Paul Ruffle at Starry Night

My Book List

Open Quotes Here are some of the books that I have read and enjoyed in the last few years, with the most recent at the top. Close Quotes

Parade's End

by Ford Madox Ford

The Hydrogen Sonata

by Iain M. Banks

Information is Beautiful

by David McCandless

Mona Lisa Overdrive

by William Gibson

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by Thomas Kuhn

Girl At The Lion d'Or

by Sebastian Faulks

Hull Zero Three

by Greg Bear

You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles

by Peter Doggett

Existence

by David Brin

Any Human Heart

by William Boyd

Adventures in Cosmology

by David Goodstein

A Good Man in Africa

by William Boyd

Zero History

by William Gibson

Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation

by Philip Norman

Foundation's Friends

Stories in honor of Isaac Asimov

The Sirens of Titan

by Kurt Vonnegut

Time Out Of Joint

by Philip K. Dick

Birdsong

by Sebastian Faulks

The Child In Time

by Ian McEwan

Spook Country

by William Gibson

Walking on Glass

by Iain Banks

The Bridge

by Iain Banks

Steve Jobs Steve Jobs

by Walter Isaacson

A fascinating but sometimes disturbing insight into the man who led the way to bring us technology blended with lifestyle.

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science

by Lawrence Krauss

An excellent account of Feynman's life, both personal and in science.

Exultant: Destiny's Children Book 2 Exultant: Destiny's Children Book 2

by Stephen Baxter

Not much of a continuation of the first book in this series, but a good yarn, although the conclusion was somewhat predictable.

Feynman Feynman

by Jim Ottaviani

What could be more cool? Feynman's life as a graphic novel. Brilliant artwork.

John Adams John Adams

by David McCullough

A sweeping account about one of the most distinguished of America's founding fathers.

Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe

by Sir Roger Penrose

Not for the faint-hearted, as Penrose does not shy away from including some maths, but well worth the effort to understand his ideas.

A Week in December A Week in December

by Sebastian Faulks

A wry and cynical story about a group of slightly connected Londoners in the lead up to the financial meltdown.

Cracking the Einstein Code: Relativity and the Birth of Black Hole Physics Cracking the Einstein Code: Relativity and the Birth of Black Hole Physics

by Fulvio Melia

A very lucid account of how Roy Kerr found the solution to Einstein's equations for spinning black holes.

The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life

by Stephen Hawking

After a promising start very disappointing. Hawking expects us to take his word for it that he is right.

Our Kind of Traitor Our Kind of Traitor

by John le Carré

The master has not lost his touch. As up-to-date as ever with more than a nod to certain politicians now in government.

Surface Detail Surface Detail

by Iain M. Banks

A slightly disturbing Culture novel where civilisations wage digital war over hell itself.

What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

by Richard P Feynman

An excellent sequel to Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman. His account about the Challenger enquiry is excellent.

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

by Sean Carroll

Entropy and the arrow of time in great detail lead to an interesting new slant on what happened at the Big Bang.

The Principles of Quantum Mechanics The Principles of Quantum Mechanics

by Paul Dirac

Probably the best introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

All for Poor Jack All for Poor Jack

by Steve Tilston

A very interesting historical story about cod fishing. What more can I say?

Remarkable Creatures Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

A fascinating true account about female friendship and fossil hunting in 19th century England.

Firstborn: A Time Odyssey Book Three Firstborn: A Time Odyssey Book Three

by Arthur C. Clarke

Excellent conclusion to the Time Odyssey trilogy.

Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties

by Ian MacDonald

An invaluable resource, despite MacDonald's negative view of a number of recordings that most of us consider brilliant.

Pattern Recognition Pattern Recognition

by William Gibson

Fashion, viral marketing, stealth publicity, mysterious on-line footage and a lot more are combined in this cyber thriller. Excellent plot with clever twists and better written than his earlier stuff.

The Aftermath The Aftermath

by Ben Bova

Swashbuckling in space really. A good add-on to the Rock Rats trilogy.

The Road Ahead The Road Ahead

by Christabel Bielenberg

A slightly disappointing sequel to The Past is Myself. Christabel Bielenberg's post-war life in Ireland is especially dull.

Lake Views: This World and the Universe Lake Views: This World and the Universe

by Steven Weinberg

Not quite as good as I hoped it would be, as several of the essays are a bit repetitious. Saved by the final essay on God and religion.

Blood and Iron (Penrose 2) Blood and Iron

by Tony Ballantyne

A good sequel to Twisted Metal, but despite the intervention of humans, we still don't quite know how this robot world came into being.

The Road The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

An apocalyptic road story that might be depressing, but provides insight into what we are all capable of (good and bad) when things are really, really bad.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

by Richard Dawkins

A welcome relief from his rant in the God Delusion. Excellent examples of evolution taking place right now.

Transition Transition

by Iain M. Banks

A clever plot weaved around the many worlds hypothesis. My copy did not have the "M" in the author's name. Maybe he could not decide if it was SF or mainstream.

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius

by Graham Farmelo

An illuminating portrait of Britain's greatest physicist, and shame on Bristol for not giving their son the recognition he deserves!

Engleby Engleby

by Sebastian Faulks

Brilliant and disturbing. Faulks research for "Human Traces" obviously gave him more ideas.

Solar Solar

by Ian McEwan

McEwan does his physics research and does not flinch from using it within this well crafted tale about the foibles of one, untypical in my experience, scientist.

Flowers For Algernon Flowers For Algernon

by Daniel Keyes

Simpleton Charlie Gordon has an IQ of 68 and can't even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving. A classic and very cleverly written. Stands the test of time.

Twisted Metal Twisted Metal

by Tony Ballantyne

An interesting story of a robot world that has forgotten its origin, despite Ballantyne knowing very little about physics or chemistry.

Matter Matter

by Iain M. Banks

Another brilliant Culture novel, this time about the shellworld Sursamen, the layers of which are inhabited by different species, all unknowingly threatened by a very sinister entity.

Non-Stop Non-Stop

by Brian Aldiss

Aldiss at his best with the classic starship ark story of forgotten origins.

Man Plus Man Plus

by Frederik Pohl

Biological engineering turns man into a monster on Mars.

A Most Wanted Man A Most Wanted Man

by John le Carré

Le Carré as brilliant as ever and never lost for exploring the contradictions of the flawed and the hopeful.

Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925 Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900-1925

by Vera Brittain

One of the most moving books I have ever read. An eulogy for a lost generation.

Gateway Gateway

by Frederik Pohl

A story of a man's guilt at letting something terrible happen in the pursuit of riches.

Fountains of Paradise Fountains of Paradise

by Arthur C. Clarke

A good yarn based on building a space elevator, but not as good as Clarke's earlier work.

A Fall Of Moondust A Fall Of Moondust

by Arthur C. Clarke

I remember reading my Dad's copy of this as a young lad. Still a brilliant book.

The Razor's Edge The Razor's Edge

by W. Somerset Maugham

One of Maugham's best books. It takes a little getting into but is well worth it.

Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein

by John W. Moffat

A good account of what may be wrong with current theories of dark matter and dark energy.

Astronomical Spectroscopy: An Introduction to the Atomic and Molecular Physics of Astronomical Spectra Astronomical Spectroscopy: An Introduction to the Atomic and Molecular Physics of Astronomical Spectra

by Jonathan Tennyson

Only for astronomers, but the best text book on spectroscopy that I have come across.

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality

by Manjit Kumar

A superb account and description of the development of quantum mechanics.

The Galaxies of the Local Group The Galaxies of the Local Group

by Sidney van den Bergh

Another good text for astrophysicists.

Quantum Leaps Quantum Leaps

by J Bernstein

A small book for dipping into the author's reminiscences.

Down the Bright Way Down the Bright Way

by Robert Reed

Humanity travels the Bright an ancient pathway between the stars. Another many worlds story.

The Well of Stars The Well of Stars

by Robert Reed

A pretty good sequel to Marrow, which was brilliant.

Expedition to Earth Expedition to Earth

by Arthur C. Clarke

Short stories from the master including "The Sentinel" which was the embryonic storyline for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It

by Robert Zimmerman

No better can you get a sense of both the successes and failures of NASA.

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

by Leonard Susskind

The first half gives the best explanation of the second law of thermodynamics I have ever read. Not so sure about the latter half but well worth reading.

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