Over the past three months, I have slowly but steadily read a good deal of books, never as many as I want but still making progress.
Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson: A very intersting look at the famed (T.E.) Lawrence of Arabia from a historical perspective. Not just Lawrence but three other main individuals that have a tremendous influence on the Middle East during WWI and to this day. A great read that shows how England and France bungled the entire region up and caused a good deal of the issues we face today.
Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. Liebling: The book came highly recommend to me but I did not care for it. Liebling treasured a good appetite as a prerequisite for writing about food, as his accounts of substantial meals (two portions of cassoulet, one steak topped with beef marrow, and a dozen or so oysters, for example) attest. For the poised, precise, literary, and humorous flavor of his writing, you need only crack open the book–any page will do.
A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card: A few short stories that take place around Ender and Zeck(a new character) who is a fundamentalist Christian.
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card: Finally the last book. Another series finished. Truly an incredible series (at least the core Ender and Bean books). This book takes place immediately following Ender’s destruction of the Formic race and his ‘exile’ as he travels to a new colony world and leads it. If you have read the other books in the series then this is a must read. Otherwise start with Ender’s Game. I am a completeist and had to read everything. I say that I will not read the Formic War series but I will probably breakdown and do so.
Octopussy and the Living Daylights by Ian Fleming: — Finally finished off the Bond series. Octopussy is a handful of short stories. Not quite as good as the full length books but I am glad to have finished the series.
The Beach by Alex Garland: This is one of my favorite books of all time, I truly wish I had read it while I was traveling during college. It is my second time reading the book. I read this a good decade or so ago, and it reminds me of the adventures I took when I was younger and makes me think about how I travel today. Traveling with my wife as a couple or with my daughter or as a family is so far removed from how I solo traveled through college and with friends. Perspectives are different. The biggest difference is in accomodations, traveling in Asia is still relatively inexpensive especially when you look at the level of service you receive compared to hotels in the United States.
Everything I Never Told You by Celete NG: I read this because it was one of Amazon’s top books for 2014 and it did not disappoint. I am stealing the following from the Amazon page for the book “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.”Truly a great book that can make you think about how you interact with your kids.
Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday: A very interesting look into modern advertising and how in many cases it is not that much different from 100 years ago. Ryan explains how American Apparel was able to become so popular and how he was able to manipulate the media and the blogging world.
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau: A good book, that I am glad I finally got around to reading but nothing ground breaking and nothing that caused me to act. If you’ve ever thought, “There must be more to life than this,” The Art of Non-Conformity is for you. Based on Chris Guillebeau’s popular online manifesto “A Brief Guide to World Domination,” The Art of Non-Conformity defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. You’ll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure.
On the Blog side I have been reading the back catalogue at:
and as always:
Revival by Stephen King: I am a huge Stephen King fan and I am just trying to keep up. There are a few of his older books I have not read but hopefully by the end of the year I am done reading all of his books.
The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking by Brendan Koerner: How can you not like real stories about hijacking and travel?
I need to finish Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Dimond. Struggling to get through it but one afternoon would do the trick.
All the LIght We Cannot See by Another Doerr: Another Amazon recommendation.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: This book sounds incredible: “n A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us.”