Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland: A Romance of Many DimensionsFlatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read in July of 2010, but it's one of my favorites so I wanted to share. I originally read this book because Kevin referenced it while making fun of me in Things My Wife Complains About #14: Stairs. It's a lovely allegory about a stairless world! It's also interesting from a mathematical and scientific perspective.

*The digital version is available for free on Amazon for Kindle (and other places online): Flatland: a romance of many dimensions. But warning: this version is missing the illustrations and those are pretty awesome.

View all my reviews

Reading Resolutions 2014

Last year I discovered that it's a little tough for me to read more than about 24 books a year, so this year I wanted to steer myself in the direction of the books I most want to read.

First of all, I will be rereading Kevin's short story collection that comes out this year: We Were Flying to Chicago.

Obviously, the reason I started this blog was to encourage myself to read my dad's books, so I want to make it a priority to read his five favorite books this year. I've already read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, though it was many years ago, so I'll reread it. Gravity's Rainbow is going to be super hard. I might dip into some of the extra picks if I can't get through any of the main books.

Dad recs:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (read)
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter
The Shining Mountain by Peter Boardman
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Extra:
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy by Douglas Adams
The Decay of the Angel, Spring Snow, and The Temple of Dawn by Yukio Mishima

I also asked Kevin for some of his favorites. Obviously this is a tall order for someone who studies and loves literature as much he does, but he gave me the following. I very recently reread Gatsy, and read Jesus' Son and Invisible Cities, so I'll need to read the three on his extra list too.

Kevin recs:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (read)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson (read)
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (read)
Extra:
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munroe
Esther Stories by Peter Orner

I also asked my friend Michele because she reads a lot, my list needed a feminine perspective, and in the past I've enjoyed her recommendations.

Michele's Recs:
Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushde

Extra:
Anything by Richard Russo or Isabel Allende

So that's about 16 choices...

Wild Cards:
I want to finish The Tempest by Shakespeare (because I already started it), and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon because a bunch of people on my Facebook recommended it. I want to finish reading or rereading my stack of baby-related books before my second baby is born. And I want to read the Game of Thrones books because FUN. I might reread some of my favorites (The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson) or throw in some non-baby non-fiction (to be determined).

If I manage to get through all that, I can either read whatever I feel like or just start working my way backwards through the list of recent Pulitzer Prize winners.

Pulitzer Prize in Fiction:
2013) The Orphan Master's Son by Johnson, Adam
2012) No award... Finalists:
          Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
          Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
          The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
2011) A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (read it)
2010) Tinkers by Paul Harding
2009) Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
2008) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2007) The Road by Cormac McCarthy
2006) March by Geraldine Brooks
2005) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson,  (I really want to read this one)
2004) The Known World by Edward P. Jones
2003) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (read it)
2002) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
2001) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
2000) Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Review

In trying to decide how to pick my books in 2014, I decided to make this list of books I read in 2013 to get a feel for what happens when I have no plan. Here's my breakdown.

My favorite novel I read this year was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark because of its psychological component. I would recommend it to everyone. My favorite nonfiction book was Poor Economics, not just because of its application to the developing world but because of its applications to all political and social problems everywhere. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is pretty amazing itself, and might be set an inspirational tone for the new year if you haven't read it already.

Novels:
House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, 12/30/13
Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perišić, 9/8/13
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, 7/24/13
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, 7/17/13
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, 6/16/13
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, 4/30/13
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, 2/27/13

Short Story Collections:
Pastoralia by George Saunders, 11/27/13

Sci-Fi:
Galaxies Like Grains of Sand by Brian W. Aldiss, 10/4/13

Trashy Reads:
Pledged by Alexandra Robbins, 11/5/13
The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-up by Dan Zevin, 11/4/13
The Magician King by Lev Grossman, 4/28/13
The Magicians by Lev Grossman, 4/6/13
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, 3/28/13
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, 3/25/13
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 3/4/13

Nonfiction:
Poor Economics by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, 5/9/13
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 4/8/13
The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty, 3/24/13
How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett, 1/5/2013

Baby-related Non-fiction:
NurtureShock by Po Bronson, 11/26/13
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, 11/6/13
From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds by Alexander Tsiaras 11/3/13
Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis 11/1/13
What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, 10/30/13
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, Toni Weschler, 8/9/13



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