This week was a short week (or long weekend) due to an excellent camping trip to Figueroa Mountain Campground in Southern California (more details on this to come Friday). Instead of a regular trivia post, I am going to post a little about the last few books that I’ve really enjoyed.
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – I have talked a little bit about this book in previous posts, but I can’t help mentioning it again. Colonel Chris Hadfield had an incredible career as an astronaut that wouldn’t have been possible without his inspiring approach to life. He discusses how he took advantage of any opportunity that would further his career while balancing his home life. He talks about what it takes to become an astronaut: lots of hard work and a few strokes of great luck. His ideals are admirable and his stories are great to read about.
A Short History of Nearly Everything – This is a perfect book for the dilettante looking to learn about everything. It’s mostly science-based, but Bill Bryson describes the material through a historical lens so that the book reads like a novel. I bought the picture version, which is larger and little pricier but was ultimately a great value. The jaw-dropping images complement the extraordinary content of the book.
Cloud Atlas – Cloud Atlas traverses space and time and connects six different characters living in different eras, from the 1850s to a fictional post-apocalyptic future. The narration changes with the introduction of each new main character, providing a fun transition between chapters and sometimes challenging the reader with made-up syntax and language. The book is original and captivating with each chapter leaving a cliff hanger that resolves itself in the end and links each character line.
Freedom – This critically acclaimed novel presented an interesting take on life. The book followed a happily married couple, who soon started a perfect nuclear family, and then everything fell apart. It highlighted the struggles of parents’ relationships with their children and with each other. There were themes of rebellion throughout the book; children rebelling against their parents, then becoming parents and being rebelled against. I found it to be an interesting commentary on what really matters in life.
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know – I bought this book about 6 months after Kierstin and I got Simba. I gave it to Kierstin on Valentine’s Day, but I was the one who ended up reading it. The author of this book, an animal psychology researcher, gave insight into a dog’s mind, citing scientific studies on object permanence and human interaction. While the science of it all was extremely fascinating, I think the most striking chapter was the one that just talked about how we should treat our dogs; they don’t ask for much and provide amazing companionship, and so they deserve to be just like a family member. After reading this book, I started walking Simba regularly, focusing on how to better appreciate him during his short life here.
Raw Shark Texts – This is probably my favorite book of all time. I was given this book at an interesting point in my life, and I devoured it as it helped me discover what I wanted in life. I’ve read and reread the book about 4 times, and it never gets dull. The main character has a seemingly uninteresting case of amnesia, but the reader soon discovers that amnesia in this story is actually caused by “conceptual fish”, which are basically memory-eating predators. The novel quickly goes from plausible to science fiction and is hard to put down after this point. There is also a great twist at the end, but not until the book goes through a roller coaster tale filled with excitement and emotion.