Apr 10, 2016

Books read Q1 2016

Books I finished in the first quarter of 2016:

  1. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
    A Christmas gift from a friend. I really liked this – the main character embodies a lot of what I find appealing about Christianity, and little of what I dislike.

  2. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (audiobook)
    Follows three people as they make the journey out of the Deep South as part of the mid-20th century Great Migration. Interesting, but largely anecdotal, so I took it mostly as entertainment.

  3. Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene
    The best thing I've read for highlighting the brokenness of everyday, common-sense morality. Mostly by way of comparative analysis of trolley problem variants ("trolleyology").

  4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Short and powerful. "The Dreamers." I haven't fully unpacked the term, but I suspect I'm one of them. Or some substantial portion of me is one of them.

  5. The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
    I'm growing fond of Tracy Kidder's writing, I might endeavor to read everything he's written. The Soul of a New Machine follows an engineering team at Data General Corporation (which apparently was a behemoth tech company in the 80s), on their quest to ship a new computer. Fascinating sociology of the personalities and environment behind the creation of a new computer.

  6. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild (audiobook)
    History of the Belgian Congo. Not pretty, but worthwhile. File under the "Case studies of how terrible people can be towards each other" category.

  7. Deep Work by Cal Newport (audiobook)
    A manifesto for a theory of how to be a productive knowledge worker. This has been influential on my thinking; I have implemented several of Newport's ideas in my day-to-day routine (daily scheduling and time tracking, blocking out long periods for focused worked, conducting a weekly review of how things are going relative to your goals).

  8. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
    Beautiful book, playing with form. Poem and commentary entwined.

  9. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
    Entertaining, though long. I got a bit tired of it during the final third.

  10. My Struggle – Book 4 by Karl Ove Knausgaard
    Karl Ove graduates high school and heads north, to take a teaching post at a school in a fishing village (a quirk of Norwegian culture: 18 year olds without training could become teachers to 13 year olds, at least in the 1980s). Good, as all the previous volumes have been. 18-year-old Karl Ove is very focused on sex.

  11. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
    A pair of sisters are eventually placed of under the care of their vagabond aunt. Good, though I liked Gilead more.

[rereads: 1, edits: 0]