A compilation of books and short works of fiction that I’ve read by year along with a few comments about each. I have some stretch goals for reading this year.


  • The Testaments (Margaret Atwood) - I had to.
  • Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (Kurt Andersen) - An exhaustive history of nonsense in the United States. Andersen begins with the hypothesis that America’s current state bears the marks of its origin story. The know-it-all nitwit reality-show president is just one aspect of a long line of fantasies in America’s history.
  • Отче наш - a depressing but beautifully written short story from Odessa’s Holocaust. I read this in the original Russian; and I want to read more from Valentin Katayev (Валентин Катаев)
  • College Prep for Musicians: A Comprehensive Guide for Students, Parents, Teachers, and Counselors - some good advice for students who want to go into music. The sections on mental practice and centering are quite good.
  • The Meritocracy Trap (Daniel Markovits) - This book helped me understand the degree to which the populist uprising in the U.S. can be traced back to the pernicious effects of meritocracy.
  • How to Do Nothing (Jenny Odell) - This was on Obama’s 2019 summer reading list. Reclaiming attention from the online attention economy by investing attention in your local bioregion.
  • The Noise of Time (Julian Barnes) - Interesting historical novel about Shostakovich. Now I want to read more about the composer and investigate Julian Barnes more. He seems to turn an artful sentence.
  • The Rise and Fall of DODO (Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland) - I had enjoyed Seveneves after finding it on one of Obama’s readings lists. This book was enjoyable science fiction, interesting but a a little far-fetched. (Or can you actually say that about science fiction?)
  • The Language Instinct (Steven Pinker)