Summary of Books Read in 2013


How the Scots Invented the Modern World had me wanting more as I recognized certain names and events. I appreciate these hard-working people (a 12 year-old boy works 14-hour days then goes to night classes) being portrayed as more than a lung behind a bagpipe that wears a kilt in an action film. An inspirational read. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences would have been tons more helpful if I had read it before graduating (aka giving presentations in school). I loved the layout too – lots of pictures and color-coded text.

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution is a book that Caleb and I enjoyed, even if we were separated by over 8,000 miles. The author talks about his father or grandfather tinkering around in the garage. That used to be a slow way to do business, but with technology advancements it will soon be where companies are grown. Things will be made as customers need them and as personal as they want them. Color: A Natural History of the Palette was an eye-opening read about the history of struggle, deceit, mystery, celebration, war, peace, death, life, wealth, and stability of some of the most popular colors used today, and those that are still hard to find.

photo from Bold Lentil

photo from Bold Lentil

Mister God, This is Anna was a nice recommendation from Caroline to see the world through a child’s eyes – love, growth, kindness, understanding, and complete interest in all things – all qualities that Caroline has. The Broom of the System was passed along from one of my dad’s friends. One day it may be one of those awkward books that makes the description-of-our-time list, but for now it shall remain with just its abrupt ending. Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny is a gripping read. What if China had beat England to the New World? If Homo Sapiens went extinct, what’s the possibility of a ‘mistake’ like us happening again? And how can we find more love in the world now?

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a story of evolution written by a scientist with a sense of humor. He talks about a million years ago when there was no oxygen to the crabs survivability today because of their unique blue blood (it’s that color when exposed to oxygen) that people want to harvest. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is another book I was gifted by my dad whether because I like hiking and attempted a long bicycle ride (nature thing) or because the author was my age when she committed to doing something grand and putting her life in a new direction (something I need to do).

photo from Dear Handmade Life

photo from Dear Handmade Life

So Big is the story of a girl who learns to live without some things, but to continue to see the beauty in life. She struggles to raise her son after her husband dies to follow his dream to be an architect and not get stuck on a farm like she did. Her son works for money and misses out on love because he didn’t follow his heart. A good moral story. Inferno seemed to have a longer intro than a story. Parts of the man’s awkward life resonate with me. I can appreciate his struggle as we are all in this life, of jest, together. From an Occult Diary is a man’s sad story full of the mental sex he had with his ex-wife and his well-written plays.

How to Be Your Own Best Friend is a book I found with my sister’s artwork in it. It’s about how to love yourself, let go of the negative side of your childhood, and learn from it – more doodling than reading she did in this one. Haroun and the Sea of Stories was another reread for me. I enjoy the imagination of the names, rhymes, and descriptions of love and happy endings with a balance of night and day. Ribbons is a story I wrote a report for in junior high – and I didn’t do it justice. It’s about love and sacrifice and made me cry.

photo from The New Dork Review of Books

photo from The New Dork Review of Books

Tales from Watership Down was recommended by someone who must have thought I wanted to spend the day reading about honesty, love, adventure, travel, and meeting new animals. They were right. Laughing Boy: A Navajo Love Story is a sad tale of love. Boy falls in love with girl against his family’s wishes. Boy runs away with girl and… no spoilers here! Post Office is a monotone notebook about the author’s life working at the books namesake. I’m happy for him though for finding something to write about.

Last Chance to See is a scientific glance at a few species that are going extinct, but written through the words of a science-fiction author – hilarious and heartbreaking. Reality is Broken is an in-depth look at the power behind people who game to change the real world via the excitement of make-believe badges and environments. I could’ve used this book to defend myself while I shot creatures, drove fast cars, and played in a band. The Universe Within is a deeper dive into the vortex of time than Shubin’s book Your Inner Fish – animal parts in people. This one talks about how humans are made from star dust.

photo from GlitterGuts

photo from GlitterGuts

I have an author that has waited for a review since I finished reading his unpublished book. I meant to give an in-depth description of characters, places they went, and how that made me feel, but I haven’t. Time by Chester Hendrix is a story of three men, two of which are time travelers, that spend seven weeks together in Napoleonic France. Yes, there is a woman involved and perhaps some of it’s made up, but it’s covered in truth which makes it even more intriguing. I’m looking forward to rereading this when it goes on sale.

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World is a book of long explanations about time, space, and numbers – their effects on flowers, creativity, philosophy, universality, infinity, the multiverse, and our culture’s ability to make choices. The Source was recommended by my neighbor, Dan. The first chapter doesn’t fit the pace of the rest of the book. It may be based on a made-up spot, but it’s fascinating to think about all the events that can be retold based on artifacts found in this one place. I turned all the pages until there were none.

photo from InfinityList

photo from InfinityList

The last book of the year would be my shortest yet. 2 B R O 2 B is more of a long poem about a boy who rediscovers electricity and then runs away to make a family with a girl who follows him. I wonder if that’s how the cavemen felt. This makes for 25 books read, and their 7,232 pages. 2013 was a great year for the snake. I’m grateful to have the influence of all these reading reptiles. Though I’m sure I can now read all by myself thanks to parents with flash cards, teachers with rulers, and my insatiability for the written word.

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