2019 – The Year of Scary Books

As proud as I am that I read fifty (fifty!) books in 2018, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best thing to set all your reading goals based purely on numbers. Trying to hit my goal, I rushed through some books I wish I had lingered on a bit more; I avoided some challenging books because I was afraid they’d More …

Books! Books! Books! – Best Beach Read of 2018

You may say, “Hey, we’re an awful long way from beach weather to be talking about beach reads, aren’t we?” To which I reply, People in the Southern Hemisphere need books too! These are the most enjoyable, page-turney books of the year. If you want something light and enjoyable, whether you’re at the beach or just thinking about being at More …

Books! Books! Books! – Best Audiobook of 2018

I read fifty (fifty!) books this year, and I am not what you would call a speed reader. I never would have been able to read that many if not for the eight or nine of them that were audio books. I’m not a huge audio book fan, because I like to marinate in good books more than the format More …

Books! Books! Books! – Best Nonfiction of 2018

I read too many good books this year to have one “best” of the year, so I’m breaking all the top books out into categories. This time it’s nonfiction! Again, to clarify, saying a book is best of the year doesn’t necessarily mean it was written in 2018; just that I read it in 2018. My apologies to all the More …

Books! Books! Books! – Best of 2018 Edition

2018 has been a booktacular year! (Sorry.) I’ve read even more books this year than I did during last year’s book-reading competition with my wife. And I’ve read better books too, since I didn’t feel the pressure to grab whatever book was closest so I could just keep reading and prevent her from building an insurmountable lead. But I also More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The Final Tally

I am badly delayed in giving the final results of our 2017 reading competition. I apologize, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been caught up with another competition. More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The August Review: The Beginning of the End

Here, I’m forced to be brutally honest with myself. Any hope I had of winning this contest was always a lie. I had a great August; I read six books (six!), most of them really good. And I didn’t make up any ground at all. JASON READ: RACHEL READ: The Connected Child The Sound of Gravel Surely You’re Joking, Mr. More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – The Kingdom of Speech

This book takes the pole position for Best Book I’ve Read This Year. What’s it about? Well, it’s a brief overview of the history of linguistics, and an explanation of how the existence human speech exposes a major gap in Darwin’s theory of evolution, a gap that causes Darwinists no end of consternation. Sounds like gripping page-turner, right? Actually, it More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

I had heard tales of legendary physicist Richard Feynman: the carousing, the womanizing, the crazy pranks. The frequent trips to Las Vegas, where I imagined the craps tables were no match for the genius who helped build the first atomic bomb. So naturally I was interested in Feynman’s autobiography; I wanted to get the inside scoop on all these shenanigans. More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – The Four Loves

This just in: C.S. Lewis is the man. The Four Loves is Lewis’ treatise on four categories of love: affection, friendship, eros (wink, wink), and charity. It is, for Lewis, typically insightful, typically profound, and typically compelling. It’s a short book, but dense. And like I tend to do with Lewis books, I marinated in every page, soaking in the More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – The Apostle

This was a really good book that I didn’t like. It’s weird, but I don’t know how else to say it. When I got this book, I was hoping it would humanize Paul and provide all the little details about his era that would make his whole story come to life, that would put meat on the bones of historical More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The July Review: A Slow Month, Relatively

It was an incredibly busy month for our family. Which meant that Rachel didn’t get to read at her normal blistering pace. It also meant that I was unable to take advantage of her slowdown. She only read three books, but she extended her lead! I have brought shame upon myself. JASON READ: RACHEL READ: The Apostle Chosen for Greatness More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The May/June Review

And so we enter the dog days of summer. And the days are so dogged that I’m having to do two months of contest review at once. What’s the review? In a nutshell: more of the same. Rachel read more books than me. Jason Read: Rachel Read: Think Like a Freak The Nightingale President Me Cold Sassy Tree On Writing More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

You ever meet somebody who can just analyze something to death? You know that type I mean. He can spend an hour before dinner outlining themes of loss and abandonment in Iron Man 2 and an hour after dinner discussing how post-millennial masculinity is defined by Spider-Man and Ross from Friends. I find that people like that, while often full More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Prayers for the Assassin

In the course of this epic reading competition, I’m going to end up reading a number of books that are just, “meh.” It’s the law of averages; they can’t all be gems. Prayers for the Assassin is one of those books that falls firmly in the “meh” category. A thriller set in a near-future America that has been converted to More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Born Standing Up

 Born Standing Up is Steve Martin’s reminiscence of the beginning of his career — from his first job selling maps at Disneyland to his time as the number one concert draw in the history of stand-up. He describes it not as an autobiography, but as a biography of someone he used to know. That’s about right. And it reads like More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – On Writing

This is probably Stephen King’s most respected book. In fact, I can’t think of any other Stephen King book that would be considered “respected.” Popular, yes. Wildly successful, sure. Really, really long, no doubt. Plentiful, without question. And did I mention long? How does he write so much, anyway? But this book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, appears on More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – President Me

Adam Carolla is a funny man, so if you enjoy his style of comedy you’re going to get your money’s worth of laughs out of this book (especially if you get it on sale for two bucks like I did; bargain hunter, yo!). But having said that, I have to say that the book wasn’t everything I hoped it would be. President More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Dark Matter, a Thriller for Dumb People

When I read a novel or watch a movie, I like to immerse myself in it. I’m not a guy who goes looking for plot holes or tries to jump ahead of the author and figure out the next plot twist myself. But by the time I got to page ten of Dark Matter, the rest of the story was More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Think Like a Freak

I like to come at problems sideways; questioning assumptions, eschewing conventional wisdom, and all that jazz. So the approach of the Freakonomics guys has always appealed to me. I’ve never read their books, but I’ve read enough about them and their take on economic problems to be intrigued. So, when I saw this book, Think Like a Freak, whose cover offered to More …