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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dune Messiah

I've already finished Dune Messiah. Next up are The Bully Pulpit, Invisible Man, and Children of Dune.

I don't have much to say about this. It's the second book of a trilogy, and pretty much follows what I said about the first one. It wasn't quite as good, but I'm reserving judgment until I finish up the trilogy. I will note that finally getting to read an enjoyable book after Don Quixote, I probably liked it somewhat more than I would have otherwise.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Don Quixote

I finally finished Don Quixote today. Next up are Dune Messiah, The Bully Pulpit, and Invisible Man.

The full original title was El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha which translates to The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. It was published the early 17th century and is considered one of the earliest novels ever written and a foundational work of modern Western literature. It’s also often ranked as one of the greatest books ever written. I went with the Rutherford translation (mainly based on this writeup).

Friday, December 4, 2015

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Yesterday I finished Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!. Next books up are Don Quixote (I’ll be using the Rutherford translation), Dune Messiah, and The Bully Pulpit.

Surely You’re Joking was recommended to me by two friends. It is a series of anecdotes from the life of the author, Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman. He is unquestionably a genius. In taking the graduate entrance exam for Princeton, Feynman was the first person to ever receive perfect scores in both mathematics and physics. In a poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time. I didn’t learn these things from the book. He never boasts for the sake of boasting. He does mention the Nobel Prize, but, aside from the prize money buying him a beach house, he seems to have viewed it mainly as a nuisance. He loved giving physics talks to students, but once he got the Prize he couldn’t go anywhere to speak without it becoming a large production where most of the audience wouldn’t be able to grasp what he wanted to talk about.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I finished Dune today. Next books up are Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Don Quixote, and Dune Messiah.

Dune is considered by a good number of critics to be the best science fiction novel ever written and is pretty much universally considered to be in the top 3-5. It is also reportedly the best-selling book in the genre.

100 Days!

My app informs me that today is the 100th day in a row that I have stuck to my goal of reading for at least 30 minutes a day.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I finished Lolita today. With my new cycle of classic -> sci-fi/fantasy -> non-fiction, my next books will be Dune, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, and then Don Quixote.

Lolita was, as promised by different people, simultaneously some of most beautiful prose I've ever read and deeply disturbing. There can be no doubt that Nabakov is one of the best writers in English literature. Even limiting it to English literature is probably unnecessary. It is so much more than the words themselves. While I definitely got some references on my own, it was only by reading the annotations that I found just how much is packed in there. It seems as though each and every single word was chosen with care and precision.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Infinite Jest

Having an abundant amount of free time recently, in two weeks I finished not only Infinite Jest, but also a 500 page reader's guide to Infinite Jest. Next up is Lolita. After Catch-22 and Infinite Jest, I am really just hoping for a relatively straight-forward story that proceeds in at least a semi-recognizable chronological order.

I found my feelings about Infinite Jest well summed up by Dave Eggers. Not Eggers' introduction to the 10th anniversary edition, where he said Infinite Jest is “1,067 pages long and there is not one lazy sentence. The book is drum-tight and relentlessly smart and, though it does not wear its heart on its sleeve, its deeply felt and incredibly moving.”

No, I don't agree with that at all. But I do agree with Eggers' review when the book came out and he was (presumably) not being paid for a positive review:

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I just finished reading Catch-22, next up is Infinite Jest. I have a feeling that reading these books back-to-back will strenuously test my resolve to read every day, if not break it altogether. So I am considering delaying Infinite Jest until I’ve read something I enjoy.

I hated Catch-22. The only part I enjoyed about the book was finishing it, knowing I didn't have to read anymore. In short, I can understand why some people like it, I didn't enjoy it at all, and I don't understand why it’s considered a classic. I would describe it as Abbott & Costello in book form, mixed in with the horrors of war and PG-13 rated Penthouse letters from the 50s.

Friday, October 16, 2015

War & Peace

I finished War & Peace today. I started on August 24, and have read at least 30 minutes a day. I probably averaged around 33 minutes a day, since I would finish up whatever chapter I was on. So I figure it took me right around 30 hours.