I was complaining to someone the other day I needed to read more and play video games less, and in fact added that to my goals for 2018. And then I sat down and compiled my reading list for 2017, which totals 16 fiction books and 29 non-fiction books. That’s, um, 45 titles, and now I’m wondering why I’m unhappy with that. My thought is there was a lot of fiction I wanted to get to, plus a number of military history/biography works, and a lot of the reading was more task and professionally driven. Still, now that I’ve looked at the entire list, I’m pretty happy. This list, by the way, excludes anything I didn’t finish.

I’ve included links to Amazon for each work, Kindle if it exists, Audible if not. Fell free to buy the volume in however you prefer reading it. Also, if I reviewed the work, I’ve linked to that review. In a few cases where I didn’t do a review (and am frankly unlikely to in the future) I’ve added some short comments to a few of these.

Unless specifically noted, all of these books are recommended, and lack of a formal review shouldn’t be seen as my not liking it as much, but more about time and organization. I’ll try to better in 2018. I hope you’ll find something here that helps you relax, enjoy, expand your brain a bit, or all three at once.


Science Fiction

  • Corey, James S A: Leviathan Wakes (Amazon) — Late to this series, and I have book two queued up. Highly recommended.
  • Kowal, Mary Robinette: Ghost Talkers (Amazon, Review)
  • Levine, David: Arabella of Mars (Amazon, Review)
  • Moren, Dan: The Caledonian Gambit (Amazon, Review)
  • Rusch, Kristine Kathryn: The Falls: A Diving Universe Novel (Amazon)
  • Scalzi, John : The Collapsing Empire (Amazon) — I liked it, but I didn’t like it as much as his Old Man’s War series. Good and a nice start to a new series, but not awesome

Fiction, Fantasy

  • Brust, Steven: Valista (A Vlad Taltos Novel) (Amazon, Review)
  • Kay, Guy Gavriel: River of Stars (Amazon, Review)
  • Pratchett, Terry: The Color of Magic (Amazon) — A fond return to an old friend
  • Sutcliff, Rosemary: Sword at Sunset (Amazon, Review)
  • Zelazny, Roger: The Amber series (All ten volumes) (Amazon) — Okay, I actually only read 6 of the books in 2017, and in reality, listened to them on Audible because only the first four books were out on Kindle (book 5 is now as well). But the Audible series is great, and the shift to having Will Weaton read the five Merlin books was amazing and I recommend it highly. And to be honest, these books are fast, fairly short reads; given today’s fiction typical lengths, the ten book series is maybe two volumes today. Or the first chapter of a Brad Sanderson book.

Non Fiction

Military History/Biography

  • Anderson, Scott: Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Follow, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Amazon) — Very highly recommended
  • Chernow, Ron: Alexander Hamilton (Amazon, Review)
  • Commager, Henry Steele et al: The story of WW II: Revised, Expanded and Updated (Amazon)
  • Gilbert, Martin: The First World War: A Complete History (Amazon, Review)
  • Hastings, Max: The Korean War (Amazon, Review)
  • Keegan, John: Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda (Amazon) — fascinating if this stuff interesting you.
  • Keegan, John: The American Civil War (Amazon, Review)
  • Kershaw, Ian: To Hell and Back: Europe 1941- (Amazon)
  • Lawrence, Mark Atwood: The Vietnam War: A Concise International History (Amazon, Review) — if you want to learn more about Vietnam, a good place to start.
  • McPherson, James: The War That forged a nation (Amazon, Review) — and this is the place to start to learn about the Civil War.
  • Smith, Jean Edward: Eisenhower in War and Peace (Amazon, Review)
  • Toll, Ian: The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands 1942-1945 (Amazon)
  • Toll, Ian: Pacific Cruicible: War at Sea in the Pacific 1941-1942 (Amazon)

Business/Management/Self Improvement

  • Lopp, Michael: Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager (Amazon)
  • Lopp, Michael: Being Geek: The Software Developer’s Career Handbook


  • Simon, Carmen: Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions (Amazon)
  • Rambo, Cat: Creating an Online Presence (Amazon) — if you’re trying to sort out how to do what you do online, this is a really nice introduction.
  • Halvorson, Kristina et al: Content Strategy for the Web (Amazon)
  • Segall, Ken: Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity (Amazon) — I wasn’t really impressed with this book. Not bad enough to drop unfinished, but close.
  • Armstead et al: Better Birding (Amazon)


  • Brown, Gregory: Programming Beyond Practices: Be more than Just a Code Monkey (Amazon)
  • Buttfield-Addison, Paris, et al: Learning Swift: Building Apps for OS X and IOS — if you’re new to coding and starting in Swift, this would be my suggestion to get going.
  • Eidhof, Chris: Advanced Swift (Amazon)
  • Eidhof, Chris: Functional Swift
  • Hillegass, Aaron, et al: Cocoa Programming for OSX: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Amazon) — and a good book if you want to write for the Mac instead of IOS.
  • Hoffman, Jon: Protocol-Oriented Programming with Swift (Amazon) — if you read the Big Nerd book and still aren’t sure what protocols are, read this.
  • Kerievsky, Joshua: Refactoring to Patterns (Amazon)
  • Mathias, Matthew et all: Swift Programming: the Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Amazon) — if you have coded before and want to learn Swift, start here. If you haven’t coded before but want to learn coding with Swift, also start here.
  • Wang, Wallace: Swift OS Programming for Absolute Beginners (Amazon) — if you’re an absolute beginner to programming, maybe, but… I wasn’t impressed.