Books Read in March

Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, by E. M. Berens

After reading Stephen Fry’s take on this genre, it was refreshing to read a more classic take. Highly recommended. I was fascinated by this kind of stuff when I was young. Is adulthood mostly us trying to recapture those days?

Despair, by Vladimir Nabokov

I wrote about it here.

Books Read in February

I signed up for Scribd this month and the selection is such a nice change from Kindle Unlimited. The number of books I read this month shot up as a result. I had a similar experience the last time I used it too. Reading on the small phone screen is the only drawback.

I also went to my favourite book store (Blossoms) after nearly a year. So a great month overall.

The Enchanter: An Adventure in the Land of Nabokov, by Lila Azam Zanganeh

An exquisite love letter to Nabokov’s works. Emulates his luminous, mad style very well.

Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk

Our great depression is our lives.

Reread this. Immensely quotable book.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli

A light overview of physics. Does not go too deep so might be good for folks who are dipping their toes in this genre.

Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living, by Fumio Sasaki

A light look at the minimalist movement from a Japanese blogger.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made, by Jason Schreier

Somehow this was more forgiving than I expected, of the grind and hell folks in the videogame industry go through. The author hand waves it away as something people do out of sheer passion. I can understand that from the small indies working away for years on a tight budget, but I wonder if that holds true for the entire industry. Nevertheless this was an interesting peek behind the curtains of game companies small and large.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein

Well this was preaching to the choir as I consider myself a bit of a generalist. Most of the book quotes success stories, which makes for nice reading but I guess if you look for something you’ll always find examples supporting your cause.

The larger point is that we don’t know what we want to do unless we try it, so the general recommendation is to sample widely and not be afraid to be a late bloomer.

The Tangled Lands, by Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias S. Buckell

Four short stories by the two authors, all centered around a world troubled by poisonous brambles that grow and spread whenever its people use magic.

I’ve read and liked Baciagalupi’s dystopian science fiction before.

Books read in January

Anabasis, by Xenophon

“Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks. I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta!” — Buck Mulligan in Joyce’s Ulysses.

“Warriors, come out to play-i-ay.” — From the movie The Warriors.

Well I didn’t read it in the original Greek but I finally read this book. It’s nice when you finally read something that has such a rich cultural history and you see all the influences it has had.

Books read in December

Here is what I read this month:

The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt

Reviewed here. I liked this book quite a bit.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

I have fond memories of this book: I won an abridged copy as an award in school, way back in IInd standard. So I was not ready for how BIG the original version is. So most of this month went in reading this enjoyable revenge tale.

Books read in November

All books this month were on my kindle, which has really made it convenient for me to read. My time is usually early in the morning for about an hour, and late in the evening after dinner. The backlight helps.

Most importantly, I’ve started Joyce’s Ulysses, which is like my white whale. I’ve made several attempts to read it in the past few years but never finished a chapter. But this attempt has been the best so far. I’m at chapter 3 right now and intend to finish this book in December.

Circe, by Madeline Miller

Lovely book from the author of The Song of Achilles. This one’s about, as you’d expect, Circe, who features in the Odyssey.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob), by Dennis E. Taylor

Pretty decent. Reads a bit like Star Trek fanfic at times so I don’t know if I’ll continue the series.

Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures, by Leona Toker

A detailed look at several of Nabokov’s books. A few weren’t fresh in my memory but this is always a fruitful area to get lost in.

The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse

Comfort reading. I got this and several other books from gutenberg. I like classics that have stood the test of time any way.

Books read in October (and a new Kindle!)

My new Kindle

After a spot of reader’s block in the first half of this year, I’m almost back to my old reading frequency these days. After rearranging my bookshelves recently, I realized I didn’t have much space to stock new books.

To try something different I invested in a 10th Gen Kindle. It is really nice! It is very light and also comes with a backlight so I can read pretty much anywhere / anytime. The display is really something.

So this month was a good mix of exploring Kindle Unlimited, buying some ebooks, and clearing some of the backlog from my dead tree collection. The /r/suggestmeabook subreddit was a nice place to get recommendations. Here is what I read:

The Dead, James Joyce

A short and bitter-sweet story.

Mythos, by Stephen Fry

Has his trademark light-hearted air which is really nice sometimes and a bit annoying some other times. Not sure if I’ll continue the series.

I am going through a Greek history/mythology phase right now after having put 80+ hours in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. So Madeline Miller’s Circe is next in my list.

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanidhi

An exquisite book. Not an easy read (emotionally), but so lyrical. Sticks with you long after you read it.