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Michael Allen, PhD
Senior Instructor
Physics & Astronomy
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Books I have enjoyed

I read mostly fiction, and of that mostly historical fiction and science fiction. My yearly reading list includes at least one item from each of: short story collection, classic sci-fi, modern sci-fi, English language classic, a play, historical fiction, science non-fiction.

** Listings with asterisks are my favorites.


** Caroline Andrews, "The war that killed Achilles"
James Burke, "The pinball effect"

** Janet Gail Donald, "Learning to think", Jossey-Bass

Richard P Feynman, "Surely you're joking My Feynman"
Richard p Feynman, "What do you care what other people think"

Camille Paglia, "Glittering images"

Dave Tomar, "The shadow scholar: how I made a living helping college kids cheat"

** Simon Winchester, "Krakatoa: The day the world exploded: August 27, 1883"

Simon Winchester, "The professor and the madman: a tale of murder,
  insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary"

Simon Winchester, "The meaning of everything: the story of the Oxford
  Engllish dictionary"

Simon Winchester, "Outposts: journeys to the surviving relics of the
  British empire"

Simon Winchester, "A crack in the edge of the world: America and the
  great California earthquate of 1906"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes (complete)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The white company"

Philip K Dick, "Do androids dream of electric sheep?"
Philip K Dick, "The man in the high castle"

C.S. Forester, Hornblower (10 novels, one incomplete novel, one companion)
C.S. Forester, The african queen

Michael Moorcock, the eternal champion

In general I do not like fantasy novels, with Moorcock the notable
exception.  I've read about 40 of Moorcock's books and look forward to
40 more.  I love the concept of the eternal champion and all its
variations. The best are the original Elric saga, Bastable, von Beck,
Corum, and Hawkmoon.  No series is better than "Nomad of the time
streams".  His writing is fast-paced, dialogue-driven, and richly

Patrick O'Brian: Aubrey and Maturin series; I have not quite finished
these (21 books, Napoleonic-era naval fiction)

Sir Walter Scott: complete novels

Scott, a compulsive writer, wrote about 30 novels in his lifetime,
from early poetical works, to the so-called Waverley novels written
under a pseudonym, to tales of high medieval adventure.  My favorites
are Quentin Durward, Kenilworth, Redgauntlet, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, St
Ronan's Well, and his latest and greatest masterpiece, Count Robert of
Paris.  Scott's writing is rich and dense, his characters leap off of
the page and into the room beside you, and his pacing is a model for
all.  He is my favorite author.