Books We’ve Read Recently

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

We do read other things besides comic books and cereal boxes – sometimes we actually read those other word books, and this week we run down five books we’ve read recently.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. 5. “The Companions” by R. A. Salvatore – *SPOILER ALERT* I love that it’s not really focused on Drizzt but on the characters we wish we’d had more of all along.
    4. “Ukulele for Dummies” by Alistair Wood – it’s a simple, fun, informative look at learning the ukulele.
    3. “Cold Days” by Jim Butcher – Dresden…that’s all there is to say.
    2. “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness” by Andrew Peterson – I literally laughed out loud reading the first paragraph.
    1. “The Cold Dish” by Craig Johnson – really any of the Longmire mysteries could probably go here. I really enjoy them all. If you’ve only seen the show, you need to check out the books. Even if you don’t like the show, you might like the books. Great pacing, great twists, great writing!

  2. Not much commentary to add, except to say I’m a “Grammar Nazi” preparing for the fall semester:

    5) “Beowulf” (in original Old English, 3rd Edition by Klaeber)
    4) “Transfer Student Success”
    3) “Analyzing English Grammar” by Klammer, et al
    2) “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue” by John McWhorter
    1) “What Language Is” by John McWhorter

  3. 5) Lawrence in Arabia. By Scott Anderson. An account from American, British, Jewish and German perspectives of the War in the Middle East and the events which T. E. Lawrence was central to in the creation of the modern and dysfunctional Middle East. Anderson is a good writer who sometimes can be a bit melodramatic but highly informative and enjoyable read
    4) Zealot by Resa Aslan. A scholars attempt to recreate from gospel and dependent sources an account of the life of the man we call Jesus Christ. Very interesting g as it gives you a good idea of how one man’s charisma created a Jewish cult which eventually became Christianity. Given the tendency to present modern Christianity as springing fully formed from Christ this is very good reading.
    3) Between Man and Beast by Monte Reel. An account t of the debates surrounding the discovery of the Gorilla in the 19th century. This occurred in the mid 19th century just as Darwin’s theory of evolution was being popularized. The gorilla fed a public appetite for sensationalism and science. Thus it was a great opportunity for self promoters such as Paul du Chaillu, the child of a French merchant in Gabon. Good fun to read!
    2) Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. An account of the meeting in the Fall of 1941 of Neil’s Bohr and Werhner Heisenberg in Copenhagen. Bohr was the leading expert on nuclear physics and Heisenberg was the head of the German nuclear program. The two had been friends for twenty years since Heisenberg had been bohrs student. At this meeting it is somewhat tense as Denmark is occupied by the Germans and Bohr is half Jewish… The men meet, they talk… They argue and they never speak again. This really happened. The play tries to explain what they argued about. Great play, definite must read.
    1) Amanda Foreman’s biography of the life of Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire. Society hostess and political arbiter in late 18th century England. This is a fascinating account of the life of an intelligent and one of the first emancipated women. She was a gambler and had many lovers but was also in an unhappy marriage arranged by her family. The book was made into a movie several years ago. A good read. Foreman is a great writer – also gives you a perspective the development of women’s rights over the past two centuries.

    • I should add that I generally keep something by Terry Pratchett to read. He is a very witty writer and engaging mostly because of his use of language.

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