So one of the things I’ve been trying to do this year is read more. I’ve never been opposed to reading, but my issue is that it always seemed to take me a lot longer to read than other people. Part of that is I often go through phases where I’ll read four several hours a day for a week, a month, three months…and then not read for an equally long time. Again, not because I’m opposed to it, just because, well, reasons.
But reading is like a lot like other activities: the more you do it, the better you get at it. So that’s what I’m trying to do, read more. Unlike a lot of others posting their reading lists I’m not out to get a specific number, or a specific genre. I’d like to just, well, read more.
So here’s where I stand:
What I’ve read:
- Dracula, Brahm Stoker – I actually started it last year when we were in St. Thomas, but only finished it this year. So I guess it still counts. For anyone who hasn’t read it this is possibly one of the best written books I’ve read. The entire structure is made up of the journal entries from the various characters interspersed with telegrams and newspaper articles (a quick search reveals that this is called an epistolary novel). This gives a much more real feeling to the world as you get different points of view from every character. Additionally, unlike other Dracula adaptations the majority of the book is set-up for the sudden and quick action sequence that ends before you realize it began. While this might sound like a let down, the build up is so intense that once it’s over there’s a sense of relief commensurate with that the characters appear to be feeling. Overall a fantastic read. One that I imagine I will pick up again sometime in the future.
- Fire and Furry: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff – I believe that this is actually the first ‘current events’ book that I’ve read (that wasn’t required reading in a class). I picked it up for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that, like it or not, our political landscape has been changed (and likely would have been regardless of the election outcome). Now it’s no secret that Michael Wolff has a, shall we call it, a checkered past. However, that almost seems to help him in this case. Regardless of which side you’re on, we’ve all been bombarded by an unprecedented about of news and stories from inside the current administration. While there is a lot of speculation and critics may call in to question the accuracy of some of the facts, I believe that the overall picture it paints fits neatly with everything that’s already public knowledge. Oddly enough, the one major criticism I had at first—Wolff’s over use of the double dash parenthetical (or as NEdwards put it a pairemdashithetical)—turned out to add a bit of chaos in following his train of thought which sat nicely with the overall goal of the book. It also helps the reader to realize how smart the author is when, as a way to make himself seem even smarter—and to be honest the most important part of a tell-all-book is that we know how smart the author is—throw in some extra comma type clause statements that, if nothing else, let you know that he is, in fact, like, super smart.
- New Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko – The fifth book in Lukyanenko’s “Night Watch” series. Lukyanenko takes all of your magical favorites (witches, mages, wizards, prophets, vampires, dark wizards, werewolfs, etc.) and plunges them right in the middle of modern day Moscow. The basic premise of the series is that there are Light Others and Dark Others with Light Others manning the Night Watch (to make sure the Dark ones say in line) and Dark others manning the Day Watch (to keep tabs on the Light). Together they work to maintain the balance between light and dark. There are also two movies, Night Watch and Day Watch that are actually quite good. Though they share the names of the books they’re actually more loosely based on the first two parts of the first book. They still keep the gritty feeling of the series which works in their favor.
What’s in the queue:
- Sixth Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko – The sixth and ostensibly final book in the Night Watch Trilogy.
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey – I’m not generally one for ‘self help’ books, but this was recommended to me awhile ago by Andrew. I don’t expect that it will suddenly change my life, but as I’ve gotten older, particularly as my career has progressed, I have realized that it can never hurt to open an eye or two.
- The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton – The movie (not that AMC ‘remake’) has been one of my favorites since I was young. Despite this I’ve never actually read the book. So I figure it’s about time.
- Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt – This was recommended to me by a coworker at my last job. I started into it last summer, but then got distracted, as often happens. So I figure I’ll take another go at it. Schmidt’s basic premise is that professionals lack control over the political aspects of their jobs and therefore lack control over their creative work (that is if they want to say employed) thus creating a feedback loop of disaffected professionals. At least that’s where I think he was going it. I’ll let you know what I find out.
- Ratio, Michael Ruhlman – Recommended by several people a while ago. I’ve been intending to pick up this book for a long time. I quite enjoy cooking and would love to improve even more.
So that’s all I have at the moment. I would absolutely love recommendations. Particularly in the area of histories, biographies, or memoirs as those are genres I’ve read the least of.