July reading project progress report

I finished four books from the (updated) list in July.
You Are a Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Sherman Alexie
Hunger, Roxane Gay

I also read the introductory chapter of Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari. Given all the other things I want to read, I’m unlikely to finish this, but I did find the intro intriguing and well-written. If you’re particularly interested in post-human stuff or the ethics of biotechnology, check this out.

Books read so far: 17

% of year complete: 58.33%

% of challenge complete: 71%




General reading project update

I was just about to post saying I’m giving up the Amazon list project, since I’m interested in reading more recent books these days. Then Amazon announced their list of the best books so far this year (Jan-Jun). So I’m revising my rules to include any of those books as well as the 2016 best list.
In fact, I’ve already read 5 of the books on the list. So those combined with the 8 I’d already done of the original project puts me at 13. And I’m partway through the book on the eruption of Mount St Helens, which I plan to finish. So that gives me 10 more to read from the new list.

Books already read this year from the 2017 list:
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir, by Ariel Levy
Unshakable, by Tony Robbins
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden
Hard Hitter, by Sarina Bowen

Books read so far: 13

% of year complete: 50%

% of challenge complete: 54%

March book report

This month I finished two books:

Miss Jane: A Novel, by Brad Watson
The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Books read this month: 2

Books read so far: 7

% of year complete: 25%

% of challenge complete: 29%

February book report

I didn’t finish any books on my list in January, so I guess it was a good thing I started in December! I finished one book in February and have a couple more in progress.

This month I finished Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, by Lee Smith.

Books read this month: 1

Books read so far: 5

% of year complete: 17%

% of challenge complete: 21%

A little pre-reading (December progress report)

Happy New Year! I’ve had some time off recently and have been able to get cracking on my 2017 book list before the year even officially started. I finished these books on the list in December:

My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir, by Chris Offutt

My grade: B. Compelling, well-written, but certainly not to everyone’s taste.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, by Mary Roach

My grade: C. Normally I really enjoy Roach’s books, but I felt with this one she was reaching too hard for humor, which seemed particularly jarring given the subject matter.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

My grade: A-. Thoughtful and full of details, this book told the stories of families in poor areas struggling to get by, and the economic policies that affect them.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family, J. D. Vance

My grade: D. My dad recommended this to me, and I got to discuss it with him over the holidays. He and all of my extended family on both sides are from Appalachia, so I’ve spent a lot of time there. Vance’s family story certainly is dramatic, and he told his personal story effectively. But he didn’t convince me that the experiences that he had were particularly emblematic or representative of the area. It’s not that there aren’t a lot of problems there, some culturally self-inflicted, but I didn’t think his particular argument held water.

I just realized that all of these are non-fiction. Whoops. I’ll add in some novels next month, I promise!


Books read this month: 4

Books read so far: 4

% of year complete: 0%

% of challenge complete: 16%

The 2017 book list

Happy solstice and best wishes for a great holiday season, everyone.

I’ve decided on my book challenge list for next year. It’s winnowed down from the Amazon editors’ Best Books of 2016 list, which includes both fiction and non-fiction. I picked books that interested me, with a few stretches that I ordinarily wouldn’t have chosen. There are 24 books on my list, down from the original 100. Here they’re still in Amazon’s order, with the best book of the year at the top.

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family, by J. D. Vance
The Nix, by Nathan Hill
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond
The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, by Mary Roach
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick
Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul, by James McBride
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens, by Steve Olson
My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir, by Chris Offutt
Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, by Lee Smith
A Hundred Thousand Worlds, by Bob Proehl
Miss Jane, by Brad Watson
The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore
Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives, by Tim Harford
A Torch Against the Night, by Sabaa Tahir
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith
Everyone Brave is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave
Monstress Volume 1: Awakening, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers, by Terry McDonell
Now: The Physics of Time, by Richard A. Muller
Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters
This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society, by Kathleen McAuliffe
Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown, by Gerri Hirshey