My 2020 Reading List

 

A few years ago my brothers and I started keeping lists of all the books we read during the year and sharing them with each other at year’s end.

Since I’m unlikely to start and finish a book before midnight, here’s this year’s list:

Brad Thor The Lions of Lucerne
Brad Thor Path of the Assassin
Brad Thor State of the Union
Brad Thor Blowback
Brad Thor Take Down
Brad Thor The First Commandment
Brad Thor The Last Patriot
Brad Thor The Apostle
Brad Thor Foreign Influence
Brad Thor The Athena Project
Brad Thor Full Black
Brad Thor The Black List

Dave Barry Lessons From Lucy

Herman Wouk Winds of War
Herman Wouk War and Remembrance

Hugh Lofting Dr. Doolittle’s Zoo

Ian Toll Pacific Crucible: War at sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 (Vol 1)
Ian Toll The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944 (Vol 2)
Ian Toll Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945 (Vol 3)

Jim Geraghty Hunting Four Horsemen

PG Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves
PG Wodehouse The Inimitable Jeeves 
PG Wodehouse Something Fresh
PG Wodehouse Leave it to Psmith
PG Wodehouse Very Good Jeeves 
PG Wodehouse Thank You Jeeves 
PG Wodehouse The Code of the Woosters 
PG Wodehouse Joy In The Morning 

Robert Heinlein The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
Robert Heinlein Starship Troopers

Stephan Pastis Timmy Failure: Zero to Hero (Book 0)

Tom Clancy/Marc Cameron Code of Honor
Tom Clancy/Marc Cameron Shadow of the Dragon
Tom Clancy/Mike Maden Firing Point

Tom Wolfe Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Victor Mattus Vodka

William Craig The Fall of Japan: The Final weeks of WWII in the Pacific

William Shirer Berlin Diary

Zane Grey Riders of the Purple Sage

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  1. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    I read the first couple Brad Thor novels in early 2020 or late 2019, they just didn’t click with me.

    The Ian Toll trilogy is on my list, but am waiting to see if my library will buy the e-book version.

    • #1
  2. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Last night I finished my 84th book this year, Double Cross by Ben Macintyre. It was probably in the top ten of my list this year.

    I also read the first two of the Ian Toll series on your list; they’re up high, too. Got the third one as a Christmas present. 

    Others at the top of my list include Valley of Death (battle for Dien Bien Phu) by Ted Morgan, Alexander the Great by Anthony Everitt, Israel: A History by Martin Gilbert, Great Society by Amity Shlaes, Defender of the Republic (George Marshall) by David L. Roll, and Black Mass (Whitey Bulger) by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

    I also read all 24 Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, 13 Travis McGee books by John D. MacDonald, and re-read six of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. 

    There were only two books I couldn’t finish, something I really hate to do: 1493 by Charles C. Mann (started out well, but got way too preachy about halfway through), and A Call to Arms by Maury Klein. It was interesting for while, but much, much too long and it became pretty dull.

    • #2
  3. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    Last night I finished my 84th book this year, Double Cross by Ben Macintyre. It was probably in the top ten of my list this year.

    I thought I was doing well hitting 50 books in a year.  

    • #3
  4. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    According to Kindle, I’ve read 157 books this year.  But I have to qualify that by saying that probably 80% of those were murder mysteries and the rest were re-reading books – some from childhood, others just ones I like: E. Nesbit, Narnia, Louisa May Alcott, D.E. Stevenson, Josephine Tey, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jeffery Farnol, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and L.M. Montgomery.

    • #4
  5. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Do you have a Goodreads account? It makes consolidating the list and tracking progress easy.

    By the way, if you’re looking for a new series (military fiction) for 2021 I can give you a recommendation of this cool new author.

    http://vinceguerra.com/bookstore/

    *winks*

    Also on Amazon. 

    • #5
  6. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    EB (View Comment):

    According to Kindle, I’ve read 157 books this year. But I have to qualify that by saying that probably 80% of those were murder mysteries and the rest were re-reading books – some from childhood, others just ones I like: E. Nesbit, Narnia, Louisa May Alcott, D.E. Stevenson, Josephine Tey, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jeffery Farnol, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and L.M. Montgomery.

    Almost all of mine were new reads this year.  I usually have more retreads.  The re-reads were the two Heinlein books (which I’ve read several times), the two Herman Wouk books (which I read once about 25-30 years ago), and the Dr Doolittle book, which were some of my favorites when I was a kid but I hadn’t read in about 45- or 50 years.  I intended to go through several of the remaining ones I have copies of, but they’re still sitting on the “to read” pile.  As my eyes get older it’s getting harder for me to bring myself to read physical books instead of on my kindle.  Although I just this week ordered four or five books that were either unavailable on kindle, or significantly cheaper as physical books.

     

    • #6
  7. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    I read the first couple Brad Thor novels in early 2020 or late 2019, they just didn’t click with me.

    The Ian Toll trilogy is on my list, but am waiting to see if my library will buy the e-book version.

    The Brad Thor books are a bit uneven, but I’m generally enjoying them.  I could have sworn it was one of my brothers who enthusiastically recommended them, but when I spoke to him the other day he said he gave up on the series after 2 or 3 books because he didn’t like the style.  I do get a little tired of every single character in the books being remarkable beautiful/handsome and mostly perfect in every way.

    The Ian Toll trilogy is *fantastic*.  I bought/read them all on kindle, I might recommend getting them as physical books instead, if only because the maps are pretty much useless on Kindle.

     

    • #7
  8. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Do you have a Goodreads account? It makes consolidating the list and tracking progress easy.

    By the way, if you’re looking for a new series (military fiction) for 2021 I can give you a recommendation of this cool new author.

    http://vinceguerra.com/bookstore/

    *winks*

    Also on Amazon.

    I’ve heard of that guy.  He’s supposed to be pretty good.

     

    I just keep a spreadsheet on my computer, add the title/author/date as I start and finish each book.  It’s pretty easy to just sort by author/date at the end of the year.  I also have a tab for TV Shows/Movies watched.  That list will get posted tomorrow.

    Someday I’m going to sit down and catalog my shelves though.  I started many years ago using a website called “librarything”, but a lot of my books pre-dated the universal use of IBSN numbers and I was too OCD to work with their lookup function.

    • #8
  9. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    Last night I finished my 84th book this year, Double Cross by Ben Macintyre. It was probably in the top ten of my list this year.

    I thought I was doing well hitting 50 books in a year.

    For some perspective, I watched very little television.

    • #9
  10. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    I just keep a spreadsheet on my computer, add the title/author/date as I start and finish each book.

    We used to do that too. Around 1999 or so my wife and I would print out a listing of all of our books (we didn’t have so many back then) and X them off as the year went by. Then on Jan 1st we’d assess them, see who’d read more (she always won), and rewrite the list for the new year, removing books read, adding new ones, and removing ones we decided not to read.

    We stopped doing that though when our library extended beyond three rooms, and now we just add books to our Goodreads shelves and keep track of our reading challenge that way. We also did this this year with our oldest daughter:

    But I think we’ll make our own list this year with better categories.

    • #10
  11. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I read a number of books, I’ll list one here. A very good look at a Texas Ranger who made the transition from horseback to the 20th Century. A look at a law man, and law enforcement that would not be considered politically correct today. A non-drinker until he got word that his son died on Iwo Jima. He never sold his story on the hunt for Bonnie & Clyde to the media.

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    I discovered the crime noire writer  Richard Aleas, whose books Little Girl Lost and its sequel are equal to the best of Ray Chandler or MacDonald.

    After making my way almost all the way thru “Big Little Lies” that streams on HBO, I am now a big fan of Lianne Moriarity. So a package just arrived with another three books she has written, and I’m 100 pages into the “Husband’s Secret.”

    Both the above authors write complete  page turners.

     

    • #12
  13. Michael S. Malone Contributor
    Michael S. Malone
    @MichaelSMalone

    Despite the lockdown, I only read about a dozen books this year — mostly history, plus a few novels (the last Saxon Chronicle by Cornwall, the latest No.1 Ladies Detective Agency).

    But does it count that I either published or finished writing four books this year — the most in my career?  Two, bearing my name as author:  one in February, another in December; and finished (this week) c0-authoring another that will come out in the Spring.  I also wrote another book for someone else (also finished this week).  And I got 30,000 words done on my third novel.  I averaged 1,000 words per day, every day, in 2020.

    Four years ago, I managed to work myself into a diabetes-induced stroke.  I could barely lift my right hand.  I was afraid I’d never write again.  But I fully recovered — and now, in my 66th year, I just had the most productive writing period of my life.  That, for me, is something good to come out of this miserable year.

    Happy New Year to my fellow Ricochetti.

    • #13
  14. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Seems like a decent idea. I’ll keep a list this year. Gotta beat Sam.

    • #14
  15. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    sSo is your list in Author order or the order you read them?  I thought I had found someone like me – since I was a kid, if I read an author I liked, I would try to find everything else he or she wrote.  I liked Tom Sawyer, so read everything from Twain.  I’m pretty much the same now – read a Brad Thor, go find the rest.  and so on

    In looking at my list for 2020, I find I started with some serious books in mid 2019

    • Sebastian Gorka – Why we Fight
    • Sidney Powell – License to Lie – Depressing, but recommended
    • Edward Snowden – Permanent Record – still not sure what I think of him
    • William Hogeland – The Whiskey Rebellion – the history of this period of our country fascinates me
    • Peter Scheweizer – Profiles in Corruption – another depressing but recommended book
    • Curt Schlicter – Peoples Republic (2016), Indian Country (2017), Wildfire (2018), Collapse (2020), Crisis(2020) – another set of depressing, but recommended

    During 20020, I  switched to almost all spy/thriller.  I was following the daily news (Russia, Russia, Russia; Gen Flynn ambush and so on) and was realizing that nothing was going to happen.  At least in the spy/thriller genre, the bomb either blew up or didn’t.  Mostly, the good guys won pretty unambiguously.

    I did notice that in the books I was reading, the good guy never just pulled out a gun, it was a SIG model xyz with the special abc silencer.  Even the “killing knife” was described in loving detail.  I think this type of detail goes back to the the Tom Clancy style.

    To get away from that, my last book was “The Other Woman” by Daniel Silva.  This is much more cerebral.

    Oh – I read and enjoyed several books by some @vinceguerra fella

    • #15
  16. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    sSo is your list in Author order or the order you read them? I thought I had found someone like me – since I was a kid, if I read an author I liked, I would try to find everything else he or she wrote. I liked Tom Sawyer, so read everything from Twain. I’m pretty much the same now – read a Brad Thor, go find the rest. and so on

    During 20020, I switched to almost all spy/thriller. I was following the daily news (Russia, Russia, Russia; Gen Flynn ambush and so on) and was realizing that nothing was going to happen. At least in the spy/thriller genre, the bomb either blew up or didn’t. Mostly, the good guys won pretty unambiguously.

    I did notice that in the books I was reading, the good guy never just pulled out a gun, it was a SIG model xyz with the special abc silencer. Even the “killing knife” was described in loving detail. I think this type of detail goes back to the the Tom Clancy style.

    To get away from that, my last book was “The Other Woman” by Daniel Silva. This is much more cerebral.

    Oh – I read and enjoyed several books by some @vinceguerra fella

    I sorted the list by author and date, so they’re in the order I read that particular author’s books, but not the order of reading overall.  For instance, after reading the Winds of War and then the third Ian Toll book, I needed to lighten things up a little bit and read some PG Wodehouse before heading into War and Remembrance.

     

    I’ve particularly noticed that “detailing the manufacturer and model number of everything including the flashlights and the backpacks” with Brad Thor.  I think he carries it to an extreme that even Clancy didn’t go to.  It’s been a couple years since I was reading the Vince Flynn series (which I have to get back to), don’t recall if he did it as much as Thor does.

    On the “pick up the whole series” thing, I grabbed the first Vince Flynn book on a whim to read on the plane when I left for a conference a couple years ago.  That would have been early-Mid April.  I knocked out everything he had available (at the time) by the middle of July or so.  That must have been 2015 or 2016, because they’re not on my list, which starts in 2017.

     

    I can knock out a Brad Thor book in about 3 or 4 days when I’m not too busy.

     

    Over the past several years I’ve been slowly working through the Heinlein Oeuvre, although I only got to two of them in 2020.

    • #16
  17. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    Valley of Death (battle for Dien Bien Phu) by Ted Morgan

    I read The Last Valley, an operational level history of Dien Bien Phu.   It was pretty disturbing.

    When we lived in Klamath Falls in the late 60’s, our next door neighbor had a French wife.  Her first husband had been killed there.

    • #17
  18. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    This thread has encouraged me to make a list of books I’ve read. I don’t really keep a list though I believe I can check Amazon. (Having checked) I read too many books. By no means comprehensive.

    In any case… I’ll list some things I was very happy to discover this year. Most all of these should be Kindle Unlimited and I can easily recommend these books if you are at all interested in the genre. So… that’s my blanket review of all them. They’re great!

    Misadventures of a Drunk in Paradise. Zane Mitchell. Funny/Quirky thriller series set in the Bahamas. 

    Friday Night Frights. Eric Mosher. Funny/Quirky and sometimes violent horror series following teenaged horror movie buffs. 

    24/7 Demon Mart. DM Guay. Funny but not scary series involving a very normal slacker working at very supernatural quickie-mart. 

    Bane County. JR Rice. A traditional werewolf horror series.

    Tome of Bill & Bill of the Dead. Rick Gaultieri. (Technically from last year Bill of the Dead 2 came out this year so I count it.) Urban vampire series with some comedy notes but also some scenes of real violence. Start with Tome of Bill which reads as a self contained series.

    • #18
  19. Rick Banyan Member
    Rick Banyan
    @RickBanyan

    This is the kind of post that convinced me to keep track of the books that I read each year and to set some goals for myself. I read 33 books this year, 2 of which were fiction. (I have to ration the novels because if I get hooked on a good one, I’ll read most of the night, something my wife disapproves of. Surprising, right?)

    I enjoy seeing how many and what kinds of books other Ricochet folks read. (@EB – 157! Hey, EB, it’s ok to take 3 or 4 days to read a book; pace yourself.) I read lots of history, biography, and religion books with a few other topics thrown in, e.g., Scalia Speaks by Antonin Scalia, To Criticize the Critic by T. S. Eliot, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

    Oh, one more thing: @Michael S. Malone, yeah, reading12 books in a year is pretty good if you also wrote 366,000 words in 2020. That word count is amazing.

    • #19
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I love this idea – I’m going to share it with my sister and see how we do. I got rid of a lot of hardbacks (to the library) and the rest of my discards are going to a local charity.  I kept a lot too, but now have more room on my bookshelves and it also allows me to see what I haven’t read better. I’m starting off the New Year 2021 so far with:

    Finding Vigano by Dr. Robert Moynihan

    The Order by Daniel Silva  (the Segway from the first book into the second was not planned)

    Green Hazard by Manning Coles (my sister sent me this tattered 75 year old mystery that she loved for Christmas)

    Let Earth Receive Her King – an Advent Devotional (also from my sister – we were supposed to be reading this which includes a diary/workbook within its pages) together – but the holidays got busy and I haven’t started it. Even though Christmas is passed, I’m going to get going anyway.

    Various cookbooks and health books………..for my annual Near Year diet reform – at least I try……

    Cheers and Happy Reading to all and to all a Good Night! 

    • #20
  21. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    I think I read around 40 books this year but a few were re-reads. Some were ones I heard of through Ricochet:

    Strange Rites

    Live Not By Lies

    Justice on Trial 

    Profiles in Corruption 

    Green Tyranny 

    So thanks for the recommendations I can’t remember who the people were but I know I heard about them hear first.

     

    • #21
  22. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    Echoing @vinceguerra about Goodreads. That’s how I keep track of books I read each year. It’s also how I find out about new releases in sci-fi and fantasy, most of what I read. Also, you can set a reading goal for each year. I just made it to my goal last night. It’ll track your progress and tell you how many books you’re behind or ahead  at any point in the year.

    • #22
  23. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):
    But does it count that I either published or finished writing four books this year

    Only if you read them, sorry.

    The contest rules are very clear on this.  If we made an exception for you, we’d have to make one for everyone.

    • #23
  24. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    LC (View Comment):

    Echoing @vinceguerra about Goodreads. That’s how I keep track of books I read each year. It’s also how I find out about new releases in sci-fi and fantasy, most of what I read. Also, you can set a reading goal for each year. I just made it to my goal last night. It’ll track your progress and tell you how many books you’re behind or ahead at any point in the year.

    • #24
  25. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I fairly recently purchased the complete Kipling, and am working my way through it.  I’m on Life’s Handicap now.

    • #25
  26. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    I was thinking of doing a 2020 Books List but I’m glad you beat me to it! The site GoodReads allows you to set a “reading challenge” for the year. I just use the last two numbers of the year as my goal (19 for 2019, 20 for 2020, etc.). Read 21 this year!

    Evan Armatas, Toolkit for Spiritual Growth: A Practical Guide to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

    John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

    Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents

    Enoch, The Book of Enoch

    Frank J. Fleming, Superego (Superego, #1)

    Frank J. Fleming, Fathom (Superego #2)

    Pope Gregory I, The Book of Pastoral Rule

    Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

    James, The Protoevangelium of James

    John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

    William Langland, Piers Plowman

    Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

    Alan Partridge, From the Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast

    Plato, The Republic

    Colin Quinn, Overstated: A Coast-To-Coast Roast of the 50 States

    David Spade, A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World

    P.G. Wodehouse, My Man Jeeves

    Various, Orthodox Study Bible

    Hierotheos Vlachos, Orthodox Psychotherapy

    • #26
  27. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    sSo is your list in Author order or the order you read them? I thought I had found someone like me – since I was a kid, if I read an author I liked, I would try to find everything else he or she wrote. I liked Tom Sawyer, so read everything from Twain. I’m pretty much the same now – read a Brad Thor, go find the rest. and so on

    In looking at my list for 2020, I find I started with some serious books in mid 2019

    • Sebastian Gorka – Why we Fight
    • Sidney Powell – License to Lie – Depressing, but recommended
    • Edward Snowden – Permanent Record – still not sure what I think of him
    • William Hogeland – The Whiskey Rebellion – the history of this period of our country fascinates me
    • Peter Scheweizer – Profiles in Corruption – another depressing but recommended book
    • Curt Schlicter – Peoples Republic (2016), Indian Country (2017), Wildfire (2018), Collapse (2020), Crisis(2020) – another set of depressing, but recommended

    During 20020, I switched to almost all spy/thriller. I was following the daily news (Russia, Russia, Russia; Gen Flynn ambush and so on) and was realizing that nothing was going to happen. At least in the spy/thriller genre, the bomb either blew up or didn’t. Mostly, the good guys won pretty unambiguously.

    I did notice that in the books I was reading, the good guy never just pulled out a gun, it was a SIG model xyz with the special abc silencer. Even the “killing knife” was described in loving detail. I think this type of detail goes back to the the Tom Clancy style.

    To get away from that, my last book was “The Other Woman” by Daniel Silva. This is much more cerebral.

    Oh – I read and enjoyed several books by some @vinceguerra fella

    The Sydney Powell, Hoagland and Ed Snowden books intrigue me. I’ll look into getting them. So Thank You.

    • #27
  28. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

     

    Oh – I read and enjoyed several books by some @vinceguerra fella

    Me and my family thank you. 

    • #28
  29. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Miffed White Male:

     

    Tom Clancy/Marc Cameron Code of Honor
    Tom Clancy/Marc Cameron Shadow of the Dragon
    Tom Clancy/Mike Maden Firing Point

    How are these, and do they take place in the Jack Ryan universe?  I tried the first of the Tom Clancy’s books Op Center and was unimpressed. It didn’t have the same quality for detail as Clancy’s own books, of course that was decades ago.  Even Clancy’s own books fell flat toward the end of his life. I still read his best every few years or so. 

    • #29
  30. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    There is a Ricochet Book Club group on Goodreads, FYI. It’s easy to find if you search for that phrase. It’s public so anyone can join or invite others. I’m a member (not super active) under Charlotte [my last name which begins with R].

    • #30
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