Books and Reading

I like to read books, non-fiction more than fiction, but both. This page lists some of my favorites. The list is biased toward what I have read recently. For the most part, I have not included widely read classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird even if I really enjoyed reading them.

This is not intended to be a complete list. Do not be upset if your favorite book it not on this page.

Click on any category to show or hide its lists of books.

  • Fiction

    Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
    Anaya's semi-autobiographical book about Hispano culture in rural New Mexico.
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Despite suffering from attacks by people that do not understand history, a great book by one of the great humorist of all time.
    The Man who Killed the Deer by Frank Waters
    From Good Books, “The story of Martiniano, the man who killed the deer, is a timeless story of Pueblo Indian sin and redemption, and of the conflict between Indian and white laws; written with a poetically charged beauty of style, a purity of conception, and a thorough understanding of Indian values.”
    Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut
    From Wikipedia, “Set in the Galápagos Islands after a global financial disaster, the novel questions the merit of the human brain from an evolutionary perspective.”
    Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut
    This is my favorite Vonnegut novel.
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
    Winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
    The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry
    Not as famous as some of his other books. McMurtry said this was one of his books of which he was most proud. It is a story about a Las Vegas showgirl.
    The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
    The first book in Nichols's New Mexico Trilogy. It explores the conflicts of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo cultures in Northern New Mexico.
    The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
    A story about attending military college. One of Pat Conroy’s many excellent books.
    Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
    Classic memoir about the author's two-year sea voyage as a sailor, starting in 1834.
    My Antonia by Willa Cather
    Classic novel about life in the early American West.
    Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
    From Wikipedia: “a 1927 novel by American author Willa Cather. It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory.”
    The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
    Intellectual progenitor of the environmental terrorism movement.
  • Non-Fiction

    • Adventure and Travel Chronicles

      The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher
      A classic hiking tale which chronicles the author's walk through Grand Canyon National Park entirely within the rim of the canyon in 1963. He was the first person to do this "in one go" at a time when complete topographic maps of the area were not available.
      The Thousand Mile Summer by Colin Fletcher
      Another classic hiking book which recounts the author's 1958 walk along the entire length of the eastern edge of California.
      The Ultimate Journey: Canada to Mexico Down the Continental Divide by Eric Ryback.
      At age twenty, the author walked the length of the Continental Divide. At that time, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) did not exist. He arranged food drops from the National Forest Service in exchange for scouting a potential CDT route. His journey was a phenomenal feat of will and physical endurance.
      Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen
      Incredibly interesting book about the Magellan expedition's circumnavigation of the globe.
      Roughing It by Mark Twain
      Humorous book about Twain's travels in the Western United States and Hawaii. Warning: Not politically correct in the 21st Century.
    • Biographies

      Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides
      A national best seller.
      Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
      Pulitzer Prize winning biography. After reading this book, I think that Thomas Jefferson was one of the most interesting people that ever lived.
      Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
      From Wikipedia, "A biography of World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific Theater, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then survived more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war (POW) in three Japanese POW camps."
      Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne
      Pulitzer Prize winning book about a famous native American leader.
    • Health and Fitness

      Training for the New Alpinism by Steve House and Scott Johnson
      Excellent book with introduction to basic athletic training concepts and information on how to train for mountaineering.
    • History

      Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton sides
      This book tells the gripping story of the World War II prison camp raid at Cabanatuan in the Philippines that rescued over 513 Allied prisoners. The prisoners were survivors of the Bataan Death March.
      Killers of the Flower Moon. The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
      Named by Amazon as the best book of the year. National Book Award Finalist.
      Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
      The story of the deadly Galveston hurricane of 1900.
    • How-To/Instructional

      Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills from the Mountaineers
      The standard textbook for mountaineering and climbing in North America for more than 70 years.
      Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills by Topher Donahue and Craig Luebben
      Very good introduction to rock climbing.
      Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide by Topher Donahue and Craig Luebben
      Good tutorial on climbing anchors.
    • Miscellaneous, Other

      Dead Run: The Murder of a Lawman and the Greatest Manhunt of the Modern American West by Dan Shultz
      A captivating true crime story.
      Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awry by Stephen Klaidman
      Tells the story of the most striking example of medical doctor greed and immoral behavior of which I am aware. It also details how the medical profession and regulators utterly fail to protect the public.
      The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears by Nick Jans
      The captivating story of Timothy Treadwell's rise to fame with a fake persona as a bear expert and how his foolish behavior led to a bear eating him and his girlfriend. It is a real page turner.
    • Politics and Current Events

      Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
      Exposes a striking example of ambition and incredible privilege gone horribly awry.
      Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created Parkland’s Shooter and Endanger America’s Students by Andrew Pollack and Max Eden
      A surprising expose of the Marjory Stone Douglas High school shooting. See the authors speak about the book in this video on CSPAN Book TV .
      Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy by Jonah Goldberg
      Goldberg challenges the current conventional wisdom that America is terrible.
    • Science and Natural History

      The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
      The author shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns.
      Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio
      Explores the importance of emotion in human behavior.
  • Books Beloved by Many but Not My Me

    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
    Proclaimed as one of the great novels of the twentieth century, I just do not get it. His style makes for unnecessarily difficult reading. I found it boring.
    In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
    I found this tome unpleasant and unreadable.
    The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    Three hundred and sixty-six pages to say that important events can be unpredictable.