Because I am a children’s librarian, I primarily read books for children. I guess I also read a fair amount of books for teens, but I really don’t read many grown-up books. However, I do read some, so I’ve decided to give the internet my personal opinion of every grown-up book I’ve read in 2015 so far. So here they are, in order of when I read them.
Virtual Unreality by Charles Seife, 2014.
One of the ways in which digital technology and the internet have changed the world is that false information is easy to disseminate and hard to correct. Seife explores this fact and discusses related details regarding informational reliability and the nature of internet-age journalism. He illustrates his points with anecdotes that are often humorous, but the overall takeaway from the book is serious: you can’t trust very much of what you hear or read. I wouldn’t rate this book at the top of the fun-reading scale, but it’s definitely an informative read.
Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes It Good by N.T. Wright, 2015.
I actually did write an entire blog post on this one, and here’s the link. As you can see if you care to follow that link, I had quite a lot to say about this book, but I’m not going to reiterate it all here. I don’t agree with everything that Wright says, but I do feel that it’s better than a lot of the similar books out there, and I definitely recommend it for people who like to read a variety of popular Christian books just to see what’s being said.
Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception by Claudia Hammond, 2013.
This book caught my eye because it’s about two things that interest me: the nature of time and the way the human mind works. Hammond cites psychological and neurological research to discuss phenomenon such as the way time speeds up as we get older and the way time seems to pass more quickly when we’re having fun. This book will not answer all of your questions definitively, since science hasn’t found definitive answers for a lot of them, but it will give you a lot more information than what you probably already know about how your mind works with time.
The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us by Jeffery Kluger, 2012.
I didn’t feel that this book quite lived up to its title, since it didn’t talk about what sibling relationships say about us as much as just pointing out trends in the way family relationships work. But with that being said, it was definitely interesting, and it contains a lot of biological, psychological, and sociological information that’s worth knowing if you’re interested in the subject matter. One complaint that I have about this book is that it seems to make the assumption that, in every family, each child moves out to go to college at the age of eighteen. Despite the variety of family situations that it discusses (one-child households, large families, twins, divorce, remarriage, stepsiblings, half siblings, single-parent households, families where the older children play a large role in raising the younger children…) it didn’t even acknowledge the possibility of someone over the age of eighteen living with their parents and younger siblings. Since that’s very common in this generation, it seemed like a pretty major oversight to me.
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson, 2013.
By zooming in on the evolution of specific utensils or machines, this book gives an incredibly broad view of how culinary practices have changed over time. Each chapter discusses one type of kitchen item, such as the knife, or the fire/oven, and traces that one thing through various time periods and cultures. I loved this book and would strongly recommend it for anyone who enjoys cooking. It definitely is more about cooking than about history, but it has that cross-genre element that makes it interesting in a completely unique way.
Gone Girl by Gilian Flynn, 2014.
As you have probably noticed, most of the adult books that I do read are non-fiction. I tend to not particularly enjoy fiction for adults, with the exception of the great classics. I’ve heard so much about this particular book and its movie, though, that I decided to read it and see what I thought. I’m actually not done with it yet. I have very mixed thoughts on it. I definitely do feel that it’s well written and suspenseful; there have been a couple times that I meant to read one chapter and ended up reading three or four. But I’m not sure it’s exactly my kind of book. I’m so accustomed to reading literature for people younger than me that it’s a little weird to read about the troubled marriage of characters a decade older than me. And all of the characters are so unlikable. I don’t regret buying and reading this book, but it’s not the kind of thing that I’d go back and read again and again, or that I’d be excited to recommend to someone, or that I would particularly want to discuss in any other context than this kind of list.