Books (61-90)

Unrelated: the dastardly babybot that nearly shat in our Tabaski lunch bowl.  Have I finally found a worthy nemesis?

Unrelated: the dastardly babybot that nearly shat in our Tabaski lunch bowl. Have I finally found a worthy nemesis?

61. Runaway Alice Munro
1. Incredible.
2. Subtle, light handed, tragic, smart.
62. Neither Here Nor There Bill Bryson
1. The northern lights are cool, but the rest of this books is a bland tramp through Europe with a whiny Bryson narrating.
63. The Widow’s War Sally Gunning
1. Written by a Brewster, MA resident.
2. Better as a historical research than as a novel.
64. The Cider House Rules John Irving
1. So long and divagating.
2. The movie improved and edited this book.
65. Food Politics: What Everyone Needs To Know Robert Paarlberg
1. Interesting book advocating for conscientious science as the savior of the planet/ food systems.
2. He argues for the opposite of much of what I have been taught.
66. Diary Chuck Palahniuk
1. Totally over CP.
2. All premise, no execution.
3. Highlight: no one was disemboweled by their swimming pool.
67. Germs, Guns, and Steel Jared Diamond
1. Everyone Needs To Read.
2. One of the most illuminating books I have ever read.
3. The history of agriculture lends itself to an argument against racism.
4. Why did I not read this thing through in high school when we first crossed paths?
68. In Our Time Ernest Hemingway
1. To paraphrase JCO: these stories are good, but they would not be such a big deal if they were not early Hemingway.
69. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
1. An uplifting true story about Africa.
70. Sula Toni Morrison
1. A look a female friendships, sexuality, and the allegiances in our lives.
71. The Looming Tower Lawrence Wright
1. Everyone Needs To Read.
2. Excellent history on the rise of radical Islam in the middle east. Super informative.
72. A Walk In The Woods Bill Bryson
1. Spoiler alert: Bryson does not actually through-hike the AT.
2. Spoiler alert 2: there are no confirmed bear sightings.
3. “Why do I read him still?” you ask. Because he is like listening to people chat in English, and after a certain amount of time in village I need to have that in my brain.
73. Yes, Chef Marcus Samuelsson with Veronica Chambers
1. Celebrity chef autobiography touches on Africa, racial identity, work, and what passion takes from you.
2. Decent.
74. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Farley Mowat
1. Mowat is the Canadian naturalist who long ago stole my heart with Never Cry Wolf.
2. This book is a silly memoir centering on his childhood dog.
75. Power Systems Noam Chomsky
2. NC with all of his beautiful leftist dogma.
76. Quiet Susan Cain
1. “The power of introverts,” or something like that.
2. Worth reading and discussing, but less scientific that could be hoped for a book with such big claims.
77. Endurance Alfred Lansing
1. Shakelton and his crew managing to have a better time than many PCVs, all the while stranded on the coldest continent. They don’t make people like than anymore.
2. A book that has the potential to be boring, but never is. So well executed.
78. Beautiful Ruins Jess Walter
1. A beach read (that I read without the beach).
79. The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri
1. Not worth reading.
2. Poor character development.
80. Travels In Siberia Ian Frazier
1. Enjoyable, lengthy.
2. See previous concerns regarding male travel writers.
1. Does this (being a male travel writer with no clear agenda) contribute to the greater good? (And thus we descend into the “greater good” debate/ wormhole.)
81. Becoming A Tiger Susan McCarthy
1. A book about how animals learn.
2. Super interesting, borders on entertainment reading.
82. Four Quarters T.S. Eliot
1. Old school poetry.
83. Wonder Boys Michael Chabon
1. A fast, smart read. This books completely takes you in.
2. A secondary character in this book is one of the best I have ever experienced in writing.
84. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again David Foster Wallace
1. My literary esteem for DFW has now crossed over into infatuation.
85. Journey Without Maps Graham Greene
1. An amazing writer goes on an African trek and descends into misery and filth, drinks heavily.
2. Lots of early 20th century racism.
86. Cosmicomics Italo Calvino
1. IC, I owe so much of my appreciation and love of literature to you, but this book, though weird and folklore-esque, is not all the way there. The ending, does remedy some of the middle.
1. This is what Jessica calls the Moby Dick question: can an amazing ending save an otherwise not amazing book?
87. The Happiness Advantage Shawn Achor
1. How to be happy.
2. This book is worth reading, but feels overly subjective in parts.
88. Most Good, Least Harm Zoe Weil
1. I would have loved this book in high school. It is somewhat obvious, but still awesome to see solutions and ideas presented instead of just problems.
2. Can we discuss that doing good and making money so often seem to be set up like an either/ or. Is that actually the case? Hard to tell, but I am going to be optimistic (or argumentative) and say that it shouldn’t have to be this way. (Ah, I this book is helping me reconnect with the naivety and anger of my youth.)
89. Wonder Boys Micheal Chabon (for the 2nd time)
1. Sick at site with only The Brothers Karamazov and they aren’t the types to nurture you through dysentery.
2. Still good the 2nd time. The book does not lag, but it is interesting what you, the reader, focus on the first time as opposed to the second
90. Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations David R. Montgomery
1. Everyone Needs To Read.
2. This book has changed my life.
3. Basically a very readable text book; starts slow but is crucial to understanding the world. I think about this book all of the time.
4. Mulch your garden!


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