This week Bookends will just be two books, since I spent most (10 hours!) of Thursday driving to my parents’ house for the holidays. Next time I must get some audio books, because otherwise I’ll spend the whole time wishing reading while driving was a viable option! Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys these reviews and has a wonderful holiday 🙂 Read more »
From the beginning, I could tell this book was going to be tough going. I’ve read several similar books attacking conventional wisdom, including Freakonomics (right before starting this project) and Wrong (reviewed here). Of the three, this book was by far the least conversational and most intellectual (ie most difficult to read!). The book took a lot of time to make a few simple points. There were also many chapters that started with anecdotes not clearly related to the subject of the book. This gives the disorienting sensation of having walked into a room and realizing you don’t remember why you decided to head to that room in the first place! Read more »
Yesterday I was in the library for twenty minutes and left with 9 books. I even know how it happened. First, I was just going to pick up a book in the 003’s (Systems) and the 004’s (Data Processing and Computer Science), so I did – easily grabbing just the one book which stood out to me in each section. Then I thought, surely my blog readers would like to hear a little about why I picked the books I did and it should be easy enough to write about the very few other books available. Read more »
Current Fiction Readings
I found the most awesome website this week, called lendle.me, which allows kindle users to lend each other books! Courtesy of some other very nice “lendlers” (as the site calls us), I was able to read both Catching Fire and Mockingjay this week, finishing the Hunger Games trilogy. I was planning on waiting for my monthly free book which I can borrow as a member of amazon prime, so I was thrilled to be able to read them sooner! I’ve even been putting off starting other fiction books so I wouldn’t interrupt my involvement in the series. Yes, I was that drawn into it. Read more »
I really enjoyed the way The Man Who Loved Books Too Much was written. The author’s style was very conversational and she did a nice job of blending descriptions of her own experience with those of her two “main characters” the book dealer/detective and the thief. I really enjoyed her attempts to understand why so many people love and collect rare books, including dabbling in collecting herself. As she concludes, a lot of people build an identity out of the books they collect. For that reason, I very much enjoyed her descriptions of the collectors she met, the sort of books they collected and the the reasons for their collections. The book was definitely less of a thriller or a mystery than I though it might be, but there were a few moments of tense anticipation and certainly lots of curiosity about what might happen next. As Erik Larson said in his own review, it really was “the author’s cozy, quiet style” which kept me turning the pages on this one. I felt like a friend was relating a story to me. Read more »
Section two is a very meta section, containing only books about books. I expected this section to be horribly dry to get through, with many books of books reviews and recommendations. But I was pleasantly surprised to find many interesting books about the history of books and the value of reading. In fact, I hadn’t looked very far before one book in particular caught my eye: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession. How fun! A true story about a crime of passion – a passion for books. I have high hopes for this one!
One book down, only about 998 to go! Wrong – Why Experts Keep Failing Us And How To Know When Not To Trust Them was a really interesting a read, a good start to the project 🙂 What shocked me most in the book was the finding that 2 in 3 high-end research papers are later refuted by other papers! As someone who will probably cite other scientists work a lot and perhaps pursue time-consuming projects based on this work, I found this kind of terrifying. Read more »
Bookends is going to be a segment of this blog at the end of every week, where I’ll write a little about books other than those I’m reading for the project. This will include books in a number not chosen, books I’ve already read for a given number and fiction books I’m currently reading. I also feel I should preface this post with the disclaimer that I really am under 25 years old and that the use of words like “hokum” and “humbug” will probably be unusual in this blog, although they do both appear in this post! Oh, another disclaimer… At the end of every post, there will be a summary of the book reviews in the post, in case you don’t want to read my ramblings to get them 🙂 Read more »
My first thought looking at this section was to wonder if I’d wandered into the fiction section by mistake! Who knew that tales of chasing Sasquatch and interviews with politicians about government contact with aliens were categorized under 001 in the Dewey Decimal system? This category also included some collections of interesting facts and other books pertaining to the categories official label, “Knowledge”. Strangest of all was a book about “the allies of humanity”, which you can view here. It looks incredibly bizarre, but I might have to add it to my reading list since I don’t want to judge it too harshly until I’ve given it a chance.
For now, I’ve decided on an interesting looking book entitled “Wrong” and subtitled “Why Experts* Keep Failing Us – And How to Know When Not to Trust Them”. As a hopeful scientist-to-be, I think this could be really worthwhile read. I don’t know if I will agree with the criticisms in the book, but either way I’ll learn something! If not mistakes to be avoided than certainly something about public misconceptions about science. Starting out, I anticipate a little of both.
For those of you wondering what happened to 000: Having just finished my undergrad degree in computer science, I couldn’t bring myself to read more computer books for fun! So at least for the moment, I’m planning on skipping zero, but perhaps I’ll come back to it later.
I’ve been thinking about starting some sort of fun challenge for a while now, since the necessary parts of my life seem to be under control (for the moment, at least!). Then at the library last night I realized that I was checking out all non-fiction books, which is pretty unusual for me. Perhaps less strange lately, when I’ve been getting my fiction-fix on my kindle, but still odd. I also think its really worth while to know a little bit about a lot of topics, just to broaden the way we think. So, for both of these reasons, I am starting yet another challenge-based website (although I don’t promise there won’t be the occasional off-topic post just for fun). So…the challenge. I will be doing a Dewey Decimal challenge, but instead of reading by decade (which is already being done at this blog) I will be reading one book for each number between 1 and 999. I actually discovered the first Doing Dewey project when trying to use their url. So much for originality, right? However, I plan on making the project my own. As well as reading a book for each number, I’ll also be adding activities for some of the books I read, including the obvious ones like crafts and cooking but perhaps also visiting museums or traveling for other sections. So, welcome to the Dewey Decimal Project! We could be here a while, so feel free to stick around 🙂