Dan's Harvard Reading List

These are the books that I've been reading. I'm not going to review all the books I've read because compared to movies that sounds like a lot of work.  But I will recommend where appropriate.  Remember, if you're going to buy a book you might as well buy it through my web site.  I'll save up the commissions and throw a party.

The Reading List
The Story Behind the List


The Story

As a first year students at The Harvard Business School I was  asked to attend a luncheon with Derek Bok (then President of Harvard University) and the Fellows (trustees).  I was among five first year, five second year and 3 doctoral candidates at the lunch.  Dr. Bok and the other eight fellows held these lunches to assess the progress of each of the schools at Harvard.  We represented the B-School for that year.

Most of the lunch consisted of the usual dull questions about problems on campus (case method, affirmative action, is investment banking really evil?) and about our classes and professors.  The lunch was really pretty nice and was held in the President's residence on the main campus (I don't think he really lives there).

Then, one of the Fellows asked the group  what type of books were on our reading list.  He was met with the silence of forks sheepishly clanking on plates.  No one actually reads books at the B-School.  We read cases until mid-night every night.   I guess I got a little peeved at the question so I slowly raised my hand.  My classmates faces slowly went white because they new I was going to say something embarrassing.  I did.

"Well sir", I said, "My reading list is made up mostly of Stephen King novels".  After all, Tommyknockers was pretty good escape for a Saturday afternoon hangover.  The Fellow wanted to hear about Plato, Aristotle and De Touqeville.    He heard Pet Cemetery.

Dan's Harvard Reading List is dedicated to The Fellows of Harvard University and to the notion that you should read whatever floats your boat.  Remember buy your books from me.

Dan's Harvard Reading List

These are the books Michelle and I have been reading. You can buy them by clicking on the pictures to the left.

Hard Eight
IThe latest in Janet Evanovich's series on Trenton bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. I finished the book in about 12 hours and enjoyed it as usual. Luckily Barnes & Noble is selling the hardcover for only $15 which translates to about $1/hr in entertainment dollar. If you're not an Evanovich fan, give One for the Money a try and work your way up to Hard Eight. FYI the book signing drew 800 people and was more like a rock concert.
Patriot Games
I haven't been able to put the book down even though I saw the movie when it came out. This is the first Tom Clancy book I've read which makes me some sort of Luddite. I loved Patriot Games but just saw Sum of All Fears, it was so-so.
Read June '02
Space Lords
My friend Linda leant me Space Lords by Cordwainer Smith. It's a series of short stories all relating to the same future characterized by humans that live for hundreds of years. Like most good Sci-Fi, it deals with many of today's important social issues.
Read May '02
Wizard and Glass
Wizard and Glass is the fourth installment of King's Darktower series, its also the easiest to follow. It's the easiest to follow but still took me seven months to read. The fact that I kept at it should tell you how much I like The Darktower. Wizard and Glass deals with Roland's early life and how he turned into such a hard-ass Gunslinger.
Read May'02

The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth
This collection of short stories by Roger Zelazny was a recommendation fromLinda Hill. I enjoyed some stories more than others but all-in-all a great collection and thoughtful stories from the Hugo.
Read June'01
Seven Up
Janet Evanovich chronicles the exploits of Trenton, NJ's own bounty hunter heroine Stephanie Plum. Michelle and I went to her book signing at Barnes & Noble in New York and what a show it was. She had a band, a cross dresser and a half-naked soap star on a motercyle. Seven Up in paperbook is currently #75 on BN.com's hit list and there's talk of a Stephanie Plum movie. We love Janet and look forward to Hard Eight which is being launched in Trenton on June 22, 2002..
Read June'01
I have now read the entire Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. Simmons imagines a wonderful world where travel between stars is instantaneous and humans have adapted radically to their environments. However on Hyperion time travel is starting to affect the balance. Deep religious messages are part of Hyperion so if exploring Sci-fi religion is your bag Hyperion is your book.
Read the series in 2000
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
I saw the movie years ago and decided to make this the August book selection.  I never realized that it was fiction until I read the book.  It's an interesting story and the cover compares it to Ulysses, but I don't know if its all that.  Perhaps when it was written it was much more unique.  We have so many more good histories of southern black culture now.
Read August '98
Comanche Moon 
This is the second prequel to Lonesome Dove.  Gus and Call are all growed up and have a little experience behind them.  Blue Duck gets introduced. 
Read June '98
Dead Man's Walk 
This is the first prequel to Lonesome Dove.  The Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry is the best set of westerns of our time.  While Lonesome Dove was written first, you might try reading them in chronological order.  Dead Man's Walk essentially gives the origins of Gus McGrae and Woodrow McCall. 
Read June '98
The Unbearable Lightness of Being  
This is a philosophical journey through relationships and revolutions.  Four characters spend the Czechoslavakian takeover and subsequent Russian occupation trying to find themselves.  This is a good book for couples to read together if they want to bring up one disturbing issue after another.  Michelle and I did. 
Then we went to Prague together.  Do ya think that's taking it too far?
Read May '98
The Smithsonian Institution 
This Gore Vidal novel was exceptionally strange.  A teenage genius is called on to move into the Smithsonian and help stop World War II.  While he's working he meets and works with characters from the exihibits including a young, insatiable dead president's wife. 
Read April '98
Moving Mars 
A Hugo Award winner by Greg Bear. A pure Sci-Fi book.  Yes they really do move the planet.  This a good read with plenty of romance, action and psuedo-science.  I was walking through the book store with an urge to read sci-fi and this is what I found.  Good call. 
Read March '98
Memnoch the Devil 
Memnoch is the fifth of the Vampire Chronicles which started with The Interview with the Vampire. Memnoch is in fact the devil and takes Lestat on a tour of Heaven and Hell.  Essentially this an excuse for Anne Rice to explain the origins of earth and mankind.  It's really a better story than the Bible.  
Read December '97
Tatos is the best of Anne Rice's tales of the Mayfair Witches series.  Everything Anne Rice writes is great but Taltos in some ways is more interesting than the other Mayfair Witch books.  Read them all though. 
Read January '98
Millroy the Magician  

Theroux’s book is an allegorical novel about a magician, Milroy, who eats only foods from the bible and plans to live until he’s 200 years old. Milroy builds a band of followers who are persecuted by eventually become the envy of everyone else for their clean living.  
Read March '94