Book Review!

I have read almost everything that was on my book list and am looking for new books to read.  Please let me know if you have any recommendations!  My favorites of this round were Brain on Fire, The Invention of Wings and The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Expert No Limit Hold’em 1 and 2.

Non-Fiction

(=)Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.   I enjoyed some of the stories in the book, but a lot of it was filler such as the reprinting of her food diary.  She doesn’t speak to me, but her voice came through in the book and I would certainly recommend it to her fans.

(+)Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.  The author’s personal tale of the effects of a rare type of brain encephalitis.  It was very interesting to read her struggles and descriptive without being graphic.

(-)The Art of Mental Training by DC Gonzalez.  Another in the genre of self training books that repeat standard advice without expanding on it further.  Painfully beginning each chapter by reading how the author’s mentor treated him like the Karate Kid made me wonder if the author even had an editor.

(-)Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  This book on vulnerability was written in the same mold as Lean In, that is to say it is semi-autobiographical and attempts to apply those lessons to the world.  I want to give an example, but I can’t bear to open the book again.

Fiction

(=)Girl by Blake Nelson.  A teenage novel my wife was recommended.  It was a little silly, but not too bad considering the genre.

(+)An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  I enjoyed this story about an OCD boy who only dates girls named Katherine(19 of them).  It was lighthearted and funny and it was very easy to root for the main character.

(+)Looking for Alaska by John Green.  This novel by the same author as above was more suspenseful as a boy goes in search of his friend who has disappeared.  It’s told in the same enjoyable voice that An Abundance of Katherines was told.

(=)Paper Towns by John Green.  This book was a little more preachy than the previous 2 books by John Green and the story was not nearly as entertaining.  It was certainly the worst of the 4 books by John Green I have read, but luckily it was short.

(+)The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty.  This story about a woman who finds a letter from her husband weaves together 3 stories in a thrilling way.

(+)And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  One of the many books I have read lately that weaved together different stories and viewpoints across time periods.  It was really captivating, though the names were a bit hard to keep straight.

(-)The Dog Stars by Peter Heller.  This book about a post apocalyptic man and his dog was barely readable.  The short sentences and thoughts were a different writing style, but ultimately didn’t work.

(+)The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.  The second in the series by J.K. Rowling about a private detective was better than the first.  I am probably going to read the rest of the series as she writes them.

(+)Act of War by Brad Thor.  It was a spy novel that did a good job of keeping me on the edge of my seat.  Not as good as some of the others I have read lately, like I am Pilgrim, but good nonetheless.

(=)The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.  The author’s narrative from 3 different points of view was well written but there were some very boring parts and chapters mixed in.

(+)Gray Mountain by John Grisham.  It’s John Grisham doing lawyerly fiction.  Not one of his greatest, but pretty good nonetheless.

(+)The Son by Philip Meyer.  Another novel with 3 different narrators that occurs over many years about a family in Texas and its struggles.  It was very dense, and slowed towards the end, but I enjoyed it.

(+)All the Light we Cannot See.  Yet another novel with multiple narrators over time set during World War II.  This book won many awards and was a good read, but I don’t understand what all the hype is about.

(+)The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.  Probably the best of the multi-narrator over time books I have read.  The author made me feel for both the slave and the slave owner in this story about a slave’s life.

(+)The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. This book was beautifully written, had a lot of intellectual references and was very funny.  I didn’t even hold against it that it had 2 different narrators.

Poker

(-)Harrington on Cash Games 1 and 2 by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie.  It covers some basic, necessary material at first, then some outdated tactics that might be good for the lower limits.  I feel that if you are going to write a strategy book aimed at lower stakes players, all of the information should be correct, because they cannot differentiate when it is not.

(-)Harrington on Online Cash Games by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie.  Same as above, except with the evolution of online cash games, this book is even further behind the times.

(=)Straight Flush by Ben Mezrich.  This was a good fast read about the creators of Absolute Poker.  However, knowing the story, the author took a bit too much license on the facts and skipped over the scandal, without doing much research.

(+)The Mersennary E-Book.  This was an excellent book about playing heads up, and heads up sit-n-go’s which gave applicable advice that was spot on.

(+)Expert No Limit Holdem 1 and 2 by Will Tipton.  These books really delve into the nitty gritty of playing poker from a mathematical point of view.  Playing exploitable and unexploiteable are discussed in great depth and the book is very dense with information.

(+)Applications of No Limit Holdem by Matthew Janda.  A book similar to the one above, with more examples.  It had more practical advice without being as dense, but was also excellent.

(-)The Poker Blueprint by Tri Ngyuen.  Same crap by the same author.  General advice that is often wrong without any way to implement it.

 

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