What I’m Reading, July 2015

One day I’ll post these in a timely manner. My attempt to do so this time is why there are several books that haven’t been reviewed yet. They’ll go in the August update, but for now, here’s what I read in July.

The Silence by Nathaniel Ewert-Kroker: First, I know the author. That said, I did enjoy this book. It’s a fun story that writers in particular will appreciate. (4/5)

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh: This book is about half stories from the Hyperbole and a Half blog, half new stories. While I wasn’t really into a few of the stories, the rest made me laugh and feel so hard that this book was a treat. (4/5)

Manifest by Beth Dolgner: First, I’ve met the author. (She’s my friend’s roommate’s friend.) This story of a young science-loving girl was fun to read. I particularly like how the relationship developed with the love interest–realistic for a couple of steampunk science nerds in the 1800s. (4/5)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I had this book on my to-read list for awhile, and it didn’t disappoint. Albertalli does a great job of capturing the teenage voice, and reading the story of a gay teenager that wasn’t all negative was a great change. I finished the book on a Thursday and I was still eating Oreos and listening to Elliott Smith on Saturday. (4/5)

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku: I listened to this book, which was all about the human brain, what we’ve discovered so far, and how things that sound like science fiction (telepathy) aren’t really all that unrealistic. All in all a fascinating listen. (4/5)

Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault: Again, I’ve met the author. (Detecting a theme here?) This story features a unassuming young man who really likes his ramen and hot air balloons. He then finds himself going on an adventure to expose the conspiracy that drove his father away. I found myself losing track of things at some points, but that’s more due to my short attention span than the story itself. (4/5)

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings: As a geography wonk myself, I enjoyed reading this book. The author’s humor and ability to weave you through a tale of nerds and maps doesn’t hurt either. Now all I need is for my library system to carry the rest of his books as digital audiobooks. (4/5)

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris: I listened to this book, which details Sega’s rise and decline in the video game market. The story is mostly told through the eyes of Tom Kalinske, the CEO of Sega during much of the 90s. From there the story goes on to tell about the Sega vs. Nintendo (and eventually Sony) story. While I liked learning about all the little things that went into Sega’s rise, many of the characters were portrayed as business-hungry jerks, which put me off and almost made me quit altogether. (3/5)

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris: I mostly listened to this book because it was short and I was waiting on another audiobook. I’m an atheist and ex-Christian, so this short book was of particular interest. I agreed with a lot of the points made, particularly about the often-twisted morality in conservative believers, and Harris makes these points well. However, many of the people who need to hear these things aren’t going to hear them. All in all, this was a strong read that I wish were around during my early teen years. (4/5)

Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskold: I bought this book at a used bookstore in Charleston, intrigued by the title and the back cover. While this book does a good job at keeping my attention in the beginning and end, it lost me in the middle, leaving me to piece together what had happened. I enjoyed the premise and the main storyline, but many elements left me baffled, and not curiously so. (3/5)

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: This book is beautiful. A diverse cast, a story that kept me interested from the beginning, and strong writing and characters. This book is more of a 4.5 book than a 4, but unfortunately half-stars aren’t allowed on GR. Go read it. (4/5)

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson: I listened to this book, an essay collection on librarians. As with most essay collections, the quality varied widely. From social activism to Second Life, this collection provided a glimpse into the world of librarians that even bibliophilic me did not expect. (4/5)

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis: I was a huge baseball fan in the 90s and early 2000s. That combined with my love of math made this book a fascinating read. If you’re a baseball fan, or even just interested in applying stats to unexpected areas, you’ll like this book. (4/5)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Continuing on the know-the-author theme, I met Maggie Stiefvater at a signing in Atlanta last year (and met a Tuscaloosa ML!). This book took awhile to get into, but the characters (especially Puck) and the way the story tied the beginning and end together made up for anything I found slow or lagging. (4/5)

I also read eight Baby-Sitters Club and Baby-Sitters Little Sister books this month, all on my quest to complete the series. This puts me at 100 total books read in 2015 and just over 200 books to completing all the BSC and BSLS books.

2 replies on “What I’m Reading, July 2015”

Argh! Step away from Michio Kaku! He’s got a physics degree, but he’s found he sells more books by writing new-age Quantum Flapdoodle! At least please don’t take him seriously…

I heard the Fresh Air interview with Michael Lewis few years ago about his book “The Big Short.” You can listen or get the mp3 online (Fresh Air interview a LOT of interesting people). I’ve got the book but haven’t read it. It’s a fascinating story, a few people saw what was going to happen with the toxic mortgages and financial collapse, tried to warn others, and couldn’t believe they could actually get a deal selling short the companies! And yes, they got rich on the companies failing. I found it fascinating.

I’ve got the Sam Harris book but haven’t read it (see a pattern here)? He was part of the “Four Horsemen” discussion you can find on Youtube but I find it easier to read the transcript:

I almost didn’t finish Kaku’s book, primarily because it was a lot to take in by ear and the reader’s voice was really annoying. While it was fascinating to read (um, listen to, I guess), I’m not sure I buy his spacetime theory, although it does make for some interesting story ideas.

Thanks for the recs–I didn’t know about the Four Horsemen discussion or the Fresh Air interview. Harris did another book too, and LTACN was in response to all the responses he got to that book.

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