This summer I didn’t follow a theme.  Just read for fun.  Hope you find a few ideas in here.

First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan by Gary Schroen – the author, who is an ex-CIA agent, outlines in first person narrative how the United States prepared, entered and engaged in the early days of the Afghanistan war. Very insightful book.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang – Whenever a book wins the Man Booker International Prize, I read it.  The Vegetarian, winner in 2016, takes place in Seoul, Korea.  A woman named Yeong-hye decides to stop eating meat.  The book outlines her journey into madness, often due to the cruelty of others.  It is a well-written and powerful piece of literature.

The Martian by Andy Weir – first time author Weir has a great future ahead of him.  Part geek, part great writer.  Can’t wait to read whatever he cooks up next.  I love books where you learn a bit while you enjoy the drama.  This is one, of course, where everyone has seen the movie.  In my view, the book is better.

Scandinavia: A History by Ewan Butler – we toured Norway and Denmark this summer, so it made sense to read up on the history of the Scandinavian region.  Although the book is dry and more like an academic book, I do feel like I understand how the centuries of war, leadership changes, Vikings, the plague and general interference from places like Russia shaped the thinking of this region for the long-term.  Norway and Denmark, by the way, are awesome to visit.  Beautiful places.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – this book, published in 1989, won the Man Booker Prize and Nobel Prize for literature.  The topic seems so so…the life of an English butler in post-world war II England.  I have to admit I was hesitant, but this was the sleeper of the summer.  When you encounter great writing, it is game changing.  I’ll be reading more writing of Kazuo Ishiguro.

Jimmy Page by Chris Salewicz – when I was 12 years old and started to save money from raking leaves or shoveling snow to buy albums, I first encountered Led Zeppelin.  Their sound made a huge impact on my love of music, along with The Stones, The Who and a few others.  Besides being a professional baseball player for The New York Yankees, my other wish was to be Jimmy Page and just crank on the electric guitar.  This book gives a great historical view of how Jimmy Page created Led Zeppelin, how their sound formed and how the band ultimately splintered in 1980.  Related to this book, we are seeing Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters in two weeks.  Can’t wait.

Well, the summer is over.  Next up will be a series of books on science (genomics), technology (blockchain) and more.  As always, looking forward to your ideas on books to read.  I usually buy them and add them to the cue.

Best, Bob