Sometimes the bibliophile in me gets the better of me and I go on a book-buying spree. A big spree like this doesn’t happen often, and when it does happen, it is usually because of some sale or deal. I went on such a spree yesterday, and in this case, the deal was Audible’s “Eureka” sale. They had audio books on sale for $5-7 each. I picked up a bunch of them.
- 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Wiest. I was attracted by the word “essays.” I’ve heard again and again that essays are poison at the box office, but I love books of essays. From Asimov’s science essays, to E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat to pretty much anything written by Andy Rooney or John McPhee. And, of course, I think what I do here as writing essays that we just happen to call “posts.”
- The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter by Kai Bird. I love presidential biographies. (I’m currently reading Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek) and Carter has always fascinated me as a person.
- The Story of Work: A New History of Humankind by Jan Lucassan. This book came to my attention either through a podcast or a blog post, I’m not sure which. But I’ve been thinking a lot about work, and work-life balance and so it seemed interesting enough in that context to pick it up.
- Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals by Ken Follett. Sometimes, the oddest things attract my attention. I tried reading Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth years ago, mainly because I thought it was fascinating that a story was built around the construction of a cathedral. The book defeated me. But when I was browsing the sale today, I saw this short little book (more like a long essay, really) and added it to my cart thinking a bite-sized bit on cathedrals might be just the thing.
- Paradise Lost by John Milton. This caught my eye because I was thinking the other day how the only one of Isaac Asimov’s annotations that I don’t have is his annotated Paradise Lost. Plus, Simon Vance narrates this one, and he is a fantastic narrator–perfect for this sort of thing.
- The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie. I’ve always been fascinated by the First Peoples of the Americas, ever since a commercial I remember seeing as a kid for Time-Life Books that talked about the disappearance of these great civilizations. I haven’t read nearly enough about them. So I added this one to my cart to start to change that.
- The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. Another person I’ve been wanting to read more about for a long time now, and what better place to start than with his own autobiography.
- The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Arman Ketayian. We spent a lot of time at our pool club this weekend, as it was the closing weekend for the season. While there, there was a lot of talk of college football. I’m a baseball guy, and was never really into football. I sort of disdained it for a while. Then I thought maybe I just don’t know enough about it. So when I saw this book, I saw an opportunity to learn more.
- The Great Upheaval: American and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800 by Jay Wink. This is an era that I’ve always been fascinated by, and of which I can never seem to get enough.
- Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper. Attracted by the words “secret” and “dictionary.” If you don’t think a book on dictionaries can be fascinating, you’ve got to try Simon Winchester’s books on the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, The Professor and the Madman and The Meaning of Everything.
- Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Attracted by “octopus” and “consciousness.” Two great tastes that taste great together. Just see Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.
If these were physical editions, I might feel weighted down, and possibly even guilty about the decreasing amount of shelf space at my disposal. Fortunately, there were all audio books and they can all easily fit into my pocket, along with the other 1,100 or so audio books I have accumulated.
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