Bookshelf

  1. Currently Reading:
    Cover of Swag

    Swag

    by Leonard, Elmore
  2. Cover of Oil!

    Oil!

    by Upton Sinclair
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Oil!

    by Upton Sinclair
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    I really enjoyed reading Sinclair's The Jungle when I was in high school, but had never yet gotten around to any of his other works. Then a few years ago I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant and chilling There Will be Blood, which I learned is loosely inspired by this novel and its seemed like the perfect excuse to get back to Sinclair's work.

    The first thing I have to report is that the writing is superb. Lovely prose, fantastic structure, characters you can believe, sardonic humor, and messaging that is (almost) never heavy handed. I mention messaging because this book is all about capitalism versus labor (and socialism and communism). Written a hundred years ago, all the big questions it asks are still shockingly relevant today. How do we know who's version of events to believe? Where is the line between getting things done and cheating the system? How do you find balance when your beliefs are opposed to those you love most?

    It's a very long book, but one that kept me hooked the whole way through.

  3. Cover of Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

    Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

    by Edward Slingerland
    ★ ★ ★
  4. Cover of The Brothers Karamazov

    The Brothers Karamazov

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    ★ ★

    The Brothers Karamazov

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
    My book club chose this one to read and I was relatively interested to see how Dostoyevsky’s work stands up to my high school memories of Crime and Punishment and fragments of The Grand Inquisitor section of this book. The answer is not so good. The book is rambling in the extreme and most of the plot involves around a quasi-incestuous, middle school style game of he-said-she-said romance melodrama. It does explore philosophical themes, but the central question of whether a person can be moral without faith seems to me (as a humanist atheist) to be pretty well answered and not particularly germane to contemporary readers.
  5. Cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    by David Grann
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  6. Cover of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

    Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

    by Paul Woodruff
  7. Cover of Krampus: The Yule Lord

    Krampus: The Yule Lord

    by Brom
    ★ ★ ★
  8. Cover of A World Lit Only by Fire

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    by William Manchester
  9. Cover of Dark Places

    Dark Places

    by Gillian Flynn
    ★ ★ ★
  10. Cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

    Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

    by James W. Loewen
    ★ ★ ★
  11. Cover of How Long 'til Black Future Month?

    How Long 'til Black Future Month?

    by N.K. Jemisin
    ★ ★ ★
  12. Cover of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

    Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

    by Dava Sobel
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  13. Cover of Chronicle of a Death Foretold

    Chronicle of a Death Foretold

    by Gabriel García Márquez
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  14. Cover of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

    Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

    by Steven Pinker
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  15. Cover of Alias Grace

    Alias Grace

    by Margaret Atwood
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  16. Cover of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

    How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

    by Michael Pollan
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  17. Cover of A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)

    A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)

    by Vernor Vinge
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  18. Cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

    The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

    by Jonathan Haidt
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  19. Cover of Station Eleven

    Station Eleven

    by Emily St. John Mandel
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  20. Cover of The Shape Of Things To Come

    The Shape Of Things To Come

    by H.G. Wells
    ★ ★ ★
  21. Cover of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

    The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

    by Lewis Dartnell
    ★ ★ ★
  22. Cover of The Underground Railroad

    The Underground Railroad

    by Colson Whitehead
    ★ ★
  23. Stories of Your Life and Others

    by Ted Chiang
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Stories of Your Life and Others

    by Ted Chiang
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
    One of the most amazing and thought-provoking collections I have read in a long time. Ted Chiang has joined the ranks of my most cherished authors of fiction.
  24. American Gods (American Gods, #1)

    by Neil Gaiman
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★