Books, Books, Books

I have enjoyed most of the books I have read lately.  The best (non poker) books were The Goldfinch, The Rosie Project and I am Pilgrim.  Happy readings!

Non Fiction

(+)The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  The story about a gold medal winning 1936 Olympic crew team was good and the writing was excellent.  The author did a superb job of weaving together the characters stories so that it was exciting, even when I knew the ending.

(=)Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett.  This book is about how to become a better athlete by a doctor who owns Crossfit gyms.  I founds it interesting and the illustrations were helpful, but the book was a bit repetitive.

(+)How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg.  This is a math focused book that taught daily applications of mathematical principles.  It was interesting for such a dry subject matter and could be helpful to a lot of people.

(+)Fading Hearts on the River by Brooks Haxton.  I read this book because author’s son is a well known high stakes poker player.  However the book was very well written and engaging(even for people not in the poker scene) and Haxton, who is a poet, should really write more nonfiction.

(+)The Sports Gene by David Epstein.  Epstein discussed what makes elite athletes perform better than regular people and the possible reasons for excellence by groups in specific sports.  He touched on a lot of subjects and made them come together in a cohesive way.

(+)The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar.  I was engaged from start to finish as the authors storytelling is excellent and she made what could have been a very boring book extremely informative and entertaining.

(+)No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald.  I didn’t know much about Edward Snowden and his reasons for revealing classified information before reading this book.  Greenwald, who wrote the original stories, makes a case for why we need more transparency.

(-)Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler.   Not sure why I keep reading comics literary attempts to be funny that alwasy seem to fall flat.  No more of her books for me.

(+)Guts by Kristen Johnston.  She skipped over most of the boring parts that encompass many memoirs and included only the funny childhood stories and dealing with her addiction which made the book a short, but good read.

Fiction

(+)The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I shied away from reading this book because it was so long, but it was worth every minute I spent reading it.  A superb story and very well told from start to finish.

(+)The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  I loved this book about a man with Asperger’s and his quest to find love.  His observations and musings made me laugh and it was one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time.

(=)The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer.  This spy thriller started out strong but got a little convoluted and boring in the last 1/3.

(-)The Fever by Megan Abbott.  It was absolutely terrible from start to finish in every respect.  Will probably never read another book she writes again.

(=)The Son by Jo Nesbo.  The story about a boy avenging his fathers death was good, but uneven, as some parts were really exciting and other parts extremely boring.

(+)I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.  This is the way a thriller should be written.  It was engaging from start to finish and definitely worth a read.

(+)Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.  Written through emails and letters from Bernadette’s life as her daughter searches for her when she goes missing.  It is lighthearted and funny.

(=)Missing You by Harlan Coben.  I liked the author’s writing style, but the plot wasn’t that great and the characters a bit blase.

(=)To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris.  The first part of this novel was so good, that it almost overtook the long biblical quotations that made the second part so brutal.

(+)Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Kory ta.  This suspense story was a good page turner.  The author did a great job of making me feel connected to the characters and made me root for them.

Poker

(+)Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker by Jonathan Little.  The author did a great job of explaining medium advanced concepts in an understandable way and covered a lot of ground.  I am interested to read his cash game book.

(-)The Pot Limit Omaha Book by Tri Ngyuen.  The book was very basic and poorly written, especially for such a high price.  There is similar material available cheaper and better explained.

(-)How I Made My First Million from Poker by Tri Ngyuen.  Another poorly written book with some basic advice, but also some terrible advice thrown in.  I dislike these types of books immensely because it will be difficult for a novice to be able to tell the good advice from the bad.

(+)Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold’em by Will Tipton.  This book goes in depth on heads up theory using complex math, ranges, and graphs.  It is superb for people looking to play game theoretically optimally and will probably require additional readings to understand it all.  A fantastic work.

(+)Analytical No Limit Holdem by Thomas Bakker.  This is also an excellent book that talks more about optimal ranges for 6-max no limit.  It should be mandatory reading for anyone playing those games.

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