I don't think that you're a lawyer. Furthermore I suspect that I have more experience than you do when it comes to legal copyright issues. Therefore to take your advice over my best judgement (particularly when there is a real question) would be sheer stupidity on my part.
Perhaps this is a case of once bitten, twice shy, but I'm not planning to push it.
Incidentally if I take a copyrighted work, and then proceed to rewrite it in my own word while making the result close to a copy of the original, then my work is a derivative of the original and I can still be in violation of copyright. Therefore if quoting all 256 recommendations is a violation of copyright, then paraphrasing all of them can be as well.
A final note. O'Reilly is populated with pretty decent people. This is hardly a case of abuse on their part. They know, and I know, that a lot of people are going to buy the book just for the recommendations. I can fully understand their not wanting me to circulate that full list, and I'm not about to start a fight about it. I personally would hope that my article would encourage more people to buy the book. But that isn't my judgement call to make, it is theirs.