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Books I’ve Read (2019)

Only the ones I remember. The sands of time, have claimed the rest.

Wanted all my stuff down here, since I haven’t used Library Thing or Goodreads in a long, long, while.

They’re in no particular order, and not all good.
Just that I read them.
I’ll start putting the new ones, up top, with links to the book-notes if I write them.

November

  • That Will Never Work, Marc Randolph
    (a little itty bitty story about the birth of Netflix.
    It’s a really fun read (in the vein of Shoe Dog) by the man who birthed the company and then gracefully stepped aside when it came time to let it fly the nest.)

October

  • Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins
    (absolutely must read. Lindy read.
    My second Lindy read in a month! I must be really lucky.
    I’ve been fascinated by David, ever since I read Living with a Seal.
    This book reveals the mental mindset behind his superhuman feats.
    If you’re wondering who David is, this will help.)

  • The 33 Marks of Maturity, Brett & Kate McKay
    (absolutely must read. Lindy read.
    this book is short and packed with wisdom, about what it takes to be, well, mature.
    in the real adult mature sense.
    it reads like your dad or your older brother talking you through life’s truths)

  • Our Magnificient Bastard Tongue, John McWhorter
    (must read. this was one of the best and funniest pieces of non fiction I have read in a while.
    if you are curious about why English is the way it is, this book provides a few answers.
    here’s a quote, “German, Dutch, Swedish, and the gang are, by and large, variations on what happened to Proto-Germanic as it morphed along over three thousand years. They are ordinary rolls of the dice. English, however, is kinky. It has a predilection for dressing up like Welsh on lonely nights.”
    McWhorter is funny, and insightful)

  • The Perpetual Beginner, Dave Isaacs
    (Music maestro Dave, has a lot of advice for folk like me;
    the beginners who cannot seem to get over the beginning hump, the ones who do not yearn for mastery, just the ability to be fluent enough to translate what they hear in their head into notes on the guitar.
    worth a read.)

  • The Revelation Space Omnibus, Alastair Reynolds
    (fun read. this kept me good company as I lie in bed sick.
    it’s an awesome world to lose yourself in, taking you as it does across thousands of years of space and time.)

    • Chasm City
    • Redemption Ark
    • Absolution Gap
    • Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
    • The Prefect
  • Retire Inspired, Chris Hogan
    (good read. another Dave Ramsey title.
    I reread this just to keep myself on track.
    i may not have money now, but i know what to do once I reinvent myself)

  • The Greatest Trade Ever, Gregory Zuckerman
    (the story of how John Paulson, saw the subprime bubble and made a killing.
    If you liked The Big Short, you’ll like this.
    Not Michael Lewis level writing though)

  • The Odessa File, Frederick Forsyth
    (there’ll probably be a whole lot of Forsyth after this one.
    all of them, must reads.
    Forsyth is the master of his genre. fuck that. he practically owns the genre.
    Nazi war criminals have been hounded because of his fiction!
    and like Caro, he is the master of his craft.
    you know how he develops his characters, you kinda know how it all works, but every new novel is still fun.
    and for me, I am on my umpteenth reread of his work.
    and I enjoy myself even now after all these years.)

  • The Deceiver, Frederick Forsyth

  • Avenger, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
    (my first Forsyth novel)

  • The Fox, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Kill List, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Fist of God, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Afghan, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Cobra, Frederick Forsyth

  • Icon, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Biafra Story, Frederick Forsyth
    (Forsyth at his journalistic best.
    a beautiful, haunting, empathic recounting of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war from the Biafran point of view.)

  • The Outsider, Frederick Forsyth
    (lots of life stories compiled.
    not quite an autobiography.
    more like a drunk uncle telling awesome stories of his life.
    (all of which happen to be true, however fantastic they sound.))

  • The Proximity Principle, Ken Coleman
    (another book from the Dave Ramsey stable.
    more common sense advice.
    this time for your career.
    worth a read)

  • Forever and Ever, Amen, Randy Travis
    (it’s always sad, when you discover as you grow older, that your heroes are only human and your idols have feet of clay.
    I’ve listened to every Randy Travis album ever since my cousin brother gifted me Storms of Life all those years back.
    And it seems strange that for all I learnt about life from those songs, the baritone who sang them, did not.
    I learnt from those songs and became a man. Randy stayed a man child.
    It’s a raw book. Randy lays his life bare.
    It’s funny, poignant, cautionary and uplifting.
    And there’s the names and people parading through his life
    I did not know the Terminator gave Randy fitness tips.
    Or that Dirty Dancing Swayze sang backup vocals for him.
    definitely worth a read if you are a country music fan.
    It’s a portrait of a flawed life yes, but also a life filled with lots of love and friendship and music and devotion and faith.)

  • The Body, A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson
    (Bill is a guide. The best kind there is.
    He tells it like it is. and tells it pithily and funnily.
    Be it the evolution of English, how our homes came to be, or just a history of everything, Bill has done it all.
    This time he tackles a new frontier. The human body.
    From head to tail, err … toe, Bryson explores every part of the human body.
    And as usual it is exceedingly awesome.
    Sample this, “Although Funk coined the term “vitamines,” and is thus often given credit for their discovery, most of the real work of determining the chemical nature of vitamins was done by others, in particular Sir Frederick Hopkins, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 1929—a fact that left Funk permanently in one.”
    You will learn lots and laugh lots.
    Go read.)

  • Morgan’s Run, Colleen McCullough
    (I don’t know why, but this is the one of the few pieces of modern fiction, I re–read a lot.
    Probably because Richard Morgan, the protaganist is a stoic hero.
    And I love the Stoics.
    It’s all about how Australia and Norfolk Island (the focus of the story) got settled, by the riff raff England did not want.
    About how they struggled.
    About how they made the most of the very meagre natural resources at the time.
    I kept hoping against hope that she’d write a sequel, because I so wanted to know more about this part of history.
    It’s a lovely read. A lose yourself in history book)

September

  • Everyday Millionaires, Chris Hogan
    (must read. but only for folks like me who are a little slow with money.
    it’s a typical Dave Ramsey book. short. to the point. all meat, no bones. lots of stories.
    the book itself is an exploration of their study of 10,000 millionaires in the USA. no, she does not own a fancy penthouse. she is more likely to be a high school teacher in her early to mid fifties.)

  • The Veteran, Frederick Forsyth
    (must read. found my old copy and reread it.
    this is a collection of 5 novellas of varying lengths, each with a twist you don’t see coming.
    The Veteran is classic Forsyth.
    My favourite, Whispering Wind, is Forsyth trying to do a L’Amour and coming within striking distance. Old western, time travel and reincarnation; this one has it all)

  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage, John McWhorter

  • The Revelation Space Omnibus, Alastair Reynolds

    • Galactic North
    • Revelation Space

August

  • Ultralearning, Scott H Young
    (must read.
    if you are looking to tackle something foundationally important, this book gives you one solid approach.
    it’s mostly common sense.
    but common sense that is laid out in a really logical manner.
    i learnt to plan my project, that hard learning is normal, that failure is normal, and that persistence is a prerequisite.
    all critical things, since learning no longer “comes naturally” to me.)

  • Memories, Lang Leav
    (must read.)

  • The Universe of Us, Lang Leav
    (must read. Leav writes beautifully haunting poetry)

  • Dissent on Aadhaar, compilation, Reetika Khera (editor)
    (must read. this insightful, erudite read, tackles the various issues of Aadhaar on multiple levels, with multiple experts from various fields, voicing their concern.
    if you want to know, why Big Brother is Bad Business, why Aadhaar is a bad idea and what its fallout c(w)ould be, this is the book to read)

July

  • Love Looks Pretty on You, Lang Leav
    (must read. in my imagination, leav is a talented younger sister, who has been through a lot more and writes her advice just for me, in her poems)

  • Working, Robert Caro
    (if you haven’t read the Power Broker, you should
    if you haven’t read the Lyndon volumes, you should
    this book is Caro’s account of the work, that went into those works.
    the ceaseless toil, the thankless years, the people and their stories
    Caro is Caro, master of the craft.
    There are only a few explicit lessons here.
    but plenty if you care enough to read between the lines
    plenty if you make this an annual read, like i will)

  • The Broken Earth Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin
    (if you love fantasy, this is an absolute read.
    world building at its finest.
    The journey she takes me on! The magic she creates! The world she imagines!
    It’s such a harsh world, but gosh darn it, I want to live there.
    Jemisin’s awesome.)

    • The Fifth Season
    • The Obelisk Gate
    • The Stone Sky
  • The Inheritance Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin
    (This was Jemisin’s older trilogy and it shows.
    The language is rougher and the characters drag on a bit
    Minor quibbles though. It was a really good read)

    • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
    • The Broken Kingdoms
    • The Kingdom of Gods

June

  • The Song of the Bird, Anthony de Mello
    (absolutely read. buy and give people copies.
    this book for me, goes beyond a quake book.
    it has shaped my life, and thoughts, since boyhood, subconsciously then and with intent now.)

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Poirot #1), Agatha Christie
    (re-reading my way through the Poirot canon.
    these books take me to the age I think I belong to, the late 1800s, early 1900s
    absolutely delightful)

  • Epigrams on Men, Women and Love, Honoré de Balzac
    (beautiful set of quotes)

  • Mother American Night, John Perry Barlow
    (a man who lived life. founder of the EFF and the FSF.
    and more importantly (to me), lyricist for the Grateful Dead)

  • Word by Word, Anne Lamott
    (must listen (it’s an old audiobook.)
    excellent companion to Bird by Bird.
    imagine Anne teaching you how to write using BbB as a text book.
    she’s awesome.
    the book’s awesome.)

  • Indian Love Poems, Peter Pauper Press
    (absolutely loved it)

  • Love Poems and Love Letters for All the Year, Peter Pauper Press

  • Flower Thoughts, Peter Pauper Press

  • Thoughts for a Good Life, Peter Pauper Press

  • Epigrams by Oscar Wilde, Peter Pauper Press

  • Murder on the Links (Poirot #2), Agatha Christie
    (need i say, you ought to read it :))

May

  • The Great Mental Models, Shane Parrish
    (the first of a soon to be multivolume work.
    must read times a hundred.
    this book teaches you how to think.
    and how to do it well.
    have i said it’s a must read? you must read it.)

  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman (must read. scarily charming.)

April

  • Keep Going, Austin Kleon
    (must read. new annual read. timely. beautiful quotes. hugely inspirational)

  • Chocolate Wars, Deborah Cadbury
    (must read. as a child growing up in the shadow of the large Cadbury factory, near home, Cadbury has always fascinated me. i still remember their school tours where we could go see how the chocolate was made and come home with a couple of bars of Dairy Milk. the factory is now shutdown, and the tempting aroma of chocolate no longer fills the air. this book delves into nearly 200 years of Cadbury’s (as well as its contemporaries) history. a lovely nostalgic throwback to a more innocent, more generous age.)

March

  • Titan’s Wrath, Rhett C Bruno

  • Never Grow Up, Jackie Chan
    (charmingly mistitled, because it is all about Jackie growing up, albeit a little too late. beautiful notes of apology and gratitude to the people in his life and of course, being Jackie, loads of hilarious stories)

  • Company of One, Paul Jarvis

  • Titan’s Son, Rhett C Bruno
    (something to get my mind off studies. the series is still fun)

  • Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport
    (must read. short. an in-depth practical treatise on getting out of the clicky, clicky, swipe, swipe circle of digital death i was in. found it really helpful)

  • Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi & Tal Raz
    (good read. if you’re an introvert like me, this is a good stepping stone to help you get out there.)

  • Thinking in Bets, Annie Duke
    (must read. short treatise on how you need to think probabilistically and divorce your efforts and your work, Arjun-like, from their results)

  • Titanborn, Rhett C Bruno
    (short fun read. in the vein of Asimov’s detective stories)

January & February

  • The City & The City, China Miéville
    (slow burn, good read)

  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    (my annual read, of one the few books that changed my life … and made me fall in love with reading all over again)

  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
    (new annual perennial read)

  • The Warren Buffett Shareholder, compilation, Lawrence Cunningham & Stephanie Cuba, editors
    (annual read, short, fun and total catnip to me)

  • How To Become a Straight-A Student, Cal Newport
    (must read. if you are a school or college student or learning something new)

  • The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, Miguel León-Portilla
    (must read. beautiful literature. reads like the book of Lamentations, with the Aztecs as the Jews and Cortés as Nebuchadnezzar II)

  • Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It, Gabriel Wyner
    (must read. amazing book. ties up everything i learnt about learning (spaced repetition, mind maps, immersion) into an amazing, fun process with a neat little bow. will use what i learnt to learn french later in the year)

  • Boundaries, Henry Cloud & John Townsend
    (must read, with the caveat that it has a really strong conservative christian bent)

  • The Walking Drum, Louis L’Amour

  • Last of the Breed, Louis L’Amour

  • Education of a Wandering Man, Louis L’Amour

  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, Stephen Greenblatt
    (must read)

  • I’ll Be There for You, Kelsey Miller

  • Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), Scott Rieckens
    (must read)

  • Meet the Frugalwoods, Elizabeth Willard Thames
    (must read)

  • The Three Secret Cities, Matthew Reilly
    (fast paced fun)


Want more? Here’s what I read in 2020, 2018, and older.