Summary: I loved this book. Most of it takes place in the Finnish wilderness; I feel that I learned a lot about Finland through reading this.
The Summer Book - Tove Jansson
Summary: I didn’t love this as much as other reviewers have, but the setting (on an Island in the Gulf of Finland) is unique.
Finnish Short Stories - Various
Summary: Another book that I didn’t finish. This is a compilation of short stories by some of Finland’s most famous authors.
Kalevala - Elias Lönnrot
Summary: I decided to read portions of this in preparation for travelling to Finalnd. I only read a few poems but was intrigued by how completely different this book is from other things that I read.
The Silence - Don DeLillo
Summary: I picked up this short book to read while I was waiting for DeLillo’s more popular White Noise to arrive through interlibrary loan.
The Wind-Up Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Summary: This book was quite a bit longer than what I usually would even attempt to read, but it was compelling. The story is set in 1970s Tokyo, and I knew so very little about Japan prior to reading this (aside from some basic demographic and economic characteristics). You really get a sense of a mysticism and interconnectedness in Japanese culture, despite it being a largely secular society. I was also shocked to observe how westernized Japan was, even in the 1970s (at least from the way it was depicted). I also learned a good deal about Manchuria and Japan’s strained relationship with the Soviet Union.
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Summary: A masterpiece. As Neil Postman suggests in his forward to Amusing Ourselves to Death, If we’re living in a dystopian future, it’s not Nineteen Eighty Four’s; it’s Huxley’s.
When Everyone Leads The Toughest Challenges Get Seen and Solved - Ed O’Malley and Julia Fabris McBride
Summary: I read this as a part of the Dean’s book club. Overall it was great and easy to read. It has an unconvential take on leadership. According to the authors, leadership is not a position; it’s an activity.
Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq - Steven Kinzer
Summary: This book was hard to put down but remarkably depressing at the same time. Amazing (or not) how most Americans (including myself prior to reading this book) have no idea how invovled the US government has been in overthrowing the governments of Hawaii, the Phillipines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatamala, Honduras, Nicaraugua, Iran, Vietnam, and many others.
Thinking in Systems: A Primer - Donnella Meadows
Summary: This was a little more technical than I was hoping, and as such I didn’t finish it. The implications of this book, however, for natural resource management, the global economy, and other issues I teach about in my Human Geography class is really useful.
What Saint Paul Really Said - N.T. Wright
Summary: There were parts of this book I really liked, but on the whole, I really didn’t grasp it well. Admittedly, I didn’t finish it either. That said, I really love Wright’s candid, down-to-earth writing style, and I want to read more of his books.
The End of Policing - Alex Vitale
Summary: I read this to understand the alternatives to the current system of policing in the US. I was surprised to find nothing controversial in this book. The TLDR is that policing is extremely expensive, and its use toward societal goals is often misguided. There are often better and cheaper ways to achieve these goals.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing
Summary: A gripping story of survival
Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Summary: I loved the short chapter format of this book as someone with no knowledge of astrophysics
Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas - David Banis and Hunter Shobe
Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday - Kurt Vonnegut
Summary: One of my all-time favorite fiction books. Themes of environmentalism, non-violence, free will, and absurdism.
Cat’s Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
Summary: Not my favorite Vonneget book but still worth reading.
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Summary: This was not what I was expecting but I enjoyed it.
1984 - George Orwell
Summary: This book really shook me up. A depressing read for sure; his non-fiction book Homage to Catalonia is required reading before this one.
Travesty in Haiti: A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, food aid, fraud, and drug trafficking - Timothy Schwartz
Summary: Most mind-bending read of all time.
A confederacy of dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Summary: A great description of New Orleans through fiction.
Early Retirement Extreme - Jacob Lund Fisker
Summary: Surprisingly technical and resourceful read.
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda - Phillip Gourevitch
Summary: A depressing but incredibly important book.
Dune - Frank Herbert
Summary: I understand this better after watching the movie.
There’s no such thing as bad weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge) - Linda Åkeson McGurk
Summary: This book has had a major impact on my parenting. Kids need to be outside, get dirty, fall down, and brave the elements.
Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of Show Business - Neil Postman
Summary: One of my favorite books of all time. A must read.
The scandal of the evangelical mind - Mark Noll
Summary: A bit heavier than I expected but some great history of the war on intellectualism in the church.
Chasing new horizons: Inside the first epic mission to Pluto - Alan Stern and David Grinspoon
Summary: A fascinating read on an incredible scientific project.
Solaris - Stanislaw Lem
Summary: A refreshingly different take on science fiction.
The two cultures and the scientific revolution - C.P. Snow
Summary: Meh. More about the inudstrial revolution than the scientific revolution, but in his defense this was written before the academic scientific revolution.
Metamorphasis - Franz Kafka
Summary: The weirdest book I’ve ever read.
Krakatoa: The day the world exploded - Simon Winchester
Summary: Awesome book about the history of plate tectonics and the loudest event in recorded human history.
The old man and the sea - Ernest Hemingway
Summary: A classic.
Rest: Why you get more done when you work less - Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Summary: A near life changing book for me. Confirmed many things about the nature of work that I was suspecting but learned through trial and error.
Bullshit jobs: A theory - David Graeber
Summary: One of my all-time favorites. Perhaps the second most mind-bending read of my life.
Jesus for President: Politics for ordinary radicals - Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw
Summary: One of the most important books about Christianity I’ve ever read. Gives me hope for the faith.
Myth of a Christian nation: Why the quest for political power is destroying the church - Greg Boyd
Summary: Not as juicy as I was hoping, but many good points in here nonetheless.
The fall of the faculty: The rise of the all administrative university and why it matters - Benjamin Ginsberg
Summary: A must-read for new faculty members wanting to understand the incomprehensible administrative landscape of universities.
Arguing with zombies: Economics, politics, and the fight for a better future - Paul Krugman
Summary: I was expecting an academic book rather than a popular book.
Economic facts and fallacies - Thomas Sowell
Subversion of Christianity - Jacques Ellul
Summary: A bit too theory heavy for me but a refreshing perspective nonetheless