Carcasses of the books from 2016

Carcasses of the books from 2016

List of the books I read in 2016. The books are in order from bottom left up and then bottom right and up. Yes, that is a Big Trouble in Little China action figure to the right.


  1. The Idea Factory - Jon Gertner
    • The thing I remember most of this book is I was reading it while on holiday in Vietnam and I left it at a hotel in Hanoi and it had to be mailed to me in Hue. It's a really interesting story about process, about how Bell Labs did what they did and how it changed the world - ends with an interesting challenge to Silicon Valley to try and replicate this model again.
  2. Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
    • Poirot is a bad ass. This book broke murder mysteries.
  3. The Apprentice - Jacques Pepin
    • Got this as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, wouldn't have bought it on my own, but glad I did. Each chapter break has a recipe and I've made some of them, so it's informational AND delicious.
  4. Start-Up City - Gabe Klein
    • Got this after seeing him do a talk at the CLA event in Chicago. He signed it. The signing of a book doesn't change any of the words that were already printed in there. So, my experience reading it is similar to any one else's, it just means that mine has a few more words scribbled in the front than yours.
  5. The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Favorite part of this book was the short first chapter where he talks about where Sauron came from. The rest I didn't love. As a nerd, I'm glad I read it - but that's about it. Nerd points.
  6. Political Fictions - Joan Didion
    • One of the best books on politics I've ever read. Not THE best - for me it's a tie between What it Takes by Richard Ben Crammer and The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro. But her writing is so clear and she's very good at conveying mood and the world that these politicians exist in.
  7. Dead Wake - Eric Larson
    • Stole this from Captain Mark. It's good. He tells the story of the sinking of the Lusitania (what got the US into WW1..sorta) from everyone's vantage points; the people on the boat, the Admiralty in the UK, the families of those lost, and most disturbingly, the U-Boat Captain. Begging to be made into a Rashomon style film.
  8. The Glass Key - Dashiell Hammett
    • Read this for a film I acted in, Mercury in Retrograde, which shot in August of 2016. When I think of this book I think of all the good friends I made during filming, playing pool in the basement of a weird Mexican restaurant in Grand Rapids, MI.
  9. The Commission - Philip Shenon
    • It's a book about the 9/11 Commission's report on the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It's a great book that talks about all of the politics that went into the creation of a report, throw in some espionage, love affairs, congressional hearings - again, another book that should be made into a 8 part series. Also, I remember my wife pleading for me to not take this book on a plane when we flew because she didn't want to freak people out.
  10. SPQR - Mary Beard
    • The hidden history of Rome. This was a hard read for me, I found that it jumped around a lot and I think I needed to know more about Rome before reading this. This book almost works better as a book you read after you've just read the entire history of Rome.
  11. The Road to Hell - Michael Maren
    • The unintended consequences of aid in Africa. Reading this as research to see how the author took his real life experiences with the complex issues of aid and turned them into a narrative as I work on my documentary, How to Build a School in Haiti. 
  12. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
    • The comedic masterpiece that I had read years ago and re-read because we are using this book at the Harold Ramis Film School for one of the classes. It's great, it's also the one book on the list that probably can't be made into a movie.
  13. The Quest - Daniel Yergin
    • The follow up to The Prize. The Prize is 1,000,000 times better, but this is still interesting if you want to know more about energy and oil in the world. The Prize is a history of the last 100 years, but through the lens of oil. The Quest is a history of like the last 20 years through the lens of oil and renewables. It reads more like a collection of reports as opposed to a cohesive whole.
  14. Dune - Frank Herbert
    • Reading this book makes me hate all of the film versions that exist and makes me skeptical of any that are planned. When I think of this, I was reading it while on holiday in New Zealand, so I think of the stunning scenery of my surroundings and how different it was to the setting of the book. Every time I drank water while on a tramp, I thought about how important it was.

Definitely felt like a light year this year with more fiction in than the previous years. The books I started, but are carrying over into 2017 are The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan and The Shining by Stephen King.



What's left of the books of 2015

What's left of the books of 2015

List of the books I read in 2015. The books are in order from left to right. 


1. The Power Broker - Robert A. Caro

2. The Wrong Kind of Muslim - Qasim Rashid

3. Robert Kennedy - Evan Thomas

4. Time Warped - Claudia Hammond

5. The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World - Edward Shepherd Creasy

6. Interaction of Color - Josef Albers

7. The Punishment of Virtue - Sarah Chaves

8. The Wrong Enemy - Carlotta Gall

9. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

10. Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments with Truth - Mohandas K. Gandhi

11. Night - Elie Wiesel

12. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates -  Kilmeade, Yeager

13. Awakenings - Oliver Sacks

14. How we Got to Now - Steven Johnson

15. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

16. Foundation - Isaac Asimov

17. Foundation and Empire - Asimov

18. Second Foundation - Asimov