Each year I post about the books I’ve been able to finish within the year. There’s a part of me that believes ‘You are what you read”. Some years ago I realized that I was not reading much aside from magazines, newspapers, and marketing and advertising industry articles. I set a goal to read two books per month and have managed to come close the past few years. This year I must have read longer books since I could only finish nineteen. I have several that I have started and abandoned in some form. I may or may not get back to them.
I read about half of the books digitally on my tablet through Amazon Kindle, and the other half is a combination of library, borrowed from friends, gifts, and purchased hardcovers and paperback books. One thing I have noticed about Kindle books is because it is not a physical book, I am not as aware of the length of the book. It’s quite a bit easier to read a 500-page book on a device than it is to carry it around so I am paying closer attention.
Even if you cannot find the time to read 20 (or in my case this year 19) or more books, reading half or less that amount is still in your best interest. There’s something about reading and considering longer narratives that to me at least, is more important today than it has been before. Attention spans are narrowing. Taking time to think about a complicated subject is sometimes tiring but almost always worthwhile.
Here are the 19 from 2017– each review in ten words or less.
The Only Rule is it has to Work: Our wild Experiment Building a new kind of baseball team – Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller.
Baseball nerds successfully run a short season minor league team.
As I lay dying – William Faulkner
Revolutionary character treatment did not make for a great read.
The Attention Merchants – Tim Wu
Combines history of advertising and how your attention is grabbed.
A Bend in the River – V.S. Naipal
Thoughtful perspective on life from British writer of Indian descent.
Sous Chef – Michael Gibney
Mesmerizing account of one day in a chef’s life.
PreSuasion – A revolutionary way to influence and persuade – Robert Cialdini
Another soon-to-be classic from an interesting thinker.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli
A simply presented collection to explain space and time. Mostly.
Astrophysics for people in a hurry – Neil Degrasse Tyson
Different take than Mr. Rovelli’s book and more fun.
The Song Machine – John Seabrook
Hit pop songs are labors of love and process.
Country Driving – A Chinese road trip from Farm to Factory – Peter Hessler
Author rents a car and drives 7,000 miles around China.
Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky
A world where spiders are sentient yet still creepy.
The Upstarts – Brad Stone
Uber’s and AirBnb’s stories as told by a good writer.
The Sound and The Fury – William Faulkner
Enjoyed this more than ‘As I lay dying’. Still tedious.
The Women – T.C. Boyle
Frank Lloyd Wright was a cad but a fascinating one.
Chaos Monkeys – Antonio Garcia Marquez
Cantankerous and dislikeable author’s time helping build Facebook. Interesting. Maddening.
The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed – Scott Parazynski
There are extraordinary people like Parazynksi who’ve come through NASA.
Outmaneuver – Outthink don’t outspend – Jeffrey Phillips and Alex Verjovsky
Better title than book. Other reviewers liked it more.
Love in a Fallen City – Ellen Chang
Famous modern Chinese literature author offers insight into Chinese life.
The Terranauts – T.C. Boyle
1990’s Ecosphere experiment in Arizona imagined differently. Humans being humans.
I enjoyed nearly all the books reviewed here – that’s why I finished them!
My best wishes for health and happiness in 2018.