Originally Published: 2020-01-03
Originally Published: 2020-01-03
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Closed out 2019 with a total of 78 books read, probably the most in a single year for me in a while. Aiming for 104 in 2020!
- The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making, Jared Yates Sexton: while this book is good, I felt it was much heavier on memoir material than practical discussions of toxic masculinity - perhaps a fault of my relatively uninformed expectations for the book based on the title.
- Socrates In Love, Armand D’Angour: presents a somewhat heterodox biography of Socrates, though if you’re already familiar with the majority of the ancient biographical material synthesized you may find much of it already familiar. I think the major issue is the length it takes to reach its purported central thesis (the identification of Diotima from Plato’s Symposium as being Aspasia) as well as the overall brevity of this argument, as discussed in this BMCR review.
- Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, Edward Niedermeyer: the book’s subtitle is accurate, and this is a well-written (and in my opinion quite fair) history of Tesla Motors. If you want to read beyond Elon Musk’s hype, read this.
- Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie: the second book in Leckie’s “Imperial Radch” Sci-Fi trilogy, this didn’t grab me quite as much as the first. For some reason it struck me as feeling more like an extremely long Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode or Mass Effect 2 Citadel mission.
- The Third Reich in Power, Richard J. Evans: finally got back to this one after taking a two year break, since I had gone straight into it after Evans’ first “Reich trilogy” book and it was just a little too much. These books are essential reading if you want to understand the actual history of Nazi Germany.
- This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone: a nice, energetic, humanistic piece of Sci-Fi that thankfully doesn’t get distracted by bogging itself down in time travel conundrums.
- How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Kiese Laymon: an excellent memoir, Laymon writes powerfully and well about difficult issues.
- The Ultimate Christmas Cracker, John Julius Norwich: this is an edited collection of Norwich’s “Christmas Crackers”, annual compilations of selections from his commonplace book which he would send out to friends around the holidays. Some good and surprising things in there, though I was most surprised to stumble across an apparently spurious quote attributed to Martin Luther included by a historian like Norwich.
- 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, Eric H. Cline: a good, relatively concise read on the complex factors that lead to the Bronze Age collapse.
- Kudos, Rachel Cusk: the final book of Cusk’s Outline trilogy, I felt like this was a strong return to form after the relatively weaker second entry. Excited to read more of Cusk’s work in the New Year.
- Stoicism for a Shitty World, Sententiae Antiquae
- 6, 94: Got Ice 9’d, Charlie Loyd
- Learning Greek, an interview with Seumas Macdonald, Fletcher Hardison
- Plato got virtually everything wrong, Julian Baggini
- A List of Purchases That Changed My Life Exactly How I Imagined They Would, Dana Schwartz
- Dear Editor…, Neville Morley
- One Year Graded Septuagint Reading Plan, William A. Ross
- Just How Big Is Shen Yun’s Marketing Budget?, Samuel Braslow), Samuel Braslow), Samuel Braslow), Samuel Braslow
- Christmas for academics
- The Data Aren’t Worth Anything But We’ll Keep Them Forever Anyways. You’re Welcome., Bill Fitzgerald
- Benevolent Brutality: A Review of Latin for New Spain, Dani Bostick