in Reading Notes

Books Read in August ’15

In order to gain a better understanding of how I choose what to read, I’ll be doing monthly recaps of the fiction and non-fiction books I finished, and why.

I changed jobs last month. Having to actually quit (instead of having the jobs end after a few months or a week or three days) is a rare experience for freelancers, so I cherished the oddness of it all, from the closed door diagnosing of my departure and relinquishing duties to recommending replacements and smiling through ice cream social speeches. Because of the timing (contract delays from the new job and wanting to give as close to two weeks as possible for the old) there was no break between them besides the weekend, so I didn’t have the blocks of time to read as much as I’d hoped, nor was it in the direction I’d intended. Some interesting reads, no doubt, but since I spent more time in the car getting to and from work, and to and from Northern California, those selections came from my action and adventure-packed audiobook queue rather than the quieter, design-focused list I’d set out to read at the beginning of the month.

The next month includes two weekends of travel, kicking off a new season of a talk show, and working with the Ukrainian team to update Connect A Book. I believe that those regular commitments will become the new normal, so the reading I’m able to do in this next month will likely be the standard through next May.


Nothing this month… again.


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing – My goodness. Despite hearing about how an Antarctic voyage can go so terribly wrong, my urge to go has not been tempered.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan – Equal parts delightful and powerful. There are no easy solutions to the food question, but understanding how food is produced helps us at least see our part in the equation.

Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired by Till Roenneberg – Not a guide on how to sleep better, necessarily – though with the book’s suggestions you could likely improve your rest noticeably – Internal Time highlights recent research pointing to just how our internal clocks work, and accompanies that research with clever examples.

The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon – This book is as much a dramatic history lesson about the evolution of Monopoly as it is an insight into the messy world of trademarks and patents for would-be lawyers.

Love Him or Leave Him But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab by Loni Love – I read this to be better prepared for the new job. As funny as the advice is, I was left wanting to hear more about Loni and her life.

If you have any recommendations of books to read, either based on the books above, or on your own experience, please let me know.

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