Engineered Eloquence

Think Critically, Write Things Down, Repeat

2017 Reading List

In Progress:

  • Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Upcoming (to-be-read, up to 10):

  • Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Little Sister by David Hewson
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  • The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
  • Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Completed:

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • Excellent. The book almost literally brought me back to philosophy courses in high school and college; I found I enjoy deeper meanings in whimsy.
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
    • Better in some ways than the movie, almost verbatim in others (perhaps to a fault). The pacing is strange at times, but adds to the comedy. I liked getting to know the backstories of our favorite characters that are somewhat glossed over in the film and the prince is still a pompous ass, but comes across much more intelligent and maniacal, leading to more intense feelings of fear and distaste of him.
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo
    • I read the book and followed along with the movie out of curiosity, which is something I’ve never done before. Since Mario Puzo was the author of the book and the screenplay, it is unsurprising that they are almost verbatim most of the time. The book plays with the passage of time more and gives credence to the years that take place in its storyline, something I think is glossed over in the film. Given the year the film was made, however, reading the book made me realize the almost silliness of the death scenes in the movie, given Puzo’s attention to detail and the unrealistic tendencies of the onscreen blood at the time.
  • The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization by Richard W. Bulliet
    • The most interesting thing about this textbook is that I am sure I have read some of it before; I took an Islamo-Christian Studies course in college. However, I got much more out of it in this reading because of the current state of political affairs. The book was written in 2004 and speaks of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden as being current events, but the ramifications discussed call for a Tr*mpian political system whereby white extremists hold back religious peace with Muslims and the greater Middle East due to fear and islamophobia. Thought-provoking and prescient, this book challenged me to think through the current political and religious landscape through the eyes of history. The first chapter is enough to rile up such inner-turmoil and there are three well-written chapters thereafter.
  • The Killing by David Hewson
    • This is the first David Hewson novel I have read, though I have followed the man on Twitter for ages and enjoy his insights on all things. I wanted to read this one before watching the US version of the show, but frankly, the book made the story so vivid and realized to me that I quickly lost interest in watching the show. If there is a better way to praise a book, I don’t know it.
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    • This book has been on my list since I moved to Wisconsin three years ago and started hearing about House on the Rock. Add to that the fact that the show has become wildly popular, I wanted to read prior to watching it. All in all, this was an easy and enjoyable read. Neil Gaiman is a proven writer with prose that are both intellectual and comfortable to read. The character development was great within hidden meanings all over the place and a fine ending. Tries to have fun answering that perpetual Joan Osbourne question.
  • Romeo and Juliet: A Novel by David Hewson
    • This Audible Original audiobook gained a lot of attention in certain circles when it was first released. I was once into audiobooks a lot more than I am now due to the nature of previous commutes (i.e. driving to work versus riding the bus), but I am a reader at heart more than a listener. This book is available (at least as of now) in audio form only and, honestly, I could listen to Richard Armitage read all day long. All that aside, David Hewson has adapted other Shakespeare plays into novels before and the idea intrigued me enough to purchase this. In short, this is possibly the best adaptation I have ever read/heard. The idea of taking a classic work of this magnitude and making it better is no small feat, but going a step further to revitalize and expound upon it is amazing. And I love Juliet as a strong-willed, intelligent, and much more feministic character.
  • Quitter by John Acoff
    • My full review of this book is a blog post in progress, but the long story short: I read this book out of curiosity and got some information out of it if nothing else. I really like my days job and books like this are for people that think they are better suited for jobs other than what they do for a living”. John Acoff reads for the audiobook and his voice is charismatic and easy to listen to for long stretches of time, so that helps. I think he has a lot of good ideas, especially around what it takes to realistically follow a dream: don’t quit your day job on a whim; plan for your dream and execute properly. If anything, this blog is the thing that comes to mind as a dream, but writing is not how I would want to spend all my time.
  • Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
    • Periodically, I read an ebook and I have the audiobook as well. A really long time ago, I wrote about a potential killer feature of ebooks in general whereby I could read a book and then hit a button and the audio would pick up where I left off; I even suggested that Apple was uniquely positioned to sell a packaged deal to enable this type of functionality. Amazon ended up basically nailing this with Amazon Whispersync For Voice. Anyway, I read/listened to this book, as Chuck Palahniuk himself reads the audiobook. There is something about the way he read it that made a depressing book all that much more depressing. I suppose at the beginning of the book, he actually tells you not to read it (jokingly or not). I aim to read every book by Chuck Palahniuk during my life; he is just that good, starting with the epiphany that is Fight Club. Consider this book a parable of sorts that just happens to be about sex addiction.

Last Updated: November 22, 2017

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