52 Books and Works In A Year (2017)

I had a lofty goal this year; well, I had a few. Besides the typical weight loss that seems to be held at an arm’s length because of injuries and laziness, I had a goal of reading 52 books in one year. Superficially, 52 books doesn’t seem that ridiculous of a goal. However, the minutiae of life became overwhelmingly congruent with my failure in achieving this goal in such a way that I would almost attempt to label it a “future goal” to appease my strive for “perfection”. After finishing grad school in May, I thought I would easily have enough time for this goal.

Life had other plans, as usual.

I didn’t plan on writing my book this year. Of course, I had toyed with the idea of telling my infamous story and was greatly encouraged by the people I told verbally. I never thought I could be a writer as I read the works of the greats like Heinlein and Novakov and Rowling. But when I was sitting in a waiting room in May, I began to remember the feel of the run on that night in Afghanistan. As I placed myself squarely back into those moments, I became overwhelmed in my usual panic attack and pulled out my phone to write what my brain remembered. I felt better for about two hours before I had the urge to write again, to continue purging myself of these thoughts and memories.

I thought it would be a slow process to draw the story back to the forefront of my memory, but it wasn’t; the story has always been right there, forcing me to live a reactionary life full of guilt and pain and hate. In writing the story, I became like a fire hydrant that had been ran over; I couldn’t quell the flow. It felt like I was vomiting the words and experiences and I was vomiting so violently that I couldn’t catch my breath. The only way to breath again in the moment of such violent expulsion is to vomit harder and faster, to get everything out quickly to save yourself because you can feel the end of your oxygen stores coming (if you can’t relate to this analogy, then you haven’t experienced the flu in the truest of ways, you lucky dog).

I wrote fiercely for three months, sometimes staying awake until 3 am or later writing, revising timelines, and talking to people who are in the book. Every night would be a battle of the physical requirement for sleep and the metaphorical need to breathe again. As 2017 went on, the urge to write was always there, and it put a damper on my attempts of this attainable 52 Books in a Year goal.

However, the goal has been reached in a scrambling attempt at the end, and I have learned so much from it as I forayed into the realm of non-fiction seriously for the first time of my life. I am able to speak on events in an educated manner instead of reading a 180 character tweet. The knowledge handed to me from the non-fiction writing, while still draped in the bias of the writer, is more factual and sometimes more relatable than the fictional stories that I have loved for decades. I have gained a new appreciation for non-fiction, but I still love to sneak in a good fictional work like a girl reading with a flashlight under the covers.

So here is my list:


  • Art of War by Sun Tzu (5th Century BC)
  • On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col Dave Grossman (1995; revised in 2006)
  • Lincoln’s Prose by Abraham Lincoln (1860-1865)
    • Niagara Falls
    • The Practice of Law
    • On Government
    • On the Republican Party
    • To Henry Pierce and Others
    • On Discoveries, Improvements and Inventions
    • Speech on the Dred Scott Decision
    • On Slavery
    • To George Robertson
    • On Pro Slavery Theology
    • On Slavery and Democracy
    • On the Struggle Against Slavery
    • First Inaugural Address
    • Speech at Independence Hall
    • To Ephraim D. and Phoebe Ellsworth
    • Emancipation Proclamation
    • To Horace Greeley
    • Meditation on Divine Will
    • To James Conkling
    • Proclamation of Thanksgiving
    • Gettysburg Address
    • Second Inaugural Address
  • Final Report Of The Select Committee On The Events Surrounding The 2012 Terrorist Attack In Benghazi by the Select Committee on Benghazi of the House of Representatives (2016)
  • Team Geek : A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Ben Collins-Sussman and Brian W. Fitzpatrick (2012)
  • Toddlers Are Assholes: It’s Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan (2015)
  • Loving What Is by Bryon Katie (2002)
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife Diane Ackerman (2007)
  • How To Be A Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy (A Gentlemanners Book) by Candace Simpson-Giles (2011)
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989)
  • Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham (2012)
  • Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger (2016)
  • Beyond Landscape (Communist Manifesto) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848)
  • Verizon Communications versus FCC by the U.S. District Court of Appeals (2014)
  • The Over-consumption Myth and Other Tales of Economics, Law, and Morality by Elizabeth Warren (2004)
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief by Anonymous (2006)
  • Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax (2009)

  • Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox (2008)
  • Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens (2015)


  • Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)
  • The Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence (1920)
  • Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1856)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)
  • Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins (1980)
  • The King, the Queen, and the Knave by Vladimir Nabokov (1928)
  • The Magus by John Fowles (1965)
  • The Collector by John Fowles (1963)
  • French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (1969)
  • Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920)
  • The Jellybean by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920)
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1882)
  • The Sons by Franz Kafka
    • The Judgment (1913)
    • The Stoker (1913)
    • Metamorphosis (1915)
    • Letter to His Father (1952)

Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • Wheel of Time- The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (1992)
  • Wheel of Time- Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (1991)
  • Wheel of Time- The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (1990)
  • Wheel of Time- Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (1990)
  • End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov (1955)
  • War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1897)
  • Manna by Marshall Brain (2003)
  • Slow Regard for Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (2014)
  • Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)
  • Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman (2003)
  • Time Pressure by Spider Robinson (1987)


  • The Shack by William P. Young (2007)
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (prior to 850)


  • Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda (1972)
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (2014)
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (2017)

Historical Fiction

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)
  • Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke (2015)

Comic Books

  • Terminal Lance: White Donkey by Maximilian Uriarte (2016)

Currently Reading…

  • The Prince by Machiavelli (1532)
  • Hero Tales from American History by Theodore Roosevelt and William Taylor Adams (1895)
  • Windows at Christmas by Bill Crowder (2008)
  • The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts (2015)
  • The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan (1993)

Awards by Me:

Most Personally Helpful: On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col Dave Grossman (1995; revised in 2006)

Most Heart Wrenching: Terminal Lance: White Donkey by Maximilian Uriarte (2016)

Most Relatable: Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1920)

Most Frustrating: The Magus by John Fowles (1965) or really anything Fowles

One I Would Never Recommend: The Shack by William P. Young (2007)



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