What I read in May 2019

These lists are a little off-topic – I read a lot of fiction/non-fiction unrelated to the built environment. Good book recommendations come from unexpected places and can expand your world – these round-ups are my contribution to discovery. You can always find my full library here.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ | Alex Honnold/David Roberts: Alone on the Wall (2016)

I don’t climb, which means my interest in the sport is shallow. Alex Honnold is not only a force in that world, but a contemporary – we are about the same age. Viewing his personal evolution through a similar passage of time is fascinating. Only thing better are the documentaries he has been in: Free Solo (2018), Alone on the Wall (2008), Sufferfest (2014), and Sufferfest 2 (2015) are all great.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ | Leonard Mlodinow: The Drunkard’s Walk (2009)

A critical entry-level text on the intersection of human instinct and mathematical concepts. Optical illusions for the analytical mind. Put it in the same category as Innumeracy (1988).

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ | Francis Spufford: Red Plenty (2012)

Fiction set in the soviet planned economy. A good journeyman attempt, a little heavy on the history lecture interludes.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ | Tony Groom: Diver (2008)

Memoir of a British navy diver, with a heavy focus on his role in the Falkland war. A slice of the world I’ve never experienced, told with honesty and detail. Perhaps a little bit of a heavy focus on bar stories.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ | Drew Magary: The Postmortal (2011)

Drew Margary is a great casual writer. If I see his byline I’ll crack it open, no matter what the subject. This book is his first shot at fiction and covers a future where aging has been eliminated and some natural/unnatural consequences. If you like Drew Margary you’ll like this book.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ | Michael S. Sanders: The Yard (1999)

A portrait of Bath Iron Works at the turn of the century. Skip any chapter that starts talking about the Navy and you’ll find a tight, engrossing look at a Brigadoon-like manufacturing facility turning out some of the world’s most advanced ships with some of the oldest methods/equipment on the continent. Check out the facility in Bath, Maine to see where they’ve gone in in the last two decades since the book was published.