Friday, February 3, 2012

My Reading List For 2012

I'm reading again after a brief post-Master's hiatus...

The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

[If you'd like to become better acquainted with our Hmong neighbors here in the Upper Midwest, or want to see the New American experience through the eyes of a six year old, or simply wish to read an elegantly written, heartfelt memoir, The Latehomecomer is for you. April 2012]


The Qur'an: Arabic Text and English Translation by M.H. Shakir (translator)  I'm also using the M.M. Pickthall translation from iTunes on my iPhone.  Slow going, this.

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart D. Ehrman

[Ehrman is always a good read. Forged is no exception.  In fact it's better than some of his earlier work.  So, why do Christians still grant apostolic authority to letters and books of the Bible they know were not written by the apostles?  February 2012]

[In Supersense Canadian research psychologist Bruce Hood does a very thorough job explaining the way the human mind is inclined to attribute essence to inanimate objects or intentionality to mindless physical processes. To that end Supersense is about why we believe in one particular sort of unbelievable - our very natural intuition that unseen forces energize the natural world around us. This tendency explains both the earliest of religious notions - animism - and the slightly more modern concept of the mind-body duality held by both the conventionally religious and the proponent of new age spiritualism. It is not so broad a book as I had expected, but is, on balance, the better for having remained focused.  His newest book, The Self Illusion is on my to read list as well. April 2012]

[If you care about the fallout that accompanies self-deception, entitlement, self-justification, rationalization, and evasion of responsibility, Mistakes Were Made belongs on your bookshelf. February 2012]

[An interesting and perhaps dated perspective on the emergence of human consciousness. Fascinating idea, but not one I find compelling at first read. June 2012]

[This book is not the most focused, but following Harris all over the place can be more enjoyable than reading lesser authors stick to their knitting.  Harris writes with sharp wit and wicked turns of phrase. April 2012]

The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade

[While atheism is the rational position, I find agnosticism more interesting; but it's homo religiosus who has all the fun. December 2012]


[Very interesting stuff. Wish I'd read this before working on the 1600 Amphitheater Parkway campus. February 2012] 

Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age by Robert N. Bellah

[An imposing cathedral of a book, drawing brick by brick from the disciplines of cosmology, paleontology, archeology, biology, neurology, anthropology, mythology, philosophy, theology, politics, and literature to address the role of religion in human history.  I found it very challenging to read and remain engaged with - it took me five months to complete its 606 pages - but I think it will sink in and become part of my thinking on the issues examined.  Whew!  April 2012]


[Every bit the thick and chewy read I expected. Like a decadent chocolate dessert, a little goes a long way. February 2012]


[Very interesting assessment of what we think we know and how little we can hope to know about the early years of Christianity. January 2012]

Night by Elie Wiesel 

[Read this book! January 2012] 

Answer to Job by Carl Jung  

[Job is my favorite character in the Old Testament. In this slim, dense volume Jung takes on Job, Revelation, and the Assumption of Mary from a wildly different point of view. Rich, powerful, challenging stuff. January 2012

Buddha by Karen Armstrong 

[Karen Armstrong has an interesting voice and a non-dogmatic perspective. January 2012]


[I've read most of the stories contained in Meyer's book but it's good to have them all in one volume. January 2012]

Now all I have to do is avoid the temptation to let strays follow me home from library book sales, used book stores, and Barnes & Noble.

Here ends the original list.  What follows are the others I actually read...

Update (7 February 2012): Did a reality check and reduced my reading list to those books I already possess.  Let's see, 10,962 pages divided by the 327 days remaining in 2012 calls for reading 33 pages a day, give or take.  Hmmn...

Oooh, a gift card!  13 February 2012...

Found a B&N giftcard so I've put Principles of Neurotheology by Andrew Newberg back on the list.  This book buying thing, it's like a sickness.  I can't help myself...

[Andrew Newberg's latest, Principles of Neurotheology, which he describes as a "principia" for this nascent field which he has done much to advance, left me cold for most of its 266 pages (it felt like many more before I checked).]

Once Mr. Whitmore hooks his reader with lurid taglines does he break down the raw workplace injury and fatality numbers into the multifaceted problems they represent? Does he address robbery-homicide?  Does he address workplace suicide?  Does Mr. Whitmore address the majority of workplace injuries caused by healthcare patients and residents of healthcare facilities?  I am buying Potential: Workplace Violence Prevention and Your Organizational Success and will let you know.  [March 2012]

UPDATE: I placed my order with Barnes & Noble. Potential is a print-on-demand product, so it will take a week or so to get here. As a Reader's Advantage member I get free express shipping and the B&N discount price of $18.76 (25% off the $24.95 MSRP). Interesting technology. Stay tuned.

REUPDATE: Submitted my review of the book to Security Management magazine for their consideration 4 March 2012.

LATEST UPDATE: Security Management had already assigned Whitmore's book to a reader - who has several months to complete it (which means you all won't see it there until later this summer sometime). Barry Nixon asked if he could publish it in the April issue of The Workplace Violence Prevention eReport, and so he shall.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Barry asked for a kinder, gentler version of my review.  I sent him one but have not heard whether it will be included in the eReport...

I was dog and cat sitting when I finished Supersense so I started God Against the Gods instead of waiting to get home to my 2012 bookshelf.  So, that will make 32 books I plan to read this year.  I can't help myself...

[God Against the Gods describes the unhappy and ultimately terminal interaction between monotheism and polytheism, especially as the latter waned under the influence of Constantine and later Roman emperors as Christianity became the state religion starting in the 4th century.  April 2012] 

[A worthy successor to the classic, Risk Analysis and the Security Survey, by James F. Broder. April 2012]

Anthropomorphisms, by

[A Goodreads giveaway.  April 2012]

Introduction to Investigations by John S. Dempsey

[It's written at the tech school/undergrad level which is okay but sometimes the author comes across as a Baby Boomer who is trying a little too hard to be hip for the youngsters. I recommend it for instruction with those minor caveats.  April 2012]

Feast by R. Scott McCoy

[Written by peer security professional R. Scott McCoy.  April 2012] 

The Crucible of Time, by John Brunner

[June 2012] 

Jesus the Nazarene: Myth or History? by  

[July, 2012]

[Grant Duwe's 2007 book, Mass Murder in the United States: A History, is a fine piece of scholarship.  If you would have an opinion on this topic you owe it to yourself, your clients, and your community to read this book. July 2012]

[In some ways Conceiving God is David Lewis-Williams' most personal book to date.  There is an edge to his early and closing chapters that theists (and some accommodationists) may find off-putting, but Lewis-Williams is not nearly so abrasive as some of the new atheists and he's a better writer.  On balance I found his work bracing and a welcome return to the cave where our humanity took form. August 2012]

[Surprisingly evenhanded and accessible. August 2012]

Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet, by Rod Pyle 

[A Goodreads giveaway. August 2012]

[Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is excellent science fiction and a strong piece of storytelling.  It has so much to say about the nature of leadership that anyone with personal or professional responsibility for others who has not read it should. September 2012]


[Were the gospels "performed stories of faith rather than factual histories?"  Makes sense to me, especially after reading Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite, by L. Michael White October 2012]  

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age by Richard Rudgley 

[A fascinating examination of the period between the Upper Paleolithic Revolution and our earliest historical knowledge. November 2012]

A friend invited me to read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity and made a gift to me of a spare copy.    

[Clever is not always compelling.  November 2012]

I signed up for a GoodReads giveaway for Freedom Club.  I didn't win the drawing, but was pleased and surprised to receive an email from the author Saul Garnell who offered me an e-book download with his compliments.  Very cool!   

[Cleverly plotted, Freedom Club features a variety of engaging characters and a story that is a plausible extrapolation of current social and technological trends.  Along the way we are treated to some moral ambiguity and and several very effective action scenes.  Garnell's writing reminds more than a little of early Neal Stephenson, December 2012]

I'm only a couple chapters into Rats, Lice, and History by Hans Zinsser and it's already one of the best popular books on science I've ever read.

[Rats, Lice, and History should be read by anyone who is interested in history, biology, or literature.  December 2012]

Cairns: Messengers in Stone, by David B. Williams  A Goodreads giveaway.

Embassytown, by China MievilleRecommended and loaned to me by a friend with very good taste.

[Wow!  If you love science fiction or fine writing read Embassytown.   It's both.  December 2012] 

Muses, Madmen, and Prophets by Daniel B. Smith

[A brisk and compelling read.  Smith has a gift for making an ancient story current and a complex story accessible.]

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest