March Reading Update

I was happy that by then end of February I already had read 8 of the 36 books I plan on reading in 2015. The good pace continued in March as I read 6 more.

My two favorites for the month were non-fiction: Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Kolbert’s book is an eye-opening argument that we are currently heading toward another extinction phenomena, one caused by human activity. It is an unpleasant but important read. Cain’s work is a great exploration of what makes introverts tick. As one myself, her study resonated with my experience. I learned about this book because of her fabulous TED Talk.

I also read Andrew Weir’s The Martian, which I was rather disappointed by. Given the hype surrounding it, I had high hopes. It excels in the technical details surrounding the survival of Mark Watney who gets abandoned on Mars. But the book is so focused on the mechanics of Watney’s survival and on the process of an attempted rescue that it foregoes any character development. All of the characters are one-dimensional and only serve to advance the plot. A movie is being made and I think this is one case where the movie might be better than the book. The plot is exciting and I would think the filmmakers would be inclined to add a few things (a love interest or more involvement of the main character’s family) to make it more emotionally engaging.

At the beginning of the year, I had taken advantage of an Amazon deal for some of “The Best American” titles. Earlier, I had read The Best American Essays 2014, and, in March, I also read The Best American Short Stories 2014. The stories were selected by Jennifer Egan. I’ve read and loved two of her books, Look at Me and, of course, A Visit from the Good Squad. True fact: I was once in the same room with both her and Justin Cronin back when Justin worked at La Salle University and brought her in for a reading before they both became the superstars they are now. Anyway, the Best American Short Stories is a stellar collection. Among my favorites were Peter Cameron’s “After the Flood,” Nicole Cullen’s “Long Tom Lookout,” Joshua Ferris’ “The Breeze,” and Laura Van Den Berg’s “Antarctica.”

Rounding out the month were Bryan Lee O’Malley’s magical graphic novel Seconds and E.M. Cioran’s bitter and strangely amusing The Trouble with Being Born.

March Reading Update

March Reading Update

I finished 14 books by the end of March:

March Round Up

Because I often write in various places, I’ve decided that I would like to create an index of sorts every month to help keep track of what I’ve done where and of other things I’ve been working on. So for March 2015: