What I'm thinking of reading

02 Jan 2019

Category: life

Tags: life, musings, reading

I am looking for things to read. Always. We subscribe to the New York Times to be delivered in paper form on Sundays, I always go right for the book review. Usually there is something in there to make me think about what to read next. I also periodically trawl through The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, and various Amazon charts. I have yet to find a definitive source of material. Although the winners of the Man Booker Prize have been a consistent set of good reads.

I have this Amazon list which I constantly add books to and then buy five or six at a time. The list is not really sorted, it is I think just based on when I added the books to the list. I used to try to keep it in order based on what I wanted to read next. Instead I just look through it whenever I am finishing the last book of my previous batch purchase and pick a few to read. The consequence is that some things have been on there for a few years, languishing away at the bottom.

I don't trust best seller lists because they are a proxy for quality and tend to be not the best proxy at that. People tend to buy what is on the best seller list, making membership on the list almost tautological. Amazon does recommended books, and they know basically every book I have read in the past few years, but it seems like their recommendations are boosting things they are trying to push rather than doing a good job of collabrative filtering. I would like a search engine where I can pick a few characteristics and maybe some other books that might be similar to what I am looking for and it would give me ideas. For music I know of some work in this field doing acoustic analysis of songs, but I haven't seen anything for books.

Last year I read a lot more non-fiction than usual. That might be a trend that continues as there are quite a few non-fiction subjects I am currently interested in. However, I might do a better job of throwing two to three fiction books in between each non-fiction rather than reading non-fiction back to back.

Next up is Iron Gold which is the fourth book in the Red Rising series. That is the last in my last group of purchases. My next chunk will be:

  • Foreign Influence by Brad Thor
  • The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley
  • Ice by Anna Kavan
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  • The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

That has four fiction and two non-fiction. There are some really interesting books in that chunk which I am excited about. The Brad Thor book is my guily pleasure, book nine in the Scot Harvath series. The Huxley book is one I am surprised I haven't gotten around to reading before and is long overdue. Ice comes from The Paris Review about lesser known female authors. Asymmetry is on a few best of 2018 lists and sounded good. In a Dark, Dark Wood has been sitting on the bottom of my list for a long time so time to pull the trigger. The Real Lolita I heard about on NPR and is quite interesting, particularly because I had a weird interaction with the Lolita having decided to try to listen to the audiobook. Hopefully this non-fiction book isn't as weird as listening to Jeremy Irons talking about pedophilia while riding my bike.

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