Review Roundup for July 20, 2013

As I’ve mentioned recently, I review a lot of books.

2013-07-20 Road to SerfdomThat wasn’t my intention initially. I started my Goodreads account primarily for my own sake. I know that I’ve read hundreds–maybe even thousands–of books that I’ve since forgotten. Most of these are pretty silly, escapist sci fi novels that I read as a young adult. Although I say they are silly and escapist, they are still incredibly nostalgic for me, and not remembering what I’ve read feels like losing a part of myself.

I quickly realized that trying to go back and record all the books I’d read in the past was a monumental undertaking, so I’m not even trying, but I did start keeping track of (most of) the books I’ve read since I joined. And, because writing is what I do, I found that I was writing fairly long reviews. And then I found that other Goodreads members were liking and sometimes even commenting on my reviews.

So I figured if I’m going to do this, I may as well do it all the way. I can always use more content for my blog, and I think that writing reviews will be good additional writing practice for me to hone my nonfiction voice. Or, more realistically, start to discover it.

I spent some time over the last week catching up all the books I’ve read (that I can remember) through June and July and a couple older ones, and now I figure I’ll post an update every Saturday listing the books that I’ve finished and reviwed over the preceeding week. (Assuming there are any, of course.) This Saturday, I’ve got three:

Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change – Timothy D. Wilson This is a non-fiction book about “story editing”, which is the idea that by making changes in our personal narratives (how we see ourselves in relation to the world) we can accomplish profound changes in behavior. It’s primarily about experimentally-validated psychological interventions for at-risk youth, first responders after traumatic incidents, and so forth. I gave it 4 of 5 stars.

The Road to Serfdom – F. A. Hayek I started this book years ago, but it took me forever to finish. Written by Nobel economist F. A. Hayek during World War 2, it’s one of the most important works of (non-academic) conservative/libertarian political philosophy. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Lexicon – Max Barry This is a sci fi thriller from an author I’d never heard of before, but I was blown away with his writing style and world-building. Too bad the book was also extremely vulgar and therefore I can’t recommend it to most of my friends. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

2013-07-20 HyperionI take a little bit of pride in actually dishing out 1-, 2-, and 3-star ratings (and very few 5-star ratings), but this week I guess I finished a lot of good books? Who knows. I’m currently reading Hyperion (another Hugo award-winning sci fi novel) and about to start How To Do Things With Words (linguistic philosophy), but I don’t know if I’ll finish either one by next Saturday.