What I Read

Ender’s Game

By: Orson Scott Card

I first read this book when I was in middle school. At the time, I had a bad case of the flu. This is the only book about which I've had hallucinations. Although I've learned more than I'd like about Orson Scott Card and how much our viewpoints diverge on a number of different topics, it's remarkable how well Ender's Game has endured. Orson Scott Card's imagining of a fictional Internet is eerily accurate. I decided to re-read this book last year and, per my reading habits, picked it back up and finished it in January. 


By: Christian Rudder

This is my train book. For the longest time I've been anti e-reader, but I got a Kindle over the summer and I'm starting to realize they have a certain appeal. For example, they keep your place for you. I know I could accomplish this with a bookmark, but let's be serious, I don't remember things like bookmarks. And then I waste a whole bunch of time trying to remember where I was in the book and this whole process takes too long to make train rides worthwhile reading times. Anyway, I've been able to read this book even on short train rides thanks to the functionality of the Kindle. With any luck, I'll have it finished by 2017.


More importantly, though, the book is fascinating for its conclusions about OkCupid (and other) data. Its most compelling chapters are about the differences in perception of attractiveness between men and women as well as the systemic racial bias of the online dating scene. Also interesting is the fact that it already seems a bit dated, even though it came out just over a year ago.


Modern Romance

By: Aziz Ansari

It was complete chance that I read this book in such close proximity to Dataclysm, because it discusses a lot of the same topics, even if it's a lot more qualitative in its conclusions. I thought it was really interesting that this topic intrigued Aziz Ansari so much he decided to write a book about it. And I'm sure it was no small feat. He seems to have collaborated with academics all over the world for both research data and opinion (no doubt based on that research).  

Yes Please

By: Amy Poehler

This is my couch book. I'm trying to implement a rule about sitting on the couch. If I'm doing it, I must also be either be reading or writing. If I'm writing, I can also have a TV show on in the background. If I'm reading, that's all I can handle.


Recently, Amy Poehler's book has been sitting on the back of my couch for whenever it's reading time. I love it. I love it so much. Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, was great. It was everything I wanted in a book by my comedy-writing idol. And then I read Amy Poehler's book and it blew me away. It's just…bolder. Amy Poehler doesn't give a shit about whether or not it might ruffle some feathers. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. But the book is written like it doesn't matter at all.


The Eye of God

By: James Rollins

No one writes historical thrillers like James Rollins. I've read at least one (Black Order) back in 2007. I found this book while at the Goodwill Store, one of my favorite sources for cheap books. It cost something like $2 and I bought it, despite the fact that my New Year's resolution was not to buy more books. Compared to most of the books I read, I did a pretty good job not dragging this one out over years and years. I think I bought it in the spring and finished it in the fall. 

Running Away: A Memoir

By: Robert Andrew Powell

I finished Dataclysm, so this is my new train book. I think this was an impulse purchase from the Kindle sale section and so far it has been a worthwhile purchase. Robert Andrew Powell finds himself divorced and with no direction in his life when he decides to pick up his life in Miami and move to Boulder. Running has a prominent role in his story, as his father had finished the Boston Marathon and he wanted to to the same.  

The Aerodynamics of Yes

By: Christian Capozzoli

 A good friend of mine loaned me the physical copy of this book a long time ago and I desperately need to return it before one of us forgets I have it. When I started taking improv again this year, it came up in conversation and I thought I should probably buy a copy of my own. I purchased mine on my Kindle, since it seems to be effective in helping me read more and more quickly.


It's not a long book, so I read a quarter of it on my way home yesterday. It's good! Beyond the general knowledge and wisdom he offers, Capozzoli (who is currently very active in the New York improv community) there are a whole bunch of exercises and homework suggestions he makes.

Go Set a Watchman

By: Harper Lee
It's been over 15 years since I read To Kill a Mockingbird and I can honestly say I don't remember too many details beyond high-level summary of the plot. When I read that Harper Lee was publishing this book, I thought it was certainly interesting how many years (55!) had passed between the only two books she's published, but I didn't really intend to read it.

But suddenly I find myself moving through my queue of books unusually quickly and I'm not reading anything on the Kindle right now. Plus, Amazon had a sale around Thanksgiving and this was one of the books I bought. Plus, plus, somewhere in the last few weeks I read that this book is actually a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, which I didn't know and found very intriguing. So, here we are.


By: Toni Morrison

I haven't built out my Swoon pages yet, but when I do, Toni Morrison will feature prominently. I can't get enough of her work, even though none of her books are what one might consider lighthearted reads. They typically convey the experience of black women in a post-slavery world. The time periods of her novel seem to be from the late 1850's to mid-1900's.

Jazz is the second book in what is known to be a trilogy. The first book is Beloved and the third is Paradise. I've read both, but realized much too late that I read the last two books of the series in the wrong order. 

Why Not Me

By: Mindy Kaling

My newest train book. I got it for my birthday and have tried not to start it before knowing I could devote a good amount of time and attention to it. Now that I've gotten some books out of my queue, it's time. As of this writing, I am not more than 20 pages in, but I love Mindy Kaling and loved her last book. I have high hopes.  

Texts From Jane Eyre

By: Mallory Ortberg

Mallory Ortberg is currently my favorite writer. She primarily writes for a website called The Toast and I honestly don't think I've ever read stuff that's so simultaneously hilarious and intelligent. This is my favorite thing she's written.

That's a good segue into a discussion about this book. One of the series of things she's written for The Toast is Texts From. She picks various figures from history and literature and writes fictional text conversations as those characters and this book is a GIANT collection of that, which is the best thing ever. Even better, I got to meet her last week at a show called Women of Letters. Look it up. Go see it.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Trying to Kill You

By: Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal)

It's no secret that I have a crush on the man who calls himself The Oatmeal. Many aspects of his humor appeal to me enough to make up for the ones that don't. Over Christmas, there was a fire sale on a number of illustrated books, from creations of The Oatmeal to Calvin and Hobbes. I indulged, and it didn't take long for me to open one up for a quick read. I regret nothing.