Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Books

I have to say that 2013 was not a good reading year for me. Although I didn’t get through as much as last year, it wasn’t the quantity so much as the fact that I really didn’t enjoy many of the titles. This year, I resolve to put down a book that I’m not enjoying, something that I’ve only done once previously, with Nabokov’s Pale Fire (I couldn’t bring myself to read all those footnotes).

But humbugs aside, I’ve picked my Top 5 for 2013, and can wholeheartedly recommend each title. They are listed here in the order they appear in my 2013 library, although if I had to pick a book of the year, it would be the Gleick title:

Meticulously witty and insightful look at various aspects of life. The essay on grammar and usage is scarily brilliant.

Fascinating look at what it takes to succeed in various athletic events. Marathon runners are short and basketball players have disproportionally large wingspans. A nice counter (though still, I think, a complement) to Gladwell’s 10,000 hours.

Wonderfully witty series of short essays about life in Serbia and Serbs in general. Much better if you’ve lived in Belgrade, but enjoyable nonetheless, I’d wager.

Great writing about the history communication and data, from talking drums to DNA and the internet. I couldn’t put it down.

Heidi Postlewait,  Andrew Thomson
Must read for anyone who’s worked in developing countries, but also recommended for anyone curious about what Worldwide and I do, and whether it is a good use of taxpayer money.

Complete 2013 Reading List
The Executioner’s Song
Norman Mailer
Farewell, My Lovely
Raymond Chandler
The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions
Rolf Dobelli
Sleights of Mind: What the neuroscience of magic reveals about our brains
Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen L. Macknik, Sandra Blakeslee,
Dear Life
Alice Munro
Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays
David Foster Wallace
Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York
Luc Sante
The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters
Rose George
The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
David Epstein
Is Paris Burning
Dominique Lapierre, Larry Collins
An Intimate History of Humanity
Theodore Zeldin
Pulphead: Essays
John Jeremiah Sullivan
This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
David Foster Wallace
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who?s Been There
Cheryl Strayed
Tales from Ovid
Ted Hughes
How to Write for Children: And Get Published
Louise Jordan
Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation
Tyler Cowen
The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox
John Freeman
Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
A. J. Liebling
Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
Stefan Fatsis
Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900
Alfred W. Crosby
This Will Make You Smarter
John Brockman
The Magic of Belgrade
Momo Kapor
Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke
Rob Sheffield
Six Memos for the Next Millennium
Italo Calvino
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
Kathryn Schulz
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Paul Tough
A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius: A Memoir Based on a True Story
Dave Eggers
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
Edward B. Burger,
Michael Starbird
The Man In The Iron Mask
Ready For a Brand New Beat: How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America
Mark Kurlansky
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
Richard P. Feynman
The Mismeasure of Man
Stephen Jay Gould
A Guide to the Serbian Mentality
Momo Kapor
Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell On Earth
Kenneth Cain,
Heidi Postlewait,
Andrew Thomson
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data
Charles Wheelan
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative
Austin Kleon
Complete Serbian: Teach Yourself
Vladislava Ribnikar,
David Norris
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Neil Postman
Leo Tolstoy
Consider the Fork: A History of how We Cook and Eat
Bee Wilson
The Economy of Prestige: prizes, awards, and the circulation of cultural value
James F. English
The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
Notes From Underground
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Big-Time Sports in American Universities
Charles T. Clotfelter
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
Meredith Maran
The Book of Disquiet
Fernando Pessoa
Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte
The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square
Steven A. Cook
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Jim Ottaviani
One Fat Englishman
Kingsley Amis
The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane
College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students
Jeffrey J. Selingo
On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits
Wray Herbert
The Giver
Lois Lowry
Jane Austen
Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life
Adam Phillips
Summer Ball
Mike Lupica
The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction
Stephen Koch
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
Jonathan Haidt
End Zone
Don DeLillo
Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America
Jason Goodwin
The Moronic Inferno: And Other Visits to America
Martin Amis
The presidency of Calvin Coolidge
Robert H. Ferrell
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How successful people become even more successful
Marshall Goldsmith
World War One: A Short History
Norman Stone
White Guard
Mikhail Bulgakov
Pawn of Prophecy
David Eddings
Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
David Weinberger
A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube
Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
J. Maarten Troost
Travel Team
Mike Lupica
Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery (The Sports Beat, 1)
John Feinstein
When the Game Was Ours
Larry Bird, Earvin Johnson, Jackie MacMullan
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
Leonard Mlodinow
Everything That Rises Must Converge
Flannery O'Connor
Wild Things
Clay Carmichael

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