The Year of Reading Slightly More Judiciously

2018 has been pretty good as far as the amount of reading I managed to do, considering all the distractions towards which I routinely propel.

I read fewer books than those I managed to read in 2017, but that is OK. I am happy with the quality of my reading. I read fewer books on American politics, but more importantly, I read some very interesting books about cats and apes and butterflies and human behavior and other content of a more joyful nature.

I have also found some new favorite authors: Robert D. Putnam, Robert

  1. Sapolsky, Carl Safina, Jonathan Haidt, Anurag Agrawal, among

others. These wonderful people write about natural and social sciences in an accessible manner, and they are experts who have worked long and hard years in their respective fields of work, often advancing the said fields.

In the beginning of the last year, I thought I should write regularly about the books I read, as notes to myself, if nothing else, but never got around to actually doing that. Perhaps I should do that in the future, if nothing else, as a favor to my own future self.

Below follows the list of books I read last year, with my favorites in bold. Unlike last year, I am skipping the commentary: that will just take me a rather long time, which will delay publishing this post. Besides, I am afraid that it does not get me much.


  1. Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt.

  2. Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution by Bernie Sanders.

  3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

  4. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam.

  5. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.


  1. The Quitter by Harvey Pekar.

  2. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: People & Portraits by Robert Caputo.

  3. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Landscapes by Robert Caputo.

  4. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams.

  5. A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes.

  6. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan.

  7. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg.


  1. The Death of Stalin by Fabien Nury.

  2. Street Art: Famous Artists Talk About Their Vision by Alessandra Mattanza.

  3. The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely.

  4. Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter

    1. Brown.


  1. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, by Robert Spencer.

  2. Killing and Dying: Stories by Adrian Tomine.

  3. The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer.

  4. Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine.

  5. The Arctic Marauder, by Jacques Tardi.

  6. Bloody Streets of Paris, by Léo Malet.

  7. The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee.

  8. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.


  1. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky.

  2. Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein.

  3. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt.

  4. Sleepwalk and Other Stories by Adrian Tomine.

  5. Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine.

  6. Big Questions by Anders Nilsen.

  7. A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, by Robert M. Sapolsky.

  8. You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski.


  1. Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America by Britt Collins.

  2. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan

    1. Peterson.
  3. How to Think Like a Cat by Stéphane Garnier.

  4. Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, by Peter Schweizer.

  5. You Are Not a Gadget Jaron Lanier.


  1. Canada by Mike Myers.

  2. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt.

  3. Tell Me about Yourself: Six Steps for Accurate and Artful Self-Definition by Holley M. Murchison.

  4. Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier.

  5. Republican Like Me: A Lifelong Democrat’s Journey Across the Aisle by Ken Stern.

  6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.


  1. Et Tu, Brute?: The Deaths of the Roman Emperors by Jason Novak.

  2. How to Be a Cat by Lisa Swerling.

  3. The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat by by Grumpy Cat.

  4. How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life by Janice Kaplan.

  5. Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina.

  6. Just So Happens by Fumio Obata.

  7. Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor by William Davis.

  8. Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein.


  1. Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, Chris Guillebeau.

  2. Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, Marcelino Truong.

  3. The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, by John Bradshaw.

  4. Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, by Jackson Galaxy.

  5. Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, by James M. Fallows.

  6. The Danger Within Us: America’s Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man’s Battle to Survive It, by Jeanne Lenzer.


  1. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen.

  2. The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman.

  3. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

  4. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, by Robert M. Sapolsky.


  1. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren.

  2. Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, by Jason L. Riley.

  3. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by K. Anders Ericsson.


  1. വിന്‍ഡോ സീറ്റ് (Window Seat), by Haris Nenmeni.

  2. Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution, by Anurag Agrawal.

In November and December, we took a few weeks off and traveled a bit, which slowed down my reading. I watched airplane movies of questionable quality in the airplane while in a long haul airplane daze. My best guess is that no one, including myself, wants to hear anything about that.

(Posted on January 6, 2019.)