power.
  6. Night Train to Rigel (Timothy Zahn)Timothy Zahn achieved renown by being one of only two authors I’ve ever read who can write in the Star Wars universe and actually produce books that are worth reading (R.A. Salvatore is the other). Even were it not for that, Zahn would still have a well-deserved, excellent reputation as a crafter of science fiction (and yes, fantasy). Zahn has a background in theoretical physics, so he understands the science in science fiction quite well. This book is a mystery/adventure, with a compelling enough plot to keep one moving. Zahn’s creation and descriptions of entirely alien cultures is convincing. Overall I found this book quite enjoyable, although not as much a page-turner as some of this other works, such as the Conquerors trilogy, or the Cobra novels.
  7. Zorro: A Novel (Isabel Allende)Fun and interesting. Not quite as amazing as I’d expected. I loved the background; this covers mostly Zorro’s childhood to very early adulthood.
  8. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe: Movie Tie-in (C.S. Lewis; read at family mealtimes)
  9. The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Revised Edition) (Wendy Maltz)After reading this book, I found I favor it slightly—especially as an initial read—over The Courage to Heal – Third Edition – Revised and Expanded: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Ellen Bass and Laura Davis). To a sexual abuse survivor, I would still recommend both, but Maltz’s work is very well-balanced, quite a bit less graphic (which may be easier for some survivors), and provides thorough and practical advice and exercises for healing. Maltz was the only author I have read so far that dares to acknowledge that sexual abuse will sometimes have an effect on “sexual orientation,” an unusually bold statement. Based on its contents, I believe this would be of value for couples whose sexuality suffers from the aftereffects of sexual abuse, as it offers a large amount of instruction in carefully relearning touch and disconnecting sexuality from the abuse. Maltz is also very outspoken against the harms of pornography, which is another very refreshing viewpoint. This is a vital book for those seeking to understand or recover from the long-term effects of sexual abuse.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1) (J.K. Rowling).
  11. Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women (E. Sue Blume).The title of this book might lead it to be overlooked by much of its intended audience, as the author redefines incest to essentially mean nonsttranger sexual abuse.

    E. Sue Bloom has some stereotypical feminist leanings, including one obvious rant against the Biblical account of Lot’s incest, in which E. Sue Blume places the blame on Lot. (I’m not sure this blame is unfounded; although in that particular event it seems to be the daugthers who came up with the plan, she fails to take into account the cultural background, recorded in Scripture, of the extreme and violent sexuality present in Sodom, which would have virtually guaranteed Lot’s daughters growing up in an environment of sexual abuse, and their actions certainly could have resulted from that. Also, according to some behavioral analysts, such as FBI profiler John Douglas, alcohol or drug impairment will not cause someone to do something they didn’t already want to do, just lower inhibitions against doing it.)

    That slight warning aside, this is, overall, an excellent book on identifying and understanding the effects of sexual abuse.

    Incest combines all the forms of abuse that can happen to a child. It contains the violence and violation of physical abuse, the self-esteem consequences of emotional abuse, and often the actual or perceived abandonment of the nonperpetuating parent or parents as well as the confusion and chaos of family alcoholism. Incest is the most devastating form of abuse that a child can endure. It robs her of her childhood, her innocence, her ownership of her body, and her sexuality. It damages trust and disrupts bonding. It isolates her in an unpredictable, emotionally confusing bond with her abuser, secured with secrecy and threats. In short, incest kills. Not all at once, not totally, but one way or another, sooner or later, piece by piece. (Blume, p. 19)

    Much of what was in this book I’d already aborbed through my othe reading. One item that was new to me was that, in the presence of addictive behaviors, such as alcoholism or drug abuse (even if they stem from the incest), those behaviors must be corrected—and under control for a long time (a year or more)—before dealing with the other issues generated by the incest itself.

  12. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Nathaniel Philbrick)This is the story that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (Bantam Classics).

    From the cover: “In 1819, the 238-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, the unthinkable happened: in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, the Essex was rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale.”

    It’s 20-man crew, ignorantly fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, decided instead to, against the trade winds, sail east to the west coast of South America.

    This is a fascinating, easy-to-read story of survival after a maritime disaster. The book was chosen for Nashua’s 2006 “Nashua Reads: One City, One Book” program, and I highly recommend it.

  13. Mindhunter: Inside the Fbi’s Elite Serial Crime Unit (John Douglas and Mark Olshaker).An amazing book.
  14. The Teeth of the Tiger (Tom Clancy)This is the best Clancy I’ve read in a while. He peaked with The Sum of All Fears, and bottomed out with The Bear and the Dragon (Jack Ryan Novels). Here we transition to the lives of Jack Ryan, Jr., and twin cousins, who end up being employed at a non-government-controlled intelligence operation called “The Campus.” There are some interesting points for thought and discussion, such as extrajudicial assasination and Machiavellianism. The book ends a bit abruptly, seemingly geared to be in two parts, but provides and entertaining, if not gripping, adventure. I like it better than Red Rabbit (which I simply could not escape into), but not as much as my most recent (chronologically by publication date) favorite, Rainbow Six. Clearly, Clancy has lost his magic in the past decade, but this gives a hint of hope that he just may regain it: He’s still far from there, but seems to be at least heading in the right direction.
  15. Shadow Puppets (Orson Scott Card)I’ve actually come to like Bean better than Ender. This excellent book by Card continues to follow the story of “Ender’s Shadow (Ender, Book 5),” Bean, an unlikely survivor of a genetic experiment that gives him extreme intelligence while shortening his life. I think the only weakness in this is that Peter Wiggin features prominently, and just isn’t a convincingly powerful character alongside Bean or the villain Achilles. (He also does not seem to be as ruthless as his childhood would have indicated.) Bean’s development is excellent and welcome. This was very enjoyable overall; while not particularly groundbreaking, it was best Card I’ve read in recent years. Now if only he would finish the Lovelock (Mayflower Trilogy) trilogy.
  16. Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide and the Criminal Mind (Roy Hazelwood and Stephen G. Michaud)An excellent book on criminology and profiling. This has a slightly less informal style than John Douglas’ Mindhunter: Inside the Fbi’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, and is very well written. I highly recommend it.
  17. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)This is currently on loan from Debi Costine. I asked for C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, and Debi gave me this instead. (I think she doesn’t want Lewis’ Arminianism to influence me, as a fairly recent convert to God’s sovereignty and the doctrine of grace!)
  18. Perfect Victim: The True Story of “The Girl in the Box” by the D.A. That Prosecuted Her Captor (Christine Mcguire and Carla Norton)
  19. The stone that never came down (Doubleday science fiction) (John Brunner)I’d first come in contact my brunner via the recommendation of my “not-father” (the man who was alleged to be my biological father, but who in point of fact, was not); Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar was his favorite book. I snagged this at our local library for 50¢. This novel by Brunner struck me as a cross between the novelettes “Brain Wave” (Poul Anderson) and “The Food Of The Gods” (H.G. Wells). There is some atheistic bias which many (to be continued)
  20. Among Schoolchildren (Tracey Kidder)
  21. One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism (Ken Ham, Carl Wieland, and Don Batten).
  22. Outbound Flight (Star Wars) (Timothy Zahn)
  23. The Breathtaker (Today Show Book Club #19) (Alice Blanchard).
  24. Omega (Jack McDevitt)
  25. Dragon and Thief (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  26. Dragon and Soldier: The Second Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  27. Dragon and Slave: The Third Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  28. The Evil That Men Do (Stephen G. Michaud with Roy Hazelwood)
  29. The Lord of the Rings (Collector’s Edition) (J. R. R. Tolkien)I’ve just finished reading this (my third read-through), and I am overwhelmed by what an amazing story it is, as well as by how well Peter Jackson adapted it for his films. (I’m going to rewatch the extended editions of Jackson’s films, and then post some comments about the very few mistakes I think he made.)

    I will venture a couple of comments about the book: The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the RIngs)/i> actually is a bit slow. There is a huge amount of background information and backstory to be communicated, and I don’t think LotR becomes a “page-turner” until The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Book 2). Secondly, if you don’t read the appendices, especially the first one, you’re missing a huge amount of the story. You haven’t learned where Gimli and Legolas eventually traveled, how long Aragorn and Arwen lived, or what prohibition Aragorn made (and honored himself) for who was allowed to visit the Shire. You’d also miss Tolkien’s notes on languages and his translation strategies, which give a glimpse into his special areas of knowledge.

  30. Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change (Dr. James Dobson)
  31. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) (J.K. Rowling)
  32. The Bridge Over the River Kwai (Cinema Classics) (Pierre Boulle)
  33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) (J.K. Rowling)This has been my favoirte Harry Potter book to date. My only gripe is that the characters seem too willing to be dishonest with each other and even occasionally with authority figures, which would be a good discussion point for parents whose children are reading these books. I like my heroes to be near-perfect, or at least morally so. (Of course, then there’s Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)
  34. 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers (Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn)I borrowed this book from our friend Mahli DeLaCruz, and read it in about two days. I don’t think I’ve gone through a book so quickly since Isaac’s Storm. I love disaster stories, and this one is well-written and gripping, detailing the tragedies and triumphs of the evacuations of the World Trade Center after they were hit by terrorist-piloted aircraft. Tragically, misinformation and lack of information led to the death of some, like a group of employees of the WTC who were told to stay on the 64th floor, while others were evacuating. In fact, a public service announcement in Tower 2 told many they could go back to their offices, because that building was secure, just as they were nearly out of building, and minutes before the second plane struck. The same lack of information and lack of good communication led directly to the death of dozens of firefighters in Tower 1 who did not hear the order to evacuate, and who would not heed the second-hand information given to them by others. Another interesting thing I learned was that the real heroes of the WTC evacuation were not the police and fire officials (although they did help)—but the building residents, some of whom died in the tower collaspe, while still in the process of moving rubble and prying open doors while getting others out. Were it not for the actions of numerous building residents, far more lives would have been lost. This also contains information that helps dispell the silly conspiracy theory that the towers were brought down by demoliton charges within them. I highly recommend this book.
  35. The Terrible Hours : The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History (Peter Maas)Charles “Swede” Momson is a classic Americna hero, and an inventor as well. (The following is from the Amazon.com review): Swede Momsen was, according to master storyteller Peter Maas, the “greatest submariner the Navy ever had,” and he was determined to beat those odds. Momsen spent his career trying to save the lives of trapped submariners, despite an indifferent Navy bureaucracy that thwarted and belittled his efforts at every turn. Every way of saving a sailor entombed in a sub—“smoke bombs, telephone marker buoys, new deep-sea diving techniques, escape hatches, artificial lungs, a great pear-shaped rescue chamber–was either a direct result of Momsen’s inventive derring-do, or of value only because of it.” Yet on the day the Squalus sank, none of Momsen’s inventions had been used in an actual submarine disaster.

    I grabbed this from my nephew Andrew’s bookshelf on Thanksgiving afternoon, and finished it before we left on Friday.

  36. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Max Brooks)Nichelle purchased this for me for Christmas, and I absolutely devoured it! This was definitely one of the most fun books I’ve read this year, and—although one would think the subject matter could produce nothing more than trite clichés, I was mesmerized by the varied human elements, including political, Max Brooks has included. The book takes the form of interviews transcribed from around the world, from people such as the doctor who first encountered the zombie outbreak in China, or a soldier who was part of the Battle of Yonkers, where the military attempted to stop milliions of zombies on the move out of New York City. There is some clever and subtle linking of references among some of the stories. Great imagination, and surprisingly gripping.
  37. Currently reading: Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, Third Edition (Maurice Meisner)
  38. Also currently reading: Treating Child Sex Offenders and Victims: A Practical Guide (Anna Salter)
  39.  


     

    Children’s Books:

  40. Niagara Falls, Or Does It? #1 (Hank Zipzer) (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)
  41. (Read aloud to David) Me and the Terrible Two (Ellen Conford)
  42. (Read aloud at mealtime.) Roald Dahl/Charlie Boxed Set (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator) (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake (illustrator))
  43. Currently Reading aloud at Mealtime: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (Puffin Modern Classics) (Roald Dahl)

 


 

Isaac has done a great deal of reading this year as well. Here’s his list:

  1. Starship Troopers (Robert A. Heinlein)
  2. Dragon and Thief (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  3. Dragon and Soldier: The Second Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  4. Dragon and Slave: The Third Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback) (Timothy Zahn): One of the 3 books bound together in Dragonback Bargain (Dragon and Thief; Dragon and Soldier; Dragon and Slave) as one volume.
  5. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Full-Color Collector’s Edition) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  7. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (rpkg) (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  8. The Silver Chair (rpkg) (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  9. The Horse and His Boy (rpkg) (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  10. The Magician’s Nephew (paper-over-board) (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  11. The Last Battle (rpkg) (Narnia) (C.S. Lewis): One of the 7 books in The Chronicles of Narnia series.
  12. The Iron Giant (Ted Hughes)
  13. A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
  14. A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L’Engle)
  15. The Guide to Owning a Bearded Dragon (David Zoffer, Tom Mazorlig)
  16. Many Waters (Madeleine L’Engle)
  17. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1) (Timothy Zahn)
  18. Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Timothy Zahn)
  19. The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3) (Timothy Zahn)
  20. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  21. Niagara Falls, Or Does It? (Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever #1) (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)
  22. I Got a D in Salami #2 (Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever #2) (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)
  23. The Day of the Iguana #3 (Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever #3) (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)
  24. Zippety Zinger (Hank Zipzer, the World’s Greatest Underachiever #4) (Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver)
  25. Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change (Dr. James Dobson)
  26. Currently reading: The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Book 1) (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  27. Plus approximately 16 Hardy Boys books read in school, and numerous readings of Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Fox Trot comic collections.