Books & Magazines

Books
Favourite authors
Scoring system
Magazines
What's in the queue?

Books

I've always loved reading but sadly these days I don't always find as much time to read as I would like. When I am traveling  I try to spend time reading on planes and in hotels. I used to read a lot of technical books as well as novels but these days I must admit that most things I need to look up of a technical nature are available on the Internet. Consequently, you will find mostly works of fiction listed below.

I have also started using Goodreads to look for interesting books to read and to track some of my reading.

Books I am currently reading

Here are the books that I am currently reading.

Something I like to do is have more than one book on the go at a time to ensure I am not always reading the same genre of literature (I think this goes back to my English Literature classes during school days in England where I regularly found myself needing to read five or more books at at time). I also like to go back and re-read books I have read in the past (hence the Dickens novel being listed above). One of my bad habits is that I tend to buy books in batches and then go back and read them. The net result of this is that some books have sat on my bookshelves for a very long time before I get around to reading them. As a prime example of this I bought Dan Simmons' Hyperion while still living in the UK back in 1990 and I only got around to reading it in November 2006! If you are interested, you can take a look at what's currently in the queue.

nf=Non fiction; eb=e-book; p=previously read/re-reading

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Books I have read recently (most recent first)

I started compiling this list just for a bit of fun during 2006. Books that I read more than a few years ago are not included. The numbers in square brackets "[..]" represent my totally subjective and very personal scoring system for how much I enjoyed the book (10 being the highest and 1 the lowest). I tend to return often to authors I have enjoyed reading before or to authors for whose work I have received reliable recommendations from people who have similar tastes in fiction to myself. Consequently, you will not find too many low scores in the list. My scoring system is described further down the page. I have also compiled a table of my favourite authors further down the page.


Books read in 2015

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Books read in 2014

2014 was another reasonable year for reading but I did not manage to read as many books as I would have liked.
nf=Non fiction; eb=e-book; p=previously read/re-reading

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Books read in 2013

I more or less managed to keep up my level of reading in 2013 along the same lines as I did in 2012. My transition to reading almost 100% e-books is definitely paying off. I finished the year with a total of 24 books read, just one short of my 25 book goal.

nf=Non fiction; eb=e-book; p=previously read/re-reading

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Books read in 2012

I set myself a goal in 2012 of reading 12 books. Not a lot, but given prior years and my schedule, one a month still seemed aggressive. Mid year I increased the goal to 25 and I ended up finishing my 27th book of the year right at the end of December. There is no doubt, at least in my case, that e-books have allowed me to do a lot more reading. This is a good thing!

nf=Non fiction; eb=e-book; p=previously read/re-reading

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Books read in 2011

Having for a long time been an "I love real books" person, I came to appreciate e-books in a big way in 2011.  I found it so much easier to read knowing I had access to my books from a variety of devices without ever having to carry a physical book with me. This worked really well for me, especially as I like to have a few books on the go at the same time and e-books make "book hopping" really easy. The net of all this is that I read a lot more this year than in recent years (which is a good thing) and the list below reflects that.

nf=Non fiction; eb=e-book

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Books read in 2010

I had been hoping to get a lot more reading done in 2010 than I did in 2009. I am not sure what happened last year. I think I got distracted by video games a bit too much I think.

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Books read in 2009

I intended to read a lot more in 2009 but it took me almost two months to get through book eleven in the Wheel of Time series and after that I got distracted by other things for a while. It is not a short book and not the fastest moving either. However I enjoy the series and want to finish it. The twelfth and (supposedly) final book was scheduled to be released this year but I now see the last book will in fact be three books - this series may never end!

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Books read in 2008

I finally finished "Second Contact" in January (having started it back in September of 2007). This had nothing to do with the book but is just a reflection of how much less reading I was been able to do with the medical issues going on. One of the side effects of my treatments was that my eyes got tired very easily and I found it hard to read more than a few pages at a time. Thankfully this improved when chemo ended. So anyway, I am trying to keep up with my reading as best as I can as it really is a good form of both distraction and relaxation for me at the present time. This year I discovered two new authors that I have really enjoyed reading (at least so far) in Ted Bell and Khaled Hosseini. Overall I read less books than I would have liked this year but at least I am managing to make a few inroads into my reading queue.

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Books read in 2007

For the first nine months of the year (before I learned about my medical issues) I had been really busy with a lot of projects at both work and home (and also travelling less - which is fine by me, but that means less time to spend reading on planes as a side effect). Ultimately, I finished eleven books in 2007 which is well below average for me. That said, several of the books I read were quite lengthy.  The two Dan Simmons books represent well over 1000 pages between them and all of the Harry Turtledove books are over 500 pages (of small print) each, but I was definitely below where I would like to have been terms of the time I was able to dedicate to reading.

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Books read in 2006

I set myself a personal goal of reading more books in 2006 and by the end of the year I had managed to get through 17 which I don't think is too bad. Several of these are quite lengthy (many being in excess of 700 pages) so I feel quite good about managing an average of almost one and a half books per month.

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Books read (shortly) before 2006


As you can see, I am still working my way through Robert Jordan's (seemingly never ending) Wheel of Time series. During 2006 I just finished book nine in the series (Winter's Heart). There are currently eleven books in print in the series and I believe that there are supposed to be about twelve or thirteen before the series is complete. Number eleven came out late in 2005 I think and now a series of prequels has started appearing also (hence my comment about there being no true end in sight to this saga). None of these books are small in size and they average somewhere between 750 and 1000 pages each. Friends and family members (and even a few random people that have seen me carrying one of these volumes in airports) have all tried to warn me that I'll get bored with the series before I'm done - but, for the most part, so far so good. I must say however that some of these books are a bit long winded and drawn out and not that hard to put down (the low score I gave book eight reflects this). I would have been happy if the story had been brought to a conclusion by now but having invested the time to get this far I am determined to make it to the end. By contrast, I went through The Da Vinci Code in about three days! Regardless of how accurate or not it is, as a suspense/detective novel it's extremely hard to put down.

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Favourite authors

As a teenager I became almost obsessed with James Bond. I read every Bond book I could find including several written by other authors after Ian Flemming's death. Looking back now I realize of course that these are not exactly great classical works of fiction but I enjoyed them then and I still do now. When I was at university, a lot of my friends were heavily into science fiction and/or fantasy novels and that probably influenced my tastes quite a bit. I read just about everything I could get my hands on by authors such as Larry Niven, Stephen Donaldson, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. These days I still read quite a bit of SF and fantasy but I also read a lot of suspense, thriller and adventure type books as well. I guess I am a bit set in my ways as far as the types of books that I read but I am always looking for books by authors I have not read before. If you have any good suggestions please send me a message.

Here are some of the authors that I have enjoyed reading over the years (sorted by last name ascending).


Adventure/Suspense Science Fiction/Fantasy
Jeffrey Archer
Douglas Adams
Ted Bell
Isaac Asimov
Dan Brown David Brin
Tom Clancy Terry Brooks
Michael Crichton Arthur C. Clarke
Clive Cussler Stephen Donaldson
Ian Flemming Raymond E. Feist
Frederick Forsyth Terry Goodkind
Dick Francis Robert Jordan
John Gardner George R. R. Martin (*)
John Grisham Julian May(*)
Raymond Khoury (*)
Larry Niven
John Le Carré Jerry Pournelle
Robert Ludlum Terry Pratchett
James A. Michener J. K. Rowling
Craig Thomas Dan Simmons

J. R. R. Tolkien

Harry Turtledove

(*) = added recently

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My Scoring System

Just for a bit of fun and to give this page a tiny bit more relevance than just being a list of things I read, I have given each book a score based on how much I enjoyed reading it. I think the descriptions below are fairly self evident but, in general, any score of 6 or higher means that I am quite likely to read more books by the same author. A score of 7 or more indicates a book I enjoyed reading and a score of 5 or less means the book was at best a bit of a struggle. I stress again, however, that this is solely my opinion based on the types of books and story lines that I enjoy. Your opinions may vary wildly from mine of what constitutes an enjoyable book.

The points system works as follows:

    10    Brilliant stuff, just could not put it down
    9      Really enjoyable and hard to put down, almost as good as a 10
    8      Very good.  A book I kept wanting to pick up and read more of.
    7      Good. Enjoyable reading.
    6      OK but not great. Glad I finished it but not worth a higher score.
    5      Average. Was hard or slow going at times or the plot was a bit thin
    4      Slow moving and/or tedious, finished it because I felt I should rather than because I wanted to
    3      Struggled through it, not recommended
    2      Awful, why did I bother?
    1      Gave up. Did not even bother finishing the book

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What's in the queue?


Here are just a few of the books that I am hoping to read soon that are sitting patiently on my bookshelf (or in my e-bookshelf) waiting to be read! The order they are listed in here does not guarantee that I will get to them in that order and moreover new books seem to keep arriving on a regular basis as well! Having made this list I realise that there is not much sci-fi listed here which is very odd for me. I'll have to do something about that! I'm also planning to go back and re-read a lot of the books I read many years ago (no, not just so I can convince my wife of why I still have them collecting dust on the book shelves!!).


  1. A Memory of Light #3 by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  2. Phantom by Ted Bell
  3. Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler
  4. Dead or Alive (eb) by Tom Clancy
  5. Aganst All Enemies by Tom Clancy
  6. The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
  7. Next by Michael Crichton
  8. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
  9. The Scorpio Illusion by Robert Ludlum
  10. The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum (finished after his death by a ghost writer apparently based on materials he left behind)
  11. The Ambler Warning by Robert Ludlum (finished after his death by a ghost writer apparently based on materials he left behind)
nf=non fiction; eb=e-book

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Magazines

Much as with the books I read, I tend to buy magazines mostly when I am traveling. I used to have subscriptions to a large number of monthlies, but a lot of them were ending up in the recycle bin unread so I currently only have one subscription which is to National Geographic. When I travel I usually take a copy of Wired magazine along with me as I find there is usually something interesting to read in there and as I am interested in mobile computing devices, I often pickup a copy of Laptop magazine.

As a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, I also receive every month a copy of their Aerospace magazine which I do make time to read. I am not an aerospace professional nor am I (sadly - maybe one day) even a pilot. Ever since I was a little boy, growing up near Gatwick Airport in England I have been fascinated by commercial airliners. I used to beg my Dad to take me to the spectators deck at the weekend so that we could watch all the long haul jets arrive in the morning and then depart again a few hours later - hence my love of planes, which is just as well given how much of my life I have spent on them in recent years.

Other than those four magazines, there is nothing that I read with any degree of regularity these days. I think some of this has to do with the fact that so much of the information that I need is available on the web and is typically more current there as well and access to the web (even while in the air) is becoming so prevalent that my laptop has in some ways replaced more traditional reading materials.


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Contact me. Last updated July 20th  2015