Books I Read in June 2021

I track what I read in Goodreads, but I wanted to start writing a little more about each book and keep track by the month on this blog. Goodreads is nice for the annual challenge, but I don’t really use the social aspect as much as I could/should.

  1. “Don’t Be A Jerk: and other practical advice from Dogen, Japan’s greatest Zen master” by Brad Warner — I’ve long appreciated the Buddhist values and random quotes and ideas I’ve heard. I’ve never really dug into the beliefs of the faith. And now I know this book is not a good primer for Buddhism (also with the caveat that Zen Buddhism is a bit different than traditional Buddhism); it was a bit of a slog for me to get through. There were a lot of names and concepts I was unfamiliar with. That said, there was still a lot of relatable material. Warner has a dry wit that I connect with and made this pretty intense, philosophical content easier to digest.
  2. “Trixie and Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood” by Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova — I know, I know … I’m not a woman. But I’ve been a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan for years and Trixie and Katya are two of my favorite personalities. From their “UNHhhh” and “I Like to Watch” videos to their book … I think they’re just two hilarious people that I can totally relate with. This book was a fun little satire about dealing with fashion issues, relationships, money, etc. Plus a ton of great pictures and sprinkled with plenty of their hilarious banter. A great, low commitment follow-up to the Zen Buddhism read.
  3. “A World Without Email: reimagining work in an age of communication overload” by Cal Newport — I haven’t found a Cal Newport book I haven’t loved yet. He has some pretty radical ideas sometimes, like a world without email; but he always backs it up with research and anecdotes. This book not only goes through the history of how email took over our working lives, but even offers some example workflows to help get away from the constant check of emails. He discusses his “hyperactive hive mind” theory, our obsession with use of email, and how to break away from that whole cycle. I find myself trapped in the hive mind regularly and have a lot of takeaways from this book. I marked a lot of pages to go back and review/implement. #workinprogress
  4. “All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells — Oh boy, this was a great novella. You’re thrown right into a futuristic universe but with enough familiarities to not feel out of place. Wells slowly draws you into Murderbot’s history as well as his present situation. So not only are you pulled along on his current adventure, but you get to know why he is how he is. I picked this up on a whim because it had a “staff pick” sticker on the front. We visited a bookstore shortly after I finished this and I had to pick up the second in the series. I’m a Murderbot fan now. Side note: I use “he/his” for gender because I could really relate with Murderbot; but one reviewer made a great comment that gender isn’t really specified and not at all central to the character … so anybody can relate.

Day 29 of #100DaysToOffload