Monday, April 1, 2013

32 Books for March: 365 Books a Year Challenge

Another month and another set of books devoured.  You can find the full listing with additional information in my GoodReads shelf (and I just found out Goodreads was bought by Amazon...oy!)or just take a gander at the bottom of this post.  That's 98 books for the year. I completed 4 physical books which tells me I still need to work on that and I'm not sure that will happen between now and May given my schedule and different demands, but we'll see.  Of the 32 books, 19 were graphic novels which is by far by worse month in terms of total reading.

Johh Dewey's Experience and Education
My listening was lower than usual since I tackled two rather large books.  The Black Swan and Thinking Fast and Slow were cumulatively about 36 hours of listening which is a whole lot of listening but also highlights the nature of listening vs reading.  I listened to both books entirely, whereas if I were reading them there is likely passages I would have skimmed.  And there were definitely passages worth skimming.

So the highlights of this month?

Experience and Education by John Dewey

An "essential" for those in education, I made my way through this short book and can understand its importance within education.  It's rather disappointing that in the graduate program I'm in (in education) that we only read about it but never actually pick it up.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

As a colleague said, this is one of those books that becomes an essential text of certain academic fields and often quoted but rarely read.  I read it and can understand its value though as the product of an academic culture that has strongly internalized the ideas that he sets forth meant that the book didn't necessarily strike me as impressive as it appears to have been at the time.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb - The Black Swan

The Black Swan. The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

I began listening to The Black Swan in my car as I was finishing up Thinking Fast and Slow on my iPod.  They are deeply interconnected (and the authors regularly reference one another) so where one ends and the other begins is extremely hard for me to remember.  However, they were both powerful tomes on the nature of certainty, knowledge, and decision making.  In both cases, the authors do much to reconsider the ways in which we conceive of ourselves in the decision-making process that undermines "common sense."  I find this increasingly important and relevant because I often see the call to rely on "common sense" for something that usually requires anything but common sense.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I saw the film adaptation of over the winter and found it to be a very poignant book.  I had also heard a lot about it from different people within and around school about its popularity among youth.  Sure enough, I did enjoy and appreciate the nature of the book and the ways it tackles the challenges and sense-making that young adults grapple with as they try to find themselves.

Essential Warlock - Volume 1 by Jim Starlin

I'll say this was a rather large graphic novel--over 400 pages.  And truth be told, I didn't totally enjoy it.  However, Adam Warlock was one of my favorite characters when I first started reading comics (I started reading around the original launch of the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series and Warlock and the Infinity Watch) and this was a series I had never gotten to read in full despite trying to pick up everything that Warlock was in.  I enjoyed some of the gaps it filled but didn't lose myself entirely as happens with some stories.
Jim Starlin - The Essential Warlock Volume 1

Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match by Amy Webb

So this book is vying for worse book of the year (or the last few years--no wait, it's probably on par with Fred Saberhagen's The Frankenstein Papers).  As a person, I'm sure Webb is a decent person but the book she offers up about gaming the online dating world was anything but.  What she argues is that she gamed the system--but that only really works if you see winning as spending lots of money on dating websites, beauty treatments, wardrobe acquisitions, and personal training coupled with spending scores of hours collecting data, scrutinizing everyone (while missing the hypocrisy of one's own actions--e.g. getting mad at men for checking their cellphones but scuttling off to the bathroom to write friends and family emails with your laptop), and outright lying.  I kept through hoping she would redeem herself or call herself out--but it just got worse.

So here are the books of this month.

BOOKS

  • Salvador Dali: Conquest of the Irrational by Gilles NĂ©ret,
  • The Outdoor Survival Bible by Rob Beattie
  • Experience and Education by John Dewey
  • The World Reduced to Infographics: From Bodily Functions by Popularity and Five Reasons You're Not Fat Enough to the Sociopathic Nature of Cats and Repressive Society Ratings: Footloose to 1984 by Patrick Casey

AUDIOBOOKS

  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger When Life Gives You OJ by Erica Perl
  • The Black Swan. The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match by Amy Webb
  • Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America by Kevin Bleyer

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Spike: The Complete Series by Brian Lynch, 
  • Justice League, Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey by Geoff Johns
  • Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising by Adam Glass,
  • Spider-Man: Season One by Cullen Bunn
  • Hulk: Season One by Fred Van Lente
  • I, Vampire, Vol. 2: Rise of the Vampires by Joshua Hale Fialkov
  • Earth 2, Vol. 1: The Gathering by James Robinson
  • Essential Warlock - Volume 1 by Jim Starlin
  • Superboy, Vol. 1: Incubation by Scott Lobdell
  • Smoke and Mirrors by Mike Costa
  • No Place Like Home Volume One: Home Again by Angelo Tirotto
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians, Vol. 1: The Ring Bearer by Tony Bedard
  • Bad Medicine Volume 1 by Nunzio DeFilippis
  • The Culling: Rise of the Ravagers by Scott Lobdell
  • Grace Randolph's Supurbia by Grace Randolph
  • Spike, Volume 1: Alone Together Now by Brian Lynch
  • Catwoman, Vol. 2: Dollhouse by Judd Winick
  • Batwoman, Vol. 2: To Drown the World by J.H. Williams III
  • Valentine Volume 1: Ice of Death by Alex de Campi


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