My Most Recent Reads - August 2016

More books!  YAY!  August was a busy month of job switching, getting ready for the start of the semester and a lot of socializing and catching up with peeps.  But that didn't keep me from getting in some great books!

SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal

Word cloud of this blog post
So I first fell in nerd-love with Jane McGonigal when she performed a TED Talk and wrote her first book (Reality Is Broken).  SuperBetter is even better and there's also a great TED Talk to introduce it.  Or rather, if Reality Is Broken gave readers a well-researched argument for why gaming is an important part of our human nature, SuperBetter gives us the guide on how to actually make life more like a game and improve mental, emotional, physical, and social health.  She stacks the first half talking about the game she has devised (SuperBetter) and the research it has been built and tested upon.  For the second half, she breaks down how you can play the game on your own and with friends.  There is even an app and website you can log your gaming efforts into.  What I like so much about McGonigal's prose is that it is accessible and lively.  She's encouraging throughout for people to make even the smallest bit of progress to their goals.  Additionally, the ways to play the game she offers up are actually really smart ways of just improving one's life without having to start some dread and draconian regime.  If you want to change your life and have fun doing it, check out this book!

Great Courses: How Great Science Fiction Works by Gary K. Wolfe

I'm a sucker for programs from The Great Courses.  They are phenomenal primers on diverse subjects that provide listeners with a rich understanding of the topic.  This production only reinforced my positive experience with them.  Wolfe provides a complex and dynamic exploration of science fiction that traverses not just time but themes, styles, and formats of science-fiction.  He knows his stuff and the complexity of it but provides easy-to-follow lectures that trace out different ideas within science fiction (e.g. time travel, alien invasion, evolution, etc) and some of the most know works grappling with those ideas.  He also delves into issues of authorial influence, politics of the time(s), and the impact of publishing industry on the content.  The over 12-hours of listening slipped by and I landed at the end wanting to hear more and with a "to-read" list 100 pages long!

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


  • Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate by Ernest Boyer


  • Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz
  • The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing by Gavin Edwards
  • The Express by R.K. Howard
  • Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil
  • Delicate Men: Stories by R. Dean Johnson
  • SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games by Jane McGonigal
  • Captain America: Dark Designs Prose Novel by Stefan Petrucha
  • Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book by Paul Lopes
  • The Modern Scholar The Novel that Invented Modernity by Ilan Stavans
  • How Great Science Fiction Works by Gary K. Wolfe
  • Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup


  • Plutona by Jeff Lemire

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.