Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

Yes, it's time for the first of two inevitable "year in review" posts. This one is about the books I read this year and enjoyed the most. Please note that I make no claims about these being "best" nor were these books published during 2014. They are literally the books I enjoyed the most.
  1. Eric Scholsser's Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety combined an in-depth retelling of the 1980 Damascus incident (during which a Titan-II missile exploded in its silo due to a maintenance accident, expelling its 9 megaton warhead which obviously did not explode in northeast Arkansas) and a historical treatise on accidents involving nuclear weapons. A couple of takeaways. First, despite all these accidents a nuke never detonated unintentionally. Second, while you never want an accidental detonation when the time comes to use a nuke you don't want anything that's going to delay its use unnecessarily.
  2. Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire: Book 2 of the Millennium Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard), the 2nd book in the trilogy that began with the more famous Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, gave me the biggest and best plot twist I've come across in a long time. Plus, I felt it was the strongest of the three books. Too bad we'll never read what else Larsson might have had in store for Lisbeth Salander. 
  3. Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy could've made this list simply for the amount of time it took me to finish this 1,000+ page tome. But it was worth it to read him present the case that leads to only one conclusion: Oswald did it.
Honorable mentions:
  1. It seems that I re-read William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text every year or two. And why not? In my opinion, it is the finest example of written English language I have yet encountered.
  2. And then there's Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Simply fine literature.
  1. Michael Crichton's Micro should have been left unfinished. In fact, that's how I left it.
  2. Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich. Creepy books like this give wealth a bad name.
If you're curious, here's a list of the 40 books I read in 2014.

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