I've always been an avid, if slow, reader. To my great surprise, I ended up studying literature (along with CS) for my undergrad degree, which enriched my world in ways that would be difficult to quantify. I would read a lot more now if it wasn't for other responsibilities. I'm using this page to simply track what I'm reading and any thoughts about the books as a future reference for potential birthday and Christmas presents, and maybe you can find some value in these as well. I try to update it every once in a while...

In Progress

  • The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway - The Finca Vigia Edition by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Gulag Archepelago (Abridged) by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Audio) by Robert M. Pirsig

Completed Reads

Emily Oster

If you're going to read one parenting book out there, or use one book as a jumping off point, this is the book. We bought and were given enough books on childbirth, raising kids, childhood development, sleep training, etc. etc. that we could fill a shelf or two on our bookshelf. Most of them were, unfortunately, relatively worthless. However, Cribsheets, which a guy I work with recommended, was an absolute gem. Why? Primarily because it... read more

Isaac Asimov

I'm a definitely a fan of Asimov -- his creativity and prolificness is so impressive. The Robot and Foundation series' are certainly my favorites. I received The Gods Themselves from a bookseller I'd bought a collection of Hemingway's journalism from. He threw in a paperback of The Gods Themselves along with a couple other gifts (thanks @kayoulerarebooks!). I'd never heard of the novel, but the cover of the version he sent proclaims that... read more

John le Carre

I bought Le Carre's first Smiley novel on my Kindle while I was browsing around the Kindle store looking for something light to read at night before bed. I've always liked spy-type movies and shows (while living in Japan I watched every episode of Alias, which was available on DVD at a Blockbuster in a nearby city...I also hit up all episodes of the X-Files, but that's not quite as relevant), and had never picked... read more

Mark Boyle

I believe Audible recommended The Way Home to me because I'd previously listened to The World-Ending Fire, which is a collection of amazing Wendell Berry essays (which I can't recommend enough). The Way Home was quite a different exploration of technology and nature. The author, who is also a contributor to The Guardian, wrote the book (as far as I can tell) as a kind of journal of his exploration of giving up technology and... read more

Jeff Gothelf

I forget how I came across Forever Employable--I think I heard about it on a podcast at some point--but I bought it about a year ago and got around to reading it this past week. It's short, only 106 pages, and it's a very quick and easy read. The book is basically a how-to guide to creating a niche for yourself in whatever industry you believe can become an expert. The ultimate objective in this... read more

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

It is beyond my modest skill as a reader and writer to do justice to The Shadow of the Wind. Like a Russian doll, it was a tragic and beautiful series of stories within stories, though to me a rabbit warren might be a more apt description, as I found that I got lost in the different stories that Ruiz Zafón so deftly weaved together with characters seeming to meld together as I read.

I... read more

Tim Harford

I bought The Data Detective after listening to an episode of Harford's podcast, Cautionary Tales (side note: very enjoyable podcast), where he read a selection from the book. He'd hooked me immediately. In The Data Detective Harford, an economist and journalist, dives into the value, dangers, and history of statistics and big data, bringing in events and narratives (current and historical) to elucidate the points he's making,

It was a great listen. He dives into... read more

Andrzej Sapkowski

I love Sapkowski's stories and storytelling, and The Tower of Fools only supports that feeling. This one is a much bigger novel than any of the Witcher series novels (almost 600 pages), but it moves quickly and nimbly through a fun, if light, story based in the early 1400s in what is now primarily eastern Poland, overlapping into the Czech Republic and Germany. Like the Witcher books, there are too many slavic names, places, and... read more

Daniel Kehlmann (Author), Ross Benjamin (Translator)

I'm actually 3/4 of the way through Tyll, but I put it down and I'm not sure when or if I'll finish it up. The story is based "on the folkloristic tales about Till Eulenspiegel, a jester that was the subject of a chapbook in 16th century Germany" (Wikipedia). The novel is well-written and I loved diving into a realm of folklore and history that I have hardly any exposure to. The story... read more

Andrzej Sapkowski

Everything I've read thus far (short stories and novels) in the Witcher series is great fun! As I've alluded to previously, Sapkowski's story-telling is refreshing in a genre overpopulated with mediocre fare and I won't cover things I talked about in my previous review here.

In my opinion, one of Sapkowski's great talents is presenting the challenges of racism, hate, and other prescient culture issues in a way that is a lynchpin to the story... read more

Andrzej Sapkowski

So I had started watching the Netflix Witcher series when it came out, and I liked the potential of it, but the story was a bit lost on me. It was as if the series writers were trying to squeeze too much in to a short series and I gradually lost interest and didn't finish the season. Then I read a couple tidbits about the books (and the following the books had developed), so decided... read more

Clayborne Carson

I believe Dr. King is one of the most important, heroic figures in our modern history. His character, compassion, empathy, eloquence, and wisdom are, in my opinion, unparalleled in American history and he's certainly one of the people I most admire. It's impossible not to see the parallels between the challenges he faced during his lifetime and in today's national and global events, yet we lack leaders, nationally and internationally, with even a few of... read more

Elizabeth Kostova

My brother recommended The Historian to me. It's basically a modern Dracula story and it's really well done. Kostova tells a complex story, narrated through multiple timelines and points of view (much of the story in the mode of letters read by the narrator) and she does a very enjoyable job tying everything together. It's a fun, modern detective story weaving through the world of Dracula (this is NOT a vampire story, but rather a... read more

Albert Camus

I've always wanted to read Camus and as the Covid-driven social isolation escalated, I pulled The Plague off our shelf. And it was so goddamned good. I'd never ready any Camus before and I had no idea what I was missing. I've found the Nobel winners can be hit-or-miss in terms of actual non-academic readability but Camus' prose was so fluid I found it hard to put the book down at night. The story he... read more

Dan Simmons

So these two books were bizarre and awesome. But they're only really for people with certain tastes, and you really have to read both to get the story sorted out. But I loved them. Simmons studied literature and was an elementary school teacher before he became a full-time author and his love of the literary world is woven into the fabric of these stories. The format of Hyperion is based on The Canterbury Tales, with... read more

Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. was a great, fun read. I like a lot of Neal Stephenson's work but he has a tendency to slide into overly intellectualized details (I've tried to get through the first book of the Baroque Cycle twice now and just got bored...) and Nicole Galland's talents reign that in quite a bit and the result is a very fun, fast-moving story about time travel, witchcraft, and government corruption (of... read more

Ken Follett

I didn't finish Pillars...I've put it down and I don't know if I'll get back to it. It's a good story, definitely dark, but relatively well-written and fun to read. Follett keeps things moving well and the world he's created is rich and complete. The thing is, I just couldn't get into the story...It didn't hold me enough. I may pick it up again but it's just not what I'm looking for right now...

I... read more