Fall 2014 Reading List

  • The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive (Brian Christian): Probably could have been 30% shorter and said the same things, but not terrible.
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, And The Making Of A Medical Examiner (Judy Melinek & T.J. Mitchell): Possibly my favorite book on the list.  Melinek tells of her years as a medical examiner in NYC, which included the aftermath of 9/11.  Not for the queasy, but great for those interested in learning about a less-hyped branch of medicine.
  • The Explicit Gospel (Matt Chandler): I read this at the beginning of every school year to remind myself what matters.
  • Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol (Ann Dowsett Johnston): Johnston discusses the cultural and biological aspects women and drinking via the lens of her own journey through alcoholism.
  • Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationship (David Levy): Vaguely interesting, but mediocre writing/reasoning full of odd logical leaps.
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (Jenny Lawson): Almost too NSFW for me, but I still found myself laughing out loud every few pages.  I guess it was still worth the read just as a brain-rot book.
  • A Severe Mercy (Sheldon Vanauken): Not quite my type of book, but I liked it more as I went on.  Vanauken writes through his journey into faith, of interest to many because of his friendship with C.S. Lewis.
  • Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir (Eddie Huang): Also definitely NSFW, but full of blunt, hilarious, and at times painful truths about the experiences of many Asian immigrant families, particularly those in the restaurant business.
  • Catholic Guide to Depression (Aaron Kheriaty & John Cihak): Possibly the best books on psychology/mental health I have read (granted, I haven’t read many, but I have a feeling it’ll stay up there).  I found this book through a video talk of Kheriaty speaking at Mental Health and the Church Conference hosted by Rick and Kay Warren.  Coincidentally, I also saw it recommended on a blog (although I can’t remember where, sorry).  It was refreshing to hear a Christian medical professional speak/write frankly about an unfortunately common but even more often misunderstood issue.  The book is sensitive, but honest, acknowledging the reality of pain, yet full of grace and even hope.
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (David Quammen): Probably my second favorite book.  Similar to The Coming Plague (Laurie Garrett) which I liked more because I found it to be structured better.  The content was just as good, though, and Quanmen manages to bring humor into what can sometimes be too dull or too morbid.
  • The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoevsky): My obligatory fiction for the semester.  I think I enjoyed Brothers Karamazov more, but Dostoevsky is Dostoevsky–probably one of my favorite authors from the 1800s.
  • The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan (Jenny Nordberg): Insightful look at Afghan culture in which some families dress and treat their female children as boys for social and/or economic reasons.  She interviews individuals and families who are or have been part of this phenomenon at various stages in their lives.  Well-written.

Feel free to insult each other, forget your manners, create straw men, ignore empirical data, and commit as many other fallacies as you can, all from the cozy, anonymous protection of your keyboard.

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