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 …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – From Russia with Love

Though I’m a lifelong James Bond fan, this was my first experience with an Ian Fleming novel. I’d always been curious about what the source material looked like, so I picked this one because, well, it was on sale. It’s my understanding that From Russia with Love is different from most other Bond novels in that the first third of More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Murder on the Orient Express

Surprisingly, there are no Oriental people involved in this story. Instead, it’s some kind of murder mystery set on a train. No, seriously, I realize I may be one of the last people in the world who hadn’t read this or seen any movie or TV adaptation of it. But just in case you’re also one of those people, let me More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Brilliance

Brilliance is a thriller set in a world where certain people have super powers. Not comic-book-quality super powers, like flying or teleportation or shooting lasers from their eyes. No, the powers in this world boil down to just being really, really good at regular things, like reading body language or finding patterns in the stock market. One character can be More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Unashamed

I got two main takeaways from Lecrae’s autobiography Unashamed: 1) Lecrae is way more into theology than I expect any Christian rapper to be. Maybe my expectations are too low, but I never went looking for serious hermeneutics in the work of D.C. Talk. Lecrae has challenged my assumptions about that, because the dude is all up in the theology books. 2) In More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – When Helping Hurts

Have you ever been part of a conversation among a group of people, and then somewhere in the middle of it your mind drifted away for a minute? Maybe you were thinking about whether s’mores or brown sugar cinnamon is the best Pop-Tart flavor, or why guys have all started wearing light brown shoes with dark suits all of a More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The April Review: Vomit!

And here’s where we get an idea of the true nature of our reading competition: The month of April saw Rachel and both of our kids laid low with a pretty nasty case of stomach flu. Miraculously, I was left unafflicted and healthy all month while Rachel spent the better part of a week either hugging a plastic bucket or motionless More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The March Review, with an Assist from Little Women

Last month, it looked like this thing might be turning into an early blowout, but just one month later I’ve managed to claw my way back into it: Jason Read: Rachel Read: The Last Battle Unashamed Shepherding a Child’s Heart A Man Called Ove Flowers for Algernon When Helping Hurts  Unashamed This highly unlikely result is mostly thanks to the fact More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Flowers for Algernon

This is one of those books that’s prominent enough in the world of books that everybody kind of knows what it’s about even if he hasn’t read it. More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Knowing what I know about reviews of things on the internet and the people who take the trouble to write them, it was these reviews that made me think that this was probably my kind of book. More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – American Gods

 I wanted to read something from Neil Gaiman oeuvre because my wife had read and enjoyed his The Graveyard Book, and because he wrote stories in a neighborhood that interests me: where the real world bumps up against the fantastical. So, basically at random (and/or because it was on sale), I picked out American Gods. And as a result, I don’t More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown Book Review! – A Whole Bunch of Narnia Books

Most of the time I plan on reviewing books individually, but in this case they kind of demanded to be grouped together. These books – Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle — are the last four books in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. I read these particular books from the series because, More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – The (Way Too Late) February Review

Let me first say that the lateness of this review has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Rachel took a two-book lead on me. So, anyway, here’s the February split: Jason Read: Rachel Read: Prince Caspian Small Great Things The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Shepherding a Child’s Heart The Silver Chair Home: A Memoir of My Early Years More …

2017 Literacy Throwdown! – January Review

The first month is down in my contest with my wife to see who can read the most books this year, and I am, amazingly, tied for the lead. This is probably the last month I’ll be able to say that, because while Rachel is just going at her normal reading pace, I’m going balls-to-the-wall, literarily speaking. There’s not much chance More …