d e t a i l s

  i try to make reading a daily part of my existence. there are a number of reasons for this but i imagine you're interested in exactly zero of them. so deem yourself spared. as for how i choose what to read, i use a genre-based rotation. the rotation changes from time to time but below is the present pattern:

POPULAR FICTION (e.g. ken follet, dan brown, john grisham)
CLASSIC LITERATURE (e.g. alexandre dumas, victor hugo, charles dickens)
SCI-FI/FANTASY (e.g. isaac asimov, orson scott card, robert heinlein)
PHILOSOPHICAL (anything from raw philosophy to the merits of bhudism)
MODERN LITERATURE (e.g. upton sinclair, william faulkner, theodore dreiser)
INSTRUCTIONAL (something towards making a better me)
HISTORICAL BEST-SELLER (from the kahn reading project)
NON-FICTION (e.g. michael lewis, jon krakauer, bill bryson)

the purpose of the above serpentine is rut and glut avoidance. i am desperate to not become a boorish one-category reader and i also love (!!!) the sweeping arcs of subject matter landscapes this practice forces my mind to ambulate through. from a fox hole in WWII europe to solar systems not yet seen (and in times not yet conceived) to how to make your child laugh more to the roman forum at its peak the potential behind this exercise offers limitless candy and vitamins for your mind (and soul).

if you think i'm missing a category, i'd appreciate to hear your argument. and, i'm ever interested in hearing about people's favorite reads, so please hit me up with yours.

The Clan of the Cave Bear
Jean M. Auel

READ BEFORE BOOKS FROM : 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017


Catching Fire
Suzaane Collins

when bella saw me nearing the end of this book she quaked with excitement. she said there was a great cliff-hanger at the end and i would have to start the next book immediately. to say the least i surprised the girl by not sharing her ravenous review of the conclusion.

and in looking at the last few books i've read, i can easily name this my greatest reading slump in over a decade. not sure what is going on but i need a fix.
link to this review


The Girl Who Played with Fire
Stieg Larsson

this book resembles beavis and butthead in that too much of the style and you feel your brain start to gelatinize with every page turn.

at present, i don't see book three in my future.
link to this review


The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

this book sat in my to be read stack for many months. bella placed it there along with an unhealthy need that i read it. picking it up and studying it i asked her about the story. she told me. i handed her the book back explaining i wanted nothing to do with a book that pitted children against one another. she pushed the book back towards me and said it wasn't that bad and the story was great and i just had, had, had to read it.

so i read it and it turned out to be less evil than it could have been and more enjoyable than i expected it to be.
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The Other Wes Moore
Wes Moore

i had to lead a discussion about this book to group of incoming university freshmen (and then later to their parents) as part of a freshman reading program. in this program they find faculty from all over campus to lead the discussions, with around twenty students per group. in introducing myself i explained they drew the short straw in facilitators because faculty tended to approach the conversation based on their subject matter expertise. this meant that elsewhere on campus you has psychologists and political scientists and social workers delving into the complicated issues exposed in this book. i apologized that they got dealt a technology guy to lead their group. but then i quickly added that they lucked out, we all lucked out, because a hobby of mine, my favorite hobby is time and life management, and if you think of this book as a study of life management, or more specifically the management of two lives, with two very different outcomes, the work is endlessly and personally fascinating to someone like me, so they just went from being in the worst discussion group on the campus to the best because i promise no one finds this subject matter more interesting that i did.

and while i'm usually against over-selling something before producing the goods, i felt i had to in this case. thankfully, through a group effort, we had a wonderfully compelling and thought provoking discussion so i didn't have to end the session with an apology as well.

if you're wondering, the parents' session went well too.
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Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain

i don't know that i ever fully read this book when young. some of the early stuff felt vaguely familiar but much did not. while it's a great story i'm left thinking two things. one, i think i enjoyed the descriptions of old america found in main street by lewis more than twains. while this is a great picture of a young man's life and you get some of the peripheral landscape, i felt like lewis drew a deeper picture of the whole world your were peering into. secondly, based on some small examples of heard about, i think i might enjoy twain's personal writing and letters more than his novels. i will get to verify this shortly as his autobiography is on my shortlist.
link to this review


The Streets of Laredo
Larry McMurtry

i can't tell you how bummed i was to learn that lonesome dove was the third book in a series (only after i read it). this is book four. given that its the wind-down of the series it comes with a touch of sadness, but it's still quite great (and a great wind-down to a four book series).

i'm eager to crack the first two books as i'm definitely left wanting more of the interesting characters McMurtry dreamed up here.
link to this review


It's Easier Than You Think
Sylvia Boorstein

an amazingly accessible introduction into the buddhist way of thought. a truly lovely piece of work that i'd recommend to any wondering about the buddhist approach to life and the many bumps you'll sense along the way.
link to this review


Akira (Volumes 1-6)
Katsuhiro Otomo

I'm by no means a graphic novel guy, but in the name of experience, i like to give all sorts of storytelling a shot. this was touted to me by a few souls as one of the best ever comic/manga stories. i picked up the first volume and got pretty sucked into the world. i know the purist say black and white is the way to go but i think i touristy enough to say i would have preferred a colorized version of the comic.
link to this review


The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family
William Faulkner

anyone who ever aspires to write a novel should never read faulkner. i can't imagine still having the gumption to try after seeing him bend the language.
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Aging Well
George Vaillant

i've always had mixed feelings about aging. one side of me bristles with the anticipation of untold possibilities. the other side of me trembles with the anxiety of untold possibilities. whether it's finally securing that job you've been chasing or being told something has gone wrong with some needed part of your body, the days in front of us are rife with mystery.

the stories and ruminations found in this book have allowed me to come to better terms with what's ahead. largely due to its emphasis of the importance of the now, and how the now is, obviously, so connected to the future - your future. of course you have to set worrying about possible illnesses and catastrophes to the side (it's not healthy to carry around such hefty luggage you may not need). but there are surely things, many things, that can be done to mitigate some of the bad stuff potentially ahead.

partly through this book and partly through my own discovery, i have found myself becoming more excited about aging (where previously i greatly feared what it had in store). now i'm ravenous for the boons of wisdom that comes from better understanding your mind, your body, your family, your society, your purpose. the only requirement for collecting this reward is a fair bit of reflection and introspection - which so sadly seems to be hypersonically becoming a lost art in our frenetic culture.

in short, we are all going to age. there are things that can be done to improve our chances of making the best of things. it reminds me of the words of Gale Snoats, john goodman's character in raising arizona, when he said, "This'll go hard or easy, H I." it turned out to be true for H.I. McDunnough and it will turn out to be true for us as well.
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