12 Books to Read

Writers read, right? At least they are supposed to… Since spring break is here, and many of us have begun traveling for the annual conference season, here are some books I hope to read.


John Scalzi’s Redshirts: When I read fiction, I lean towards scifi with a focus on cyberpunk or hard science fiction in the Asimovian vein.

Redshirts is a hilarious play off of Star Trek, the original TV show. Junior away team members try to avoid getting killed! I’m halfway through and have caught myself laughing out loud several times. I highly recommend this book if you need a something light.

Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin: A National Book Award winner, this book takes us back to New York City of the World Trade Center towers in the 1970s. Hailed as a literary masterpiece, Great World Spin looks tense and captivating. Plus I’m always up for a good Bronx Tale.

Up Jumps the Devil by Michael Poore: Nothing like a good Lucipher story. The devil in love is a a great concept, and his pursuit of a lovely angel through the ages seems hilarious. Poore sets the book in the American civilization, making for a tongue in cheek play on morality.

David Brooks’ The Best American Essays 2012: This compilation combines fiction and nonfiction from magazines across the country. I was drawn to it by my Friday blog post, particularly the more introspective ones. They’ve become my favorite pieces to write. To get better, I want to study and enjoy the best pieces of the year.

The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman: This is the tangential sequel to the Half Made World, which is just one of the most incredible pieces of steampunk I have ever read. That makes for a must-read for me, and hopefully it will enthrall as much as its predecessor.

The Mongoliad Book 1, multiple authors: This is a trilogy that began as a social media experiment, and includes Neal Stephenson as an authors. The authors have gone back and refined the crowdsourced text, which takes on a Mongol threatened Europe, and how it was saved. I’m a bit reticent on this one, but it was extremely well read, if not well reviewed, and is worth a shot. The first book, at least.

Charles Stross’s Rule 34: Internet crime reveals murder, but as Edinburgh investigator Liz Kavanaugh digs deeper she realizes that the online crime wave could go viral. Sounds deliciously dystopian and dark. Looking forward to this one.


Brainfluence by Roger Dooley: J.R. Schmitt recommended I read this a long time ago, and I promised her I would. I’m very late on fulfilling my promise, but I will read it, though. This is a different look at influence, in particular the neuroscience of our consumer brain, and what causes people to take actions.

Al Gore’s The Future: I am kind of obsessed with the future right now, and I like Al Gore in his post political career, in particular all of the great work he did for the environment. The Future looks at six critical issues facing our society and the impact our approaches to these problems will have on us, bad or good.

Social Change, Anytime, Anywhere by Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward: Well, my two friends published a book on multichannel marketing to affect change. Seeing as they are both brilliant, I’m sure it will be a fantastic read (see Katya’s review here). Looking forward to it!

Andrea Weckerle’s Civility in the Digital Age: I used to work with Andrea, and I’m sure this book will be pretty insightful. She’s been through some rough adventures online. I catch grief everyday online and have come to accept it as part of the business, but I’m sure there are great coping and management tactics in this book.

Brand Relevance by David Aaker: How do you make your competitors irrelevant? By becoming the most important and relevant brand in your stakeholders’ minds. I’m looking forward to reading Aaker’s take on what makes the winning brand of the 21st century.

What are you reading this Spring?


  • You strike me as a Howard Zinn kind of guy. Ever read his stuff? His collection of essays was really amazing. Well, everything he wrote was really amazing. One of my faves.

    I am currently reading His Excellency George Washington. Fascinating read so far, although I constantly feel like the author just doesn’t like Washington. Kind of makes you wonder why he opted to write a book on the man :)

    On deck is Maddie Grant’s book.

    My current favorite though is my mom’s history of my grandparents as they lived through WWII. Work sure gets put in perspective as I read about my grandpa on the Nicholas in the Pacific in 1943. Sheesh.

    • I will totally have to check out Howard Zimm. Sounds awesome. Wow, your mom is an author?

  • Great suggestions for my #100books challenge this year. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Neal Stephenson is a fantastic author and from Ames High! Go Little Cyclones. Have you read his latest, Reamde? It was fantastic.

    • I have read Neal Stephenson, but kind of stopped reading him after the Baroque Cycle. The Diamond Age is one of my favorite books of all time. I have heard Reamde was awesome, so I will check it out!

  • I love to read…and didn’t recognize a single one of these! I like Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, Barry Eisler, F. Paul Wilson, David Baldacci, Eric Lustbader (who took over the Bourne stuff, but I read him decades ago)…even liked the heroic fantasy by David Gemmell.

    Most of the non-fiction I’ve read happens to be folks in our common social circles…hmm, read that Marketing in the Round within the last few months.

    • LOL, I hope it was worth your time.

      Thanks for these suggestions, Brian. I haven’t read much of this, so I will need to check out a few of these guys. The Gemmell fiction sounds particularly interesting…

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  • Who’s the dunce who’s finally figuring out trackbacks? *raises hand*

    Thank you for the link. I like sci-fi, too, so I may have to borrow from your list.

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