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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Annie Dillard
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
Karen Russell
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Joshua Greene
The Wisdom Of The Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life
Luc Ferry

Alphabet Of Thorn

Alphabet of Thorn - Patricia A. McKillip Fun fantasy read. One of my favorite hobbies, learning languages, was an important part of the story, which was really cool. Characters were engaging, love interests weren't overly mushy and were in keeping with motivating character and plot. Occasionally I found some lines of truly lovely prose.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson The Jobs biography was tons of fun to read. Jobs' life was completely intertwined with a fascinating and exciting period in technology history, and Isaacson did an awesome job of bringing that period of history to life. The narrative felt special both because of the influence Jobs had on society, and because the man, himself, was so interesting. Isaacson narrated this biography as a story told to inform while entertaining. He had several major points to make about Jobs' personality and why those traits sometimes made Jobs great, and sometimes led him astray. I can't help but think that in the effort to make those traits clear to the reader, the complexity that is a human life was reduced just a little. In some ways Isaacson was less devoted to chronicling than to helping the reader make sense of Jobs. But there's no denying that his choice resulted in a compelling read.

Logic Made Easy: How to Know When Language Deceives You

Logic Made Easy: How to Know When Language Deceives You - Deborah J. Bennett This was pretty dense reading for me, but I did get a handle on several useful concepts. The book introduces some nuts and bolts of logic, but also gives context for what it teaches, explaining how a given topic fits into the history of logic and how the topic has practical applications for better everyday problem solving and communication. I found discussion of how language gets in the way of logical reasoning particularly interesting, and the examples of common reasoning errors were cool.

The Name of this Book Is Secret (The Secret Series)

The Name of This Book Is Secret - Pseudonymous Bosch, Gilbert Ford This book had a fantastic narrative style. I loved the way the author played with conventions of storytelling and played around with the fourth wall. This is one of those children's books that's fun for adults to read, too. We had a blast reading it out loud. Highly recommended for family story time.

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good - David J. Linden This book was mostly about addiction, and talked a lot about drugs. I was hoping more time would be spent discussing how pleasure functions in a healthy, positive way, and then also learning about the flip side. It certainly had a few interesting insights about addiction, but the interesting bits were few and far between.

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami Lovely, strange, and really captured the painful beauty of transitioning from teen to young adult. Having recently read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I was tickled to find some parallel themes and motifs in this earlier work. In contrast to the later Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood was less masterful and darkly magical. It was more a quirky mainstream, more tender in its treatment of characters, and created an offbeat sweetness I'll always remember.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul - Douglas Adams Fun in a sadly beautiful and very British sort of way. There's a pleasing harmony between the mundane and not so mundane things that happen to Dirk and Kate throughout the book, and the juxtaposition between Kate's reaction to these events and Dirk's is enjoyable. There is also a very artful harmony to the featured fantasy subject and the fantasy conventions used and abused throughout the story.

An Edible History of Humanity

An Edible History of Humanity - Tom Standage I didn't enjoy this as much as Standage's History of the World in Six Glasses. There were lots of interesting nuggets in this book, some were cool trivia about the role of food in various phases throughout history, other nuggets shed light on our perspective on food today, calling into question what is natural, whether negative feelings toward GMO's are justified, what is the actual environmental impact of becoming a locavore. These questions are very compelling to me, and I certainly think there's a lot we can learn from studying the past to better our view of the present. I'm just not sure how well organized and integrated these nuggets of info were between the different eras of history to form a coherent history or a coherent view of where we are today.

The Philosopher's Magazine (4th Quarter 2013)

The Philosopher's Magazine (4th Quarter 2013) - Jeremy Stangroom Some really engaging articles, and some that were only mediocre. I was really excited about the featured set of articles on privacy and surveillance after having just finished reading The Circle. Some of the articles touched on themes from the novel, so it was very timely for me.

The Circle

The Circle - Dave Eggers I'm glad I read this book. It was fun, it was relevant to the place I live and to my digital lifestyle. I find new technology very exciting, but I like that Eggers challenged whether or not certain aspects of our evolving digital lifestyles are positive by taking them to extremes in the laboratory of his novel, and exploring the outcome. The main character's conflicts and many aspects of the plot did a fantastic job of embodying the theme that Eggers wanted to explore. Unfortunately Eggers didn't always let his characters and conflicts speak for themselves. I felt like there were some exposition areas where we were hearing the author expound his opinions. I also felt that certain plot points tried so hard to express the theme that they lost touch with the characters and the story. For me the questions explored could have been managed in a less heavy-handed manner. That said, kudos for making the exploration, and overall a fun and engaging novel.

J'aime Pas Les Autres (French Edition)

J'aime Pas Les Autres (French Edition) - Jacques A. Bertrand Un peu d'humour, un peu de tendresse. Pas très profond, mais un beau livre, quand même.

Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1)

Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn I went into this book thinking it would just be an excuse to make beloved characters walk and talk again. While the book did scratch that itch, it surprised me by introducing some really intriguing new characters and situations, and it seemed like it was going to be an awesome adventure in its own right. I was left a little startled by the ending, which wasn't really an ending at all. Though I realize this is just the first in a trilogy, I still expect books within a trilogy to have a beginning, middle, and end. And this book just stopped abruptly without any significant conclusion.

Jim Henson: The Biography

Jim Henson: The Biography - Brian Jay Jones This was not a particularly well-written biography. However, Jim Henson is so interesting that helped atone for the biographer's writing style. The text was also filled with quotes from Jim and those who knew him, and I enjoyed those sections a lot. I grew up with Sesame Street and the Muppets, so I found this a very nostalgic read. I had happy tears in my eyes several times.

The Antidote

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking - Oliver Burkeman I don't think Burkeman wrote about anything I didn't already know in The Antidote. I did appreciate his perspective on anti-positivity. Combined with other things I was reading and experiencing at the time, some reiterations of concepts I already knew did hit home with me.

Plato: Euthyphro

Plato: Euthyphro - C. Emlyn Jones As always I thoroughly enjoyed Plato writing zingers for Socrates.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses - Tom Standage What an awesome book, a fascinating perspective on history. This is the kind of book that had me constantly badgering my husband to listen to the dozen cool new things I just learned from that day's chapter. Standage told a coherent history from hunter gatherer times to modern day, and it didn't feel at all like a stretch or an exaggeration. The drinks were effected by and had a definite effect on the course of history. Although I would have enjoyed lingering longer on the details of the origins of tea in Asia, I relished every detail and perspective that was included. Highly recommended for the wine or beer enthusiast, the coffee or tea enthusiast, the foodie, or those who want a fun way to get a better grasp on world history.