Sherry’s Abroad: Reading/Listening Lists

I have had a couple requests to repost our updated reading list – so here you go. I will try to get the rest of our one-line-reviews put in the post in the near future.

Some of these books are preparing us for our travels, some are interesting new ideas, and some are just stories.

If you follow the links below you will see I’m a big fan of Audible.com (have been for several years).   I am also a fan of Kindle, and especially free Kindle books that come available every day.  Each of us will have a Kindle during our travels and the Audible player on our phones, so I expect our reading lists will grow significantly during the inevitable down time that comes with world travel.  I’m looking forward to it.

Books we read or listened to together:

  • 39 Clues – (series) The Cayhill kids travel the world competing with their own family,  looking for clues to the greatest secret of all time. We finished listening to this series during our drives in New Zealand.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows – Classic boy/dog story, produced lots of tears and sniffles while we were in Buenos Aires
  • Wizzard of Oz – Classic story, with silver shoes rather than ruby slippers. Kept us entertained during our drive through the desert around Salta Argentina.
  • Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass – A classic story about an English girl with psychedelic dreams. Listened to this together during our long drive in Patagonia.
  • Tom Sawyer – A 12 year old kid with a great imagination, who gets the girl, and ends up rich!
  • Huckleberry Finn – adventures on the big river
  • Watership Down – An amazingly good story about English rabbits. Finished this story during our drives on the gravel roads in Patagonia.
  • Nim’s Island – A quick story about a girl’s life on a Pacific island, we listened to this during our drive around Chiloe Chile
  • The Story of Doctor Doolittle – Another quick story about an English ne’er-do-well doctor who travels to Africa to save the chimps. We listened to this story as the rain fell on our car in Chiloe Chile.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth – the original story by Jules Verne. Jules is a little wordy and overly impressed with his 19th Century scientific vocabulary, but his stories are classics.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – continuing on the Jules Verne theme. Didn’t get a chance to finish this all together, so Patrick is completing it on his own.
  • The Biography of Jules Verne – after listening to this we decided that Jules was a bit of a jerk.

 Patrick’s Reading List (age 12):

  • I Survived  – (series) The first hand stories of survival through Titanic, Sharks, and Hurricanes.  Hopefully we are not the next installment of the series.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid – (series) Boy angst in middle school (bullies, little brothers, homework, weird girls, etc…)
  • Alex Rider – (series) At teen age secret agent, saving the world one mission at a time.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte and Imperial France – A good book if you like history.
  • Hunger Games – (series of 3 books) Helps you appreciate getting a full plate of food every night, even if it has broccoli on it. I didn ‘t like the third book.
  • The Odyssey – The Greek islands, old-school style
  • Harry Potter Series – Teens fight for their lives every year at middle school
  • The Hobbit – Little guys rock the middle-earth world!
  • Tom Sawyer Abroad – Tom, Huck, and Jim have adventures in Egypt. On of Mark Twain’s weakest stories according to Patrick.
  • What Would Google Do? – Interested at the beginning then became an advertisement for Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t finish it.
  • Freakanomics – Cool book, and I can listen to it in chunks.
  • Outliers – Pretty good – recommended.
  • Around the World in 80 Days – The original story by Jules Verne. Good book but drags in places.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court –  Following up on Mark Twain stories. Really liked that this book, except that the hero becomes a bit of a psychopath at the end.
 Alexandra’s Reading List (Age 10):
  • Found/Sent – (series) 2 adopted time travelling boys solving mysteries.
  • House of a Million Pets – (series) The journal of a woman with a million pets
  • Dork Diaries – (series) Girl angst in middle school (mean girls, party invites, homework, weird boys, etc….)
  • Dear Dumb Diary – (series)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events – (series)
  • Monkey King – A Chinese myth about a monkey that want to be the most powerful being in the world – and discovers that he must become a Buddha .
  • The Bridge to Terabithia –
  • Fablehaven series –
  • The Secret Series
  • Between the Lines
  • Phantom Tollbooth
  • Black Beauty
  • Hound of Rowan series
  • Nightmare Academy series
  • Blubber
  • Beyonders series
  • Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
  • My Brother Sam is Dead
  • Bud Not Buddy
  • Heidi
  • Land of Corn Chips
  • From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basel E Frankweiler


Les’s Reading/Listening List (age 49)

  • Hannibal: One Man Against Rome – Goes to show you that one person with the right capabilities and the right opportunities can really shake things up.  But those Romans were relentless. We did get to visit the valley through the Alps that Hannibal traversed.
  • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Stuff I never learned at Hogan High School.  Key take aways: being an emperor is a really dangerous job and the deep roots of the East/West conflicts.
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World – More stuff I never learned in school – not saying that someone didn’t try to teach it – I just didn’t learn it. We
  • 101 Things You Didn’t Know About Irish History – Amazingly I did know some of this stuff before I read the book, but it helped give some context as we drove around Southwest Ireland.
  • The Last Days of the Incas Under 200 Spaniards with horses and an understanding of how empires work captured the wealth of 10 million Incas for their own fun and profit.
  • Nothing to Envy – Absolute control of information and a belief system can convince people that they are the most fortunate people on the earth, even as they starve to death.  Good thing we don’t have that issue elsewhere in the world.
  • 360 Degrees Longitude – Family of 4 travels the world on a budget.  They wrote my book before I could!
  • Vagabonding – The philosophy and art of long-term world travel.
  • For all the Tea in China – The English sneak into China and steal the closely held secrets (today we call it intellectual property) of the tea industry and transplant it to India.
  • Three Cups of Tea – The determination of one US man to organize the building of schools in Pakistan.  He continues to be in the news for being a little aggressive in his representation of the facts.
  • The Black Swan – Stuff happens differently in the information age than our intuitive minds expect, so we should change the way we approach investing, insurance, and other key decisions.
  • The Male Brain – this explains so much…I wish I had known this stuff when I was growing up.  I thought I was weird, turns out it was just because I’m a guy.
  • Catching Fire – A reasonable theory that early man’s mastery of fire changed us significantly as a species and gave humanity significant survival advantages – such as not needing to spend 6 hours a day chewing our food
  • The Faith Instinct – A anthropological view of human faith and how it is likely is an adaptation of our species along with language and music.  This adaptation provides survival advantage by creating group unity, low-cost enforcement of community rules, and self-sacrifice during war.
  • The Language Instinct – How the brain is wired at birth to learn language, there is a biological basis for human language in our brain structure.
  • Islands of the Damned – The pure hell US marines faced in the Pacific in WWII
  • Matterhorn – The pure hell US marines faced in Vietnam.  Thanks for the recommendation Gabe.
  • The Good Soldiers – The pure hell US marines faced in Afghanistan.  I’m starting to see a pattern about US Marines, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t go any further that Boy Scouts.
  • Game of Thrones – Fantastic characters doing their thing in a medieval fantastic universe.  Kings, Queens, swords, horses, dragons, zombies, etc…
  • The Rise and Fall of Alexandria – It is amazing what those Greeks and Egyptians did in only a few hundred years – like invent the first computer!
  • What Were We Thinking – The trials and tribulations of an American man and woman who mountain bike the mountains of India and Pakistan – very funny and interesting stories.
  • The Defense of Gallipoli – George Paton gives a short examination of the way the British generals totally mucked up their attack on the Gallipoli peninsula in WWI. We spent a morning driving around the scene on our way from Chanakkale to Istanbul.
  • What The Bleep Do We Know – Connecting quantum physics with mind and consciousness. Not sure I buy most of this stuff, but it is interesting to kick around some of the ideas.
  • Pirates of Savannah – Historical fiction, light reading.
  • Extinction Point –
  • The Gauntlet Assassin
  • Knockdown
  • Fatal Exchange
  • Off the Grid
  • What Were We Thinking – A really interesting story of the adventures and misadventures an American couple that spent a year biking in India, Pakastan, and China.
  • The Marlowe Transmission – Science Fiction.
  • TimeSplash – Light reading science fiction.
  • Write That Book Already! – Learning to write….
  • You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) – Learning to write….
  • Story Structure Architect – Learning to write….
  • The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing –  Learning to write….
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers – Learning to write….
  • Ultimate Leadership: Winning Execution –
  • Future Agenda – What are the likely trends in the next 10 to 20 years?
  • Da Vinci: His Life and His Legacy – A very light weight biography of Da Vinci, not recommended
  • You Can Learn to Draw in 30 Days – The book that Alex and I used to learn some of the very basics of pencil drawing.
  • Drawing: Faces and Features – Continuing on the drawing course
  • Learn to Draw from Master Artists – Continuing on the drawing course
  • Landscape Drawing Step by Step – Continuing on the drawing course
  • The Human Figure – Continuing on the drawing course
  • How to Draw Dragons – Patrick and I decided to learn to draw something in which he is interested – not all these stupid pretty girls that Dad keeps drawing
  • The Addicted Brain – Some of the mechanics in the brain that create and maintain addictions.
  • India: An Illustrated History –
  • Hyperion – SyFi classic.
  • Civilization: The West and the Rest – Why has the West been so successful at propagating their culture(s) for the past 1,500 years?
  • The Master Switch – Information technologies all seem to follow a similar cycle of growth and decline, only at increasing pace. Google is probably the new Master Switch for information – is it too late to buy their stock?
  • Euclid’s Window – The progression of our concepts of geometry and math, and how it is influencing our understanding of the universe.
  • What Makes an Effective Executive – starting to get ready to re-enter the work force.
  • Immortality – What will happen as human life-span increases from 80 to 100 to 150 and on
  • What the Bleep Do We Know – Cosmic consciousness meets quantum physics and a grand conspiracy to stop people from believing that pure thought changes outcomes

Suzanne’s Reading List (Age not available):

  • Nefertiti – Teen age girl running ancient empire, as told by her younger sister.  Think about your teenager managing something more than her Facebook page under the reproachful eye of a younger female sibling.  Thanks for the recommendation Vi and Shannon.
  • The King Maker’s Daughter – Historical fiction about the war of the roses told from the perspective of a daughter. We visited Warwick Castle where the story took place.
  • The Devil In the White City – Based on a true story of a serial killer in Chicago during the World Fair of 1893.
  • Rules of Civility – Single girl finds her way in New York City in the late 1930’s.
  • What Were We Thinking – The trials and tribulations of an American man and woman who mountain bike the mountains of India and Pakistan – very funny and interesting stories.
  • The Room
  • Sarah’s Key
  • A Week In Winter
  • The Ghost Map
  • Christmas in Wine Country
  • June Bug
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • What America Was Really Like in 1776
  • The Devil in the White City
  • The Apothecary’s Daughter
  • Our Husband
  • Border Crossings
  • Roses
  • The Red Tent
  • Ketchup is a Vegetable
  • Murder at the Vicarage
  • While We’re Far Apart
  • Spinning Forward –
  • The Night Circus –
  • The Science of Fear
  • The Geography of Bliss
  • Sh-t My Dad Says
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day
  • Bossypants
  • Layover in Dubai
  • Inside the Jihad
  • Nothing to Envy
  • The Litigator

3 thoughts on “Sherry’s Abroad: Reading/Listening Lists

  1. Wow! It takes my breath away that you-all have read and seen so much this year. Thanks for the list and suggestions.
    Mom Sherry

  2. Suzanne, after several years of planning and performing all the scheduling details for this adventure, I hope that you are able to relax and enjoy a few more good books on the trip. Dad Sherry

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