Like last year, I kept track of what I read this year. And like last year, I’m going to tell you what I thought, whether you’re interested or not. Here’s the first half of the year. The second half will come later.
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (30 Nov 2005 - 18 Dec 2005) To be perfectly honest, I no longer recall any of the details of this book. I apparently enjoyed it enough to finish it, but not enough to give it any more than an average score. I vaguely remember that it was an interesting read, but was about 100 pages longer than necessary. Note to self: Write book reviews in vivo next year.
Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter (22 Dec 2005 - 21 Jan 2006) This book was one of the most enlightening I’ve read in a long time. Although I was alive for a little more than a year of his administration, I have no recollection of it. In fact, in the political atmosphere I’ve been aware of (essentially the past five years), the idea of a deeply religious southerner who is intensely liberal and libertarian has seemed like a fairy tale.
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (5 Jan 2006 - 9 Jan 2006) My sister-in-law, Shaun, gave me the comic book just a few months before the movie came out. And I’m glad she did, because the book’s plot is deeper and its philosophy is far more Anarchist. I might be willing to go so far to say that it’s a totally different message with a fairly similar story.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (28 Jan 2006 - 4 Mar 2006) If I had to suggest one book to read based on my list from this year, I wouldn’t be able to. But if I was allowed to suggest two, this would be one of them. It’s somewhat amazing to hear that there were likely more people in the Americas than there were in Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 15th century. Corn was mankind’s first GMO. Oh, and learn the dirty politics behind Squanto aiding the pilgrims.
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos (12 Jan 2006 - 28 Jan 2006) This is another book I can’t remember. I was waiting for an interlibrary loan, and had to kill some time.
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About by Mil Millington (10 Mar 2006 - 28 Mar 2006) As I said in January, Mil Millington’s humor is canonical English. Dry and sarcastic, but also silly and exagerrated. This book gets wilder as the main character’s life spins beyond his control, but I smiled through every single page. Absolutely strongly recommended.
GÃ¶del Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (3 Apr 2006 - 22 July 2006, holy cow) This book took me forever. To be perfectly honest, I skipped a couple chapters in the middle and at the very end. His discussions about mathematical language systems and especially Gödel’s incompleteness theorem are invaluable. They reminded me a lot about one big part of school I miss: true theory.