Reading List

 
 

In late 2014, I started reading books again. Like, a lot of books. I'd drifted away from the required readings in high school and college, but found my way back thanks largely to picking up Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore on a whim. I devoured that book and found myself wanting more. And the more I read, the more my writing improved, so I've kept the habit. I've even picked up a little hobby of reviewing books and I've been published by The Atlantic (on Robin Sloan's Sourdough) and The Millions (on Doree Shafrir's Startup).

After hitting a personal goal of reading a book a week in both 2015 and 2016, I've slowly pulled back to go for quality over quantity. Plus, there's no way I can read 50 books a year while tackling 1,000+ page classics like The Power Broker or It.

Below is a list of every book I've read since then, with my favorites marked with an *asterisk.

 

2014

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)

Ajax Penumbra 1969 (Robin Sloan)

Luther (Neil Cross)

The Martian (Andy Weir)

Wolf in White Van (John Darnielle)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M. Pirsig)

The Circle (Dave Eggers)

 

2015

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)

The Thank You Economy (Gary Vaynerchuk)

Steal Like An Artist (Austin Kleon)

Show Your Work (Austin Kleon)

Phoenix (Chuck Palahniuk)

* Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? (Dave Eggers)

100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater (Sarah Ruhl)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Marie Kondo)

How to Be Black (Baratunde Thurston)

Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

* On Immunity: An Inoculation (Eula Biss)

* Man V. Nature: Stories (Diane Cook)

Art & Fear (David Bayles & Ted Orland)

* Kaleidoscope (Ray Bradbury)

The Shape of Design (Frank Chimero)

The Fortune Cookie Principle (Bernadette Jiwa)

The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)

Start with Why (Simon Sinek)

Becoming Steve Jobs (Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli)

Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized: The Complete Interviews (Gary Hustwit)

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)

Manage your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (Jocelyn K. Glee, et al.)

Wreckage (Emily Bleeker)

The Light of the World: A Memoir (Elizabeth Alexander)

Between Here and the Yellow Sea (Nic Pizzolatto)

Bullet in the Brain (Tobias Wolff)

Thoughts on Design (Paul Rand)

The Ghost Network (Catie Disabato)

Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg)

* Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

* Gutshot (Amelia Gray)

Creative Confidence (Tom Kelley & David Kelley)

Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (Gary Vaynerchuk)

The Customer Support Handbook (Sarah Hatter)

The Crossroads of Should and Must (Elle Luna)

The Fishermen (Chigozie Obioma)

* The Egg (Andy Weir)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Susan Cain)

The Chef (Andy Weir)

* The World According to Mister Rogers (Fred Rogers)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Elizabeth Gilbert)

The Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. Du Bois)

Citizen: An American Lyric (Claudia Rankine)

Eileen (Ottessa Moshfegh)

The Rover (Drew Magary)

* We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Imitation (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

* Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (Caitlin Doughty)

* A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara)

Hollywood Ending (Michael Thomsen)

Pick Me (Kalisha Buckhanon)

Ghosts in the Forest (Corinne Purtill)

Bad Feminist (Roxane Gay)

Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work (Whitney Johnson)

Gawker: An Oral History (Brian Abrams)

Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose (Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer Lee)

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (Seth Godin)

 

2016

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits (Kevin Roose)

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Mohsin Hamid)

Museum of the Weird (Amelia Gray)

Community: The Structure of Belonging (Peter Block)

The Internet of Garbage (Sarah Jeong)

How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours: And other questionable & possibly insane advice on creativity for writers (Andrew Mayne)

They're Made Out of Meat (Terry Bisson)

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Ed Catmull)

Timely Escape (Sandra Nikolai)

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (Ann Handley)

3 Truths and a Lie (Lisa Gardner)

The Grownup (Gillian Flynn)

The Revenant (Michael Punke)

The Decagon House Murders (Yukito Ayatsuji)

Battleborn (Claire Vaye Watkins)

Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Jonah Berger)

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (Dan Lyons)

Elon Musk: Inventing the Future (Ashlee Vance)

Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables & Problems (Adam Ehrlich Sachs)

Glitch (Hugh Howey)

This Great Love (Valerie Geary)

Lincoln's Little Girl (Cecelia Holland)

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (Steven Johnson)

Fates and Furies (Lauren Groff)

All Roads Lead Home (Lisa Mecham)

Not Coming Soon to a Theater Near You (Neal Pollack)

Highway with Green Apples (Bae Suah)

Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet (Virginia Heffernan)

Negroland (Margo Jefferson)

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (Mason Currey)

* The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander)

* Heroes of the Frontier (Dave Eggers)

The Ghost: How a California Golden Boy Became America's Most Unlikely-and Elusive-Fugitive (Paige Williams)

You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice (Tom Vanderbilt)

We Can't Go Home Again (Max Andrew Dubinsky)

The Beautiful Years (Katia Lief)

Letters to a Young Artist (Anna Deavere Smith)

Nice Girls (Sachin Waikar)

Mr. Kim (Mingzhao Xu)

* The Hike (Drew Magary)

* The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin)

Throttle (Joe Hill)

Multiverses; or, Possible Worlds (James McAdams)

Guns (Stephen King)

Pick Me Up: A Pep Talk for Now and Later (Adam J. Kurtz)

Rattlesnake Stories (Anna Mitchael)

Rooster Stories: Farm-Raised Tales of Life, Love, and Motherhood (Anna Mitchael)

Shine (Jodi Picoult)

Flagged and Removed (Darcie Wilder)

All Involved (Ryan Gattis)

Bedtime for Batman (Michael Dahl)

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? (Seth Godin)

The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron)

 

2017

Startup (Doree Shafrir)

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeown)

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Twyla Tharp)

Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success (Ken Segall)

Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living (Manjula Martin)

* The Mothers (Brit Bennett)

United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good (Cory Booker)

Choose Yourself (James Altucher)

Difficult Women (Roxane Gay)

* Universal Harvester (John Darnielle)

300 Arguments (Sarah Manguso)

The Braindead Megaphone (George Saunders)

The Art of Thinking Clearly (Rolf Dobelli)

* Fever Dream (Samanta Schweblin)

Decisions: Life and Death on Wall Street (Janet M. Tavakoli)

The Kingdom of Happiness: Inside Tony Hsieh's Zapponian Utopia (Aimee Groth)

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (Philip Connors)

* Too Much and Not the Mood (Durga Chew-Bose)

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (Seth Godin)

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (Nick Bilton)

Train Dreams (Denis Johnson)

The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase (Mark Forsyth)

Hunger (Roxane Gay)

Sourdough (Robin Sloan)

Tampa (Alissa Nutting)

The Ego Is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday)

* A Colony in a Nation (Chris Hayes)

The Balloonists (Eula Biss)

The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (Mark Lilla)

Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead (Charlene Li)

Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts (Ryan Holiday)

Lovecraft Country (Matt Ruff)

The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)

* Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (John McPhee)

You Should Have Left (Daniel Kehlmann)

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays (Eula Biss)

The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network (Katherine Losse)

The Origin of Others (Toni Morrison)

Iterating Grace: Heartfelt Wisdom and Disruptive Truths from Silicon Valley's Top Venture Capitalists (Koons Crooks)

* We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (Ta-Nehisi Coates)