Painting by: Sergey Gusev
The last lines in my Manifesto are these:
There is nothing you can’t learn, no place you can’t go, if you read.
Below are some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed. Listed will be both those I’ve read recently and those that I remember reading as they occur to me. Only those in which I’ve found entertainment and are here, although the degree will clearly vary.
For details click on the links. This will take you to Amazon and should you decide to buy there, this blog will get a few pennies of your purchase price. I’m told this will not increase your price, so we both win.
Personally, I get my books from the public library. It’s free and between readings they take up space there rather than in my apartment. Were you to ask, I’d recommend you consider doing the same.
Trisha Ray is an old friend who very kindly created the original illustration that graces the cover of my own book. Obviously, I love her work and her book is filled with her wonderful water-colors. Each with a wonderfully well told story behind it. There are even pictures of and stories about me in it.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody.
Yuval Noah Harari has become probably my favorite non-fiction author and this…
…might just be my all time favorite non-fiction book. A close second, which I’ve just finished, is his…
Both are extremely well written and a pleasure to read. Especially, if like me, you are interested in where we came from, where we might be going and why we believe and do all the silly crap we believe and do.
Mr. Money Mustache brought this one to my attention with his review. He calls it “This tiny and simplistic and charmingly outdated book from the 1950s completely changed my life.” We’ll have to take his word for it having changed his life, but the rest I can vouch for.
Great concepts and principles, wrapped in a 1950s sensibility that’s like climbing into a time machine. Interestingly, Schwartz routinely refers to female executives in his various examples and stories. Such creatures were not all that common in the ’50s, but then neither were a lot of his cutting edge views.
I wish, like Mr. MM, I’d come across it as a teenager.
Dr. Randall’s book was first mentioned in my post on handling Mummy heads. She is not only a renouned Theoritical Physicist and Harvard Professor more importantly, at least to me, she is an engaging writer able to take complex concepts and present them in an interesting, understandable fashion. Who knew a book on Particle Physics could be a page turner?
Dark Matter? Dinosaurs? Two of my favorite things wrapped up in a book by Dr. Randall? Of course it goes to the top of my reading list! No, I haven’t read it yet. It’s great. I recommend it. Reading it will only serve to confirm I’m right about this.
I have a layman’s interest in physics. The problem is, I am not quite smart enough. Close, but not quite. So in my reading on the subject I always seem to come up just short of really understanding. If this sounds like you, here’s our book! Chapter 13 was my favorite.
We all know the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. But I, for one, had no idea how compelling a story theirs is. At least as told in this book by Mr. McCullough. Reads like a page-turner of a novel.
The story of a Mexican fisherman blown out into the Pacific Ocean and his survival as he drifts across for, well, 438 days. Actually, a non-fiction book but as it reads like the great adventure it is, it fits better here. Amazing to note: All of his supplies are lost in the storm but he comes across enough garbage floating in the ocean to replenish them.
If you are interested in income inequality, this poorly titled (should have been Unfettered Capitalism – more accurate and more descriptive) is a great discussion of the pros and cons of our current system. Luttwak clearly has his own biases, but is remarkable evenhanded in presenting both sides.
Written in the late 1990s, it is a bit of a time capsule and fun to see how the past 20 years have actually unfolded.
Economics can be dry as dust. It can also provide deep insights into how our world really works. Mr Wheelin replaces the dry as dust aspect with a an engaging, even fun, read while delivering all those engaging insights. Especially worth reading at the moment with all the political campaign nonsense being spewed about.
Where people who live to be 100+ live, how they live and what they eat.
Why the future might be incredibly good. Unless the grey goo gets us.
Predicting the future is risky business, but Mr. Ross makes an interesting case for how markets are changing and what industries are driving the change. Given the current political debate here in the US, I especially enjoyed his section: The Geography of Future Markets.
This is a beautifully written novel that tells the story of, and the stories around, the creation of a sacred Native American drum and its journey from tribal origins in Minnesota to a collector in New Hampshire and back again. If that sounds boring, let me mention there are starving and freezing children and hungry wolves and not even in the same story.
Whitehead is a gifted story teller and writer and his tale of escape from slavery is a page turner. Characters are extremely well drawn. Be warned: This is the tale of slavery up close and it is frequently brutal.
Mr. Franklin makes a killing in silver mining in the old West. Mr. Franklin takes his fortune to England where his ancestors came from. Mr. Franklin enters high society. Oh, and Mr. Franklin was also a member of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang.
Kinda like a more interesting version of Downton Abbey.
Bad monkeys are Sapiens that need killing, and Jane is on the job. If you are already paranoid, you might want to skip chapter: white room (iv)
Leave it to Psmith
“Crime not objected to.”
Psmith is one of my favorite characters from a favorite author. Jeeves, too. Think Downton Abbey but funny. If you like it, here are a couple more:
Jack Reacher roams around the country carrying only a folding toothbrush. When his clothes get dirty he buys new ones. Oh, and he kills lots of bad guys. “Make Me” is the most recent in the series, but not the best. That might be this one:
First line: “People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.”
Last Line: “This ends my true account of how I avenged Frank Ross’s blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground.”
Carl Hiaasen is one of the funniest more enjoyable writers I’ve come across and his novels are populated by an eccentric cast of characters in Florida. What more can I say? I’ve read them all.
One in a series of novels and short stories recounting the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his “gentleman’s gentleman” Jeeves. If you’ve not read Wodehouse, do yourself a favor.
Aging boomers are urged to kill themselves to save the government money. A humorous cross between Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” and “House of Cards”
Interestingly, it references Bertie Wooster.
Southern missionary packs up his family and heads to the Congo. Narrated in rotating chapters by his wife and four daughters. Compelling tale very well told. Amazing as the style and tone shifts between her narrators.
A friend of mine originally from Minnesota recently introduced me to two book series, each set in that state. These are entertaining reads in the crime/detective/adventure genre. Both have a central character, along with supporting characters that reoccur in each book.
As he suggested, I am reading them in order, and here are the first book from each series:
Sandford is probably the better writer, although I find both engaging. But Krueger’s characters are more interestingly drawn. Both are a fine way to pass a quiet evening after a long day.
And here are some of my all time favorites:
The book that has most influenced how I live my life.
“The Fall of Edward Barnard” is very possibly my all-time favorite short story.
Perfect for the readers of this blog.
“Bartleby the Scrivener” is very possibly my all-time favorite novella. Don’t be put off if you struggled with Melville’s “Moby Dick.” This is a much better and easier read. Plus it will teach you the most useful phrase in the English language:
“I would prefer not to.”