Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer Reading or Random Pickings from the Tree of New Non-fiction Releases

  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
  • The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance by Ed Ayres
  • The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
  • Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis
  • Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present by Max Boot
  • The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
  • The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
  • Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill
  • I War the Black Hat: Grappling with Villians (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman
  • The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by  Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

A good number of these books I heard about from either Fresh Air with Terry Gross,  The Colbert Report, or The Daily Show. Reading the last two books of Tregillis Bitter Seeds trilogy was a highlight of the summer. Ayres's book was an nice meditation on running, though I thought it got preachy with some of the environmental stuff. The Toobin books were ones that I have been meaning to read for quite some time. One thing I learned from Toobin was that one can park an RV at any Wal-mart parking lot with no questions asked (RVing is something Justice Thomas enjoys a lot).

I admit that Dirty Wars was fairly riveting and disturbing. I've never heard the term "vanillia" special operation forces before and Scahill is one brave man. Boot's book about guerrilla warfare was fascinating and a surprisingly fast read.

I think I don't enjoy reading Klosterman. The villian book was funny, I think.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring is coming

  • The Guerrilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers, the Green Berets by Tony Schwalm
  • Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces by Linda Robinson
  • Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
I admit that I forgot mention Schwalm's book in the last post. Both books about the Special Forces are very fascinating because both authors go into the evolving role of this Special Operations group. Aside from the cool war stories and examples of badassery, the books provide an insight of what it takes to earn the Green Beret. I found it interesting that the Green Berets and Peace Corps were both influenced by JFK.

Salt Sugar Fat is a pretty revealing book about the processed food industry. The Sunday New York Times magazine had featured an article based on the book that provides a nice glance of the book. It's strange to think that a lot of research has been done to take advantage of tendencies that human beings had developed over the centuries.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Late Winter Reading

  • Bananas: How the United Fruit Company shaped the World by Peter Chapman
  • Electrified Sheep: Glass-eating Scientists, nuking the Moon, and more Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese
  • Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The last two books were recommended by some friends in late February. I have to say that both books were good reads. Bitter Seeds's take on World War II was intriguing. Prayer was a powerful book about faith and I felt some similarities with the title character.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Beautiful December

  • Half Empty by David Rakoff
  • Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, An Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People who make this Country Work by Jeanne Marie Laskas
  • Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by  Paul M. Barrett
  • Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen

All four books, though very different from one another, offered something beautiful.  Whether it was an honest look at end of life or in-depth intelligence gathering, these books made December an interesting reading month.  Laskas's time at a gun store and the history of the Glock seemed pertinent  in light of the tragedy at Newtown.  I think Barrett did the country a favor by providing a primer of the gun control debate thus far. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

I went there

  • Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, The First Sixty Years by Geoffrey Nunberg
  •  Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
Maddow's Drift was pretty interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mostly Spring and Summer 2012

  • Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes
  •  Again to Carthage by John L. Parker Jr.
  • Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.
  • The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • That Used to Be US: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
I also revisited some books I've read before like David Eddings's three book Tamuli series. The best book I revisited was Stewart Smith's The Complete Guide to Navy Seal Fitness. I first checked this book out nearly 13 years ago when I was trying to prepare for the Naval Academy's PFT.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rocky Mountain Reading: A Retrospective of 2011

I'll cut to the chase and list the books.
  •  Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
  • The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris by Peter Beinart
  • When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris
  • Squirrel seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris
  • Reefer Madness: Sex, drugs, and cheap labor in the American black market by Eric Schlosser
  • The Perfection Point by John Brenkus
  • Super sad true love story: A novel by Gary Shteyngart
  • The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War by C.J. Chivers
  • The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the making of a Navy Seal by Eric Greitens
  • What it is like to go to war by Karl Marlantes
  • In the graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth Jones
  • The Savage Sword of Conan by Michael Fleisher (multiple volumes)
  • Reading of Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity by Elaine Pagels
  • Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick
I want to say that there a few books missing from the list. However, my reading had been sporadic throughout 2011 with brief sojourns into books I read already.

A few of the books on the list started some interesting conversations with the librarians. When I checked out the books by Marlantes and Grietens, the librarian asked if I was interested in joining the military. I actually would give any kid considering military service a copy of Marlantes and Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun. Marlantes's book takes one into an exploration of uncomfortable and unsettling truths about war and the people fighting. I believe the book is one that civilians need to read.

When I was searching for some books by George Shannon, the children's librarian started giving me all sorts of recommendations of mind puzzle books for kids. If you haven't heard of George Shannon, then you check his books out. I could never remember the titles of his books (Stories to Solve and More Stories to Solve) or his name. His books are beautifully illustrated and a lot of fun to read.