Oct 21, 2018

Books read Q3 2018

Books I finished or dropped in the third quarter of 2018:

1. The Most Dangerous Man in America by Bill Minutaglio and Steven Davis
Account of Tim Leary's escape from a California prison and subsequent escapades with the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Fast-paced & fun.

2. [didn't finish] I've Got the Light of Freedom by Charles Payne
History of the Civil Rights movement focusing on grassroots organizing in Mississippi. Very good, thorough. I didn't finish as it felt like I was hitting diminishing returns.

3. An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi
Cute, useful, and short. Available online here (a).

4. Watchmen by Alan Moore
Pretty mind-blowing, much better than the movie.

5. [didn't finish] The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman
Meh. Transcribed dialogue of Jeff Bridges chatting with Zen priest Bernie Glassman. About as charming as it sounds but I got tired of it halfway through.

6. Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
Excellent history of the War on Drugs. Emotionally difficult to read, at parts. US drug policy is one of those areas where the closer you look at it, the worse it seems.

7. [didn't finish] Encountering Naturalism by Thomas Clark
Pamphlet put out by the Center for Naturalism. I already agreed with most of its arguments, so I wasn't really the intended audience.

8. The Fellowship of the River by Dr. Joe Tafur (audiobook)
Doctor grows disillusioned with the American medical establishment & begins training as an ayahuascero. Part memoir, part manifesto for shamanic medicine.

9. [didn't finish] How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb
Pop-sci packaging of psychological findings about well-being. Seemed pretty sensible; most of the material was review for me.

10. [didn't finish] Giraffe by J. M. Ledgard
Sleepy novel about a Czech scientist charged with caring for a shipment of giraffes. Interesting premise & style, but didn't capture me. Ledgard's Submergence is better, has the same sleepy style.

11. Fear by Bob Woodward (audiobook)
Woodward's Trump White House book. Good, the last part revised my opinion of Mueller.

12. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Memoir mixed with gender theory. I liked it, made me want to read more Nelson.

13. [didn't finish] The Mystery Guest by Gregoire Bouillier
Neurotic French novella, black humor. Pretty fun, but it didn't capture me so I didn't finish it.

14. Sapiens by Yuval Harari
The best macrohistory I've read so far. Some favorite passages: 1, 2, 3

15. [didn't finish] The Up Side of Down by Megan McArdle
One of those pop-sci / self-help books that pushes a "counterintuitive" thesis about how to live a good life. In this case, "failing well is the key to success." Bought this in a moment of weakness whilst on Amazon; didn't get anything out of it.