Tag: Books

2010, Books, Non-Fiction

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (2010) by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This is a far-reaching, thorough but page-turning history of cancer. It is a remarkably readable book and I have trouble imagining that I will read another history of cancer, at least for some time, simply because this one was so readable it’s hard to imagine another book about the same subject would be this “easy” …

Books, Fiction

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (1987)

So, first off, this is not the “complete stories” so that is a mark against this collection. There are both early stories and some later (I believe unpublished) stories that are in this. Still, it collects its most famous stories and a bunch of others.

1987, Books, Non-Fiction

The White Pass: Gateway to the Klondike

This is a readable and well-researched history of the building of the White Pass & Yukon Railway. As far as I know, this is Minter’s only book and it’s clearly a passion project. But it’s also the work of a non-professional. As such, it’s better than it should be but it’s also not necessarily a …

2006, Books, Fiction, Non-Fiction, TV

Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills (2006) by David Milch, David Samuels

For me, Deadwood is probably the second greatest English-language dramatic, fictional television show in the history of the medium. But it is also horribly under-watched (if not completely under-known). I have watched the show through at least 3 times and I still believe it’s kind of a marvel of combining big ideas with a compelling …

1931, Books, Fiction

The Glass Key (1931) by Dahiel Hammett

This is my second Hammett novel but I really don’t remember the first one. (I had to re-read review of it to remind myself what I felt and, even then, I really didn’t remember it.) Hammett is known as the king of American detective fiction but he’s arguably more of an influence with the aesthetics …

2018

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (2018) by Hank Green

I’m not really sure how I ended up reading this. I am a huge fan of Crash Course but I’ve never followed anything else they’ve done and I’ve always had zero intention of reading John’s novels. But somehow, this book showed up on my fiction pile. I must have added it to my list one day due …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

You Are Now Less Dumb (2013) by David McRaney

In many ways, this is You Are Not So Smart II with all that implies: it’s a similar catalogue of cognitive biases and heuristics that affect our ability to be rational, most or all of which you’ll here on the podcast.One major difference is the chapters are longer; rather than focusing on one bias every few pages …

2015, Books, Non-Fiction

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction (2015) by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

This is a fascinating book about how human beings can potentially get better at predicting the future and the types of people who are probably better at predicting the future. (Not pundits, I’m sure you’re shocked to hear.) I suspect I would have liked it more had I not already been familiar with Tetlock’s work.

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

You Are Not So Smart (2011) by David McRaney

I got this book years ago, when I still listened to this podcast. And the problem is that, due to this very podcast, I started reading a lot more pop psychology and psychology than I already was. And so, in the interim between this book coming into my possession and reading it, I learned a …

2016, Movies

The Memory Illusion (2016) by Julia Shaw

This is an extremely accessible and thought-provoking tour through all the ways in which the human memory is not as reliable as we all believe. Though, like many of these books, it does contain a bit of a Greatest Hits of psychological studies and cognitive biases, the focus on memory is usually clear enough to …

2018, Books, Hockey, Non-Fiction, Sports

The “Down Goes Brown” History of the NHL (2018) by Sean McIndoe

If you follow McIndoe on Twitter or you’ve read him at his professional stops since the original blog, you pretty much know what you’re getting here: quality hockey writing with jokes. However, if you’ve followed him since the blog you’ve likely heard some of this before. And if you’ve ready books about hockey (or read …

1934, Books, Fiction

Tender is the Night (1934) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Apparently I read this years ago and forgot. I wrote the following: “The same great qualities as with his other classics but lacking the completeness of The Great Gatsby. There are still moments of profound insight and lots of great description, but it lacks the earlier novel’s wholeness. I don’t mean to nitpick. It’s a great …

2020, Books

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World (2020) by Virginia Postrel

I have read way too many history books in my life. (Or not enough, if this book is any indication.) Few of them mentioned clothing (or any form of textiles) for any reason other than to paint a scene. The ones that did dwell on textiles at all, did so as part of bigger economic …

2010, 2015, Books, Non-Fiction

Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air (2010) by David J.C. MacKay

This is an excellent, detailed analysis of what we need to do to got sustainable. It is currently available online for free and I strongly recommend reading it.

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Fifth Risk (2018) by Michael Lewis

This is the first Michael Lewis book I’ve read. Admittedly, that’s pretty weird. I’ve listened to his podcast but somehow never read one of his books until now. And the reason I read this one first is because someone gave it to me, and I haven’t got his more famous ones from the library yet. …

1995, Books, Fiction

The Island of the Day Before (1995) by Umberto Eco

This is a weird one, full of all of Eco’s typical obsessions but lacking many of the things that make some of his novels classics or, at the very, least enjoyable. I have read just over half his novels now, and this is my least favourite by a considerable margin.

2021, Books, Non-Fiction

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (2021) by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is a well-written but maddening and saddening biography of the Sackler family, who are best known as the owners of Purdue Pharma and Purdue Frederick, i.e. the OxyContin people. It’s not really the story of OxyContin or the opioid epidemic, but rather just the history of the family. It’s a revealing story about how …

2014, Books, Non-Fiction

Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos (2014) by Jonah Keri

This is an entertaining and page-turning overview of the existence of the Montreal Expos. It’s clearly written from the perspective of a fan, which is both a good and a bad thing. But it’s also relatively measured in its assessment of why the franchise failed. There’s just one rather big problem hanging over all of …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (2018) by Adam Tooze

This is an exceptionally detailed and sourced book, that is also highly readable. It occasionally walks a fine line between history and a rant, however. (It never does, which is to Tooze’s eternal credit. And even if it it did, it would be a very well-informed one.) I worried about reading a history written literally …

1980, Books, Fiction

The Name of the Rose (1980) by Umberto Eco

This is a compelling detective novel set in a 14th century Italian monastery that doubles as a novel of ideas. I’d actually seen the Hollywood movie twice, once as a teenager – for some reason I watched it in High School – and once recently because I thought my girlfriend would like it. The novel …

2005, Books, Non-Fiction

The Great Mortality (2005) by John Kelly

This is a frustrating book, which I learned a lot from but also had me rolling my eyes way, way more than it ever should have. It purports to be a history of the Black Death but it’s a really a European history – maybe that’s a tacit assumption given the title – and there …

2009, Books, Non-Fiction

The Buyout of America (2009) by Josh Kosman

The problem with making big predictions in your book is that, when they either do not come true or only partially come true, you kind of look like an idiot. (I should say you “should” look like an idiot because we humans love to listen to people who’ve failed in their predictions time and again. …

1977, Books, Fiction

A Book of Common Prayer (1977) by Joan Didion

I’m in marketing. But I cannot for the life of me understand the cover of my copy of this novel, “published in Canada.” (Actually distributed by PaperJacks and published in New York. Anyway…) The cover tells me it’s “A story of passion” and there is an elegant woman’s hand in soft focus, holding a lighter. …

2019, Books, Non-Fiction

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (2019) by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is an excellent account of the disappearance of a mother of 10 during The Troubles and the surrounding context. My knowledge of The Troubles comes almost exclusively from films (mostly fictionalized) but Radden Keefe’s book gives a lot of context and history for someone like me who is pretty new to the subject.

1740s, Books, Non-Fiction

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) by David Hume

I have always encountered Hume in quotes and summaries. At some point, it to the point where I felt weird that I hadn’t ever actually read any David Hume, one of the most referenced/cited philosophers of his age and arguably one of the most important ever. (The same could be said of Spinoza, whom I …

1901, 1902, 1917, Books, Non-Fiction

Three Sea Stories: Typhoon, Falk, The Shadow-Line (1902, 1901, 1917) by Joseph Conrad

This is a collection of three pretty great Conrad novellas, the rather incredible Typhoon, Falk and The Shadow-Line. Though all three are not of the same quality, to show off many of the things that make Conrad great, including his ability to innovate and create tension at the same time. I sort of feel like …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman

S0, I made the mistake of reading The Enigma or Reason before I read this much more famous book. That’s a mistake because the central argument of The Enigma of Reason is that the dichotomy (or tichotomy) of the brain is an illusion, that it doesn’t fit evolution. Whether it was philosophers or current psychologists, …