Don Hosek - Recent reading

I tend to be a voracious reader, and I read widely. This list has its origins in an old signature file which I would update periodically with the current book that I was reading. That gradually transmogrified itself into the current massive archive with brief reviews.

What I've been reading lately
Number of books read and reviewed each year
1995* (28)
1996 (47)
1997 (74)
1998 (61)
1999 (62)
2000 (27)
2001 (51)
2002 (60)
2003 (37)
2004 (36)
2005 (32)
2006 (46)
2007 (109)
2008 (78)
2009 (65)
2010 (68)
2011 (98)
2012 (129)
2013 (114)
2014 (101)
2015 (88)
2016 (82)
2017 (76)
2018 (11)
* Partial year
Scala by Example by Martin Odersky
[Finished 4 February 2018] It starts out pretty good, but some of the later chapters end up falling into the weeds of computer scientific jargon that ended up feeling like it’s more abstract than practical.

What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
[Finished 31 January 2018] I was expecting more about writing from this than I got. The running parts were a bit inspirational to someone who’s been an occasional dilettantish distance runner and I find myself wanting to try a marathon again, but I suspect this is unlikely to be in the cards for me.

The Annie Dillard Reader by Annie Dillard
[Finished 31 January 2018] An interesting cross-section of Dillard’s work, focusing largely on her creative non-fiction writing. The excerpts from An American Childhood were, to me, the best part of the collection but overall I found myself wishing I’d read Dillard sooner in my life than I had.

The Devourers by Indra Das
[Finished 26 January 2018] There was something about this book that just never geled with me. I had a difficult time settling into the narrative voice of the author and when I finally did, I found myself in many ways disappointed that the book relied so heavily on Western tropes for its werewolves (the primary shapeshifter characters of the novel are all European) and the rather earthy narrative did little to draw me in. Apparently, I was the wrong reader at the wrong time.

Dear America: Reflections on Race edited by Nicole Matthew, Amber Peckham, Jessica Dyer, Brad King and Elise Lockwood
[Finished 23 January 2018]

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress
[Finished 23 January 2018] It’s kind of nice, when a lot of science fiction is overlong tomes written by white dudes to find something slim and written by a woman. Kress has written an intriguing story that manages to be alarmingly prescient about the state of American politics and brings in a story that plays with ideas around genetics and scientific ethics.

Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust edited by Carol Rittner and John K. Roth
[Finished 17 January 2018] A bit academic, some of the biggest value was in the first-person narratives of victims (I don’t remember for certain now, but I think at least one narrative was from someone who didn’t survive Auschwitz). I’d love to have something that just compiles women’s narratives of the holocaust, but this at least offered some of that.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner
[Finished 16 January 2018] I’ve known about and avoided this book for years—decades really—after all, what could it possibly have to offer. It turns out the answer is quite a bit. Taking its lead from the Biblical book of Job, Kushner takes the stance that it’s not so much that God allows bad things to happen as that God, having set up the laws of the universe, is powerless to intervene (Kushner doesn’t allow for miracles). Overall, it’s a brilliant piece of theology and well worth reading.

Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor
[Finished 13 January 2018] While not every story meets its mark and it’s a weird mix of science fiction, magical realism and straight up realism, it’s a compelling collection of stories that helps make the case for cross-cultural reading.

Reactive Web Applications: Covers Play, Akka, and Reactive Streams by Manuel Bernhardt
[Finished 12 January 2018] A decent enough book, although it could have done with being less broad and getting into greater depth in its topics