Book List #2 (books 20-40)

by evanrosefowler

I’ve underlined the ones that I think you should DEFINITELY READ. I’ve put an asterisk by the ones I wouldn’t spend time on. The rest are somewhere in-between. Obviously this is all completely subjective and based on my own personal taste.

  • Poor Economics, Abhijit Banerjee and  Esther Duflo
    • Very insightful—if you have any interest in development work or really just the way that humans make choices, this is a great read. Even if you know nothing about economics you will still be able to follow.
  • The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
    • Good book, but not one of Atwood’s best, in my opinion.
  • Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
    • I liked the Year of the Flood better (the two are linked in the same story.) Again, not a waste of time, not revolutionary.
  • Trainspotting, Irvine Walsh
    • Written in dialect, which I always enjoy, but I had a really hard time with the way that the narration skipped around from character to character. I wanted a plotline that was a little bit easier to follow.
  • A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
    • Read this book, it is important. It is biased, but so is all history, and this gives a little bit of the other side from what you’ve probably been taught in school. Long, but worth it.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain ** Garth Stein
    • I read this book because I really liked the title and for some reason I thought it was not literal. But this book is about race cars and is narrated by a dog. If you like those things, read this book, if you don’t, don’t. The plot isn’t great.
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
    • Way too Catholic and Irish for me. Does anyone understand this book? I liked snippets of it, but the inside of the Artist’s head is awfully tedious.
  • The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling
    • Very British book, not as good as I was hoping it would be based on the author. Overall, kind of depressing—I like Rowling’s magical world better than when she writes about suburban muggles.
  • The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury
    • Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve actually already read this book and read it again (which I never do.) Read it.
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
    • Lays out many truths about human nature stated in beautiful prose while also creating characters you care about. I loved this book.
  • Slave Narratives, a Folk History of Slavery in the United states from Interviews with Former Slaves,US Work Projects Administration
    • Could have used a little more editing, but very interesting first-hand accounts of slavery.
  • Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard
    • Fun gangster book based in Hollywood, highly fluffy, highly enjoyable.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
    • A portrait of growing up in a time and place I can only imagine. The story feels real and you grow to love the characters. Wonderful imagery.
  • Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu
    • An important book, especially when balanced out by reading Poor Economics. The author annoyingly repeats himself a lot, and the book is dense, but the ideas are good ones. Helps you intelligently think about plausible answers to questions like “Why do people in Benin continue to eschew the plow and embrace the simple hoe?”
  • Galapagos, Kurt Vonnegut
    • Vonnegut is good per usual, but not particularly stunning. I thought the ending was a little lackluster but really enjoyed the book overall.
  • Facing The Congo,** Jeffery Tayler
    • A book about a man going down the Congo River—his experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Pretty boring and repetitive, also the protagonist is not very likable.
  • The Importance of being Ernest, Oscar Wilde
    • Delightful little read. Short, sweet, and funny. Read it!
  • Where’d you go, Bernadette?  Maria Semple
    • Well written, funny. Great beach read when you are with your quirky family and you want to read about a family that is even quirkier.
  • Radiance of Tomorrow, Ishmael Beah
    • Very African. Well written and fairly depressing, touches on many of the realities of poor West African nations. Written by someone who straddles two cultures—you get the best of both worlds—someone who calls Sierra Leoneans his people, but who understands how Westerners think and has a beautiful grasp on English.
  • Congo, Michael Crichton
    • Highly interesting, quick read. If you are interested in natural resource extraction, technology, animals, or the Congo, you should read it!
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