Reading Log for 2007

Tags: 

  1. [Meh] Mean Markets and Lizard Brains by Terry Burnham
  2. [Loved] Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella DePaulo: Better than I expected. A cogent and carefully argued case for singlehood, debunking the myths of the marital advantage. DePaulo is a bit to dismissive of the benefits of marriage, but her book presents a much more accurate picture of reality than anything I've read that extols the virtues of marriage. First, she handily destroys arguments that "science shows marriage makes you healthier and sexier." Actually, science says the opposite. Then, she attacks sentimental myths like "Marrieds know best", "Everyone just wants to be married", "Singles are lonely and miserable", "Singles are selfish and immature", and "Single people are incomplete." Now, imagine this alternate universe, where married people are not treated with respect: (1) When you tell people you are married, they tilt their heads and say things like "Aaaawww" or "Don't worry, honey, your turn to divorce will come." (2) When you browse the bookstores, you see shelves bursting with titles such as If I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Married or How to Ditch Your Husband After Age 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School. (3) Every time you get married, you feel obligated to give expensive presents to single people. (4) When you travel with your spouse, you each have to pay more than when you travel alone. (5) Single employees can add another adult to their health-care plan; you can't. (5) When your single coworkers die, they can leave their Social Security benefits to the person who is most important to them; yours just go back to the system.
  3. [Hated] The Manual by Steve Santagati
  4. [Liked] The Well-Fed Self-Publisher by Peter Bowerman: Quite good, but I'm going to try the John T. Reed's route first. Reed's route has me writing, designing, marketing, publishing, printing, and shipping books myself, and avoiding ISBNs, libraries, and Amazon. Bowerman takes the more typical path of hiring designers and book makers, and getting into every library and bookstore possible, including Amazon.
  5. [Skimmed] How to Read the Bible by James Kugel: Didn't have time for this massive tome, but it looks quite good.
  6. [Nah] How to Succeed with Women by Ron Louis and David Copeland
  7. [Meh] The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy
  8. [Liked] Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children by Dan Barker: Really, the case against religion is so strong and simple, adults need to read this book.
  9. [Liked] The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross: Will probably become a canonical history of 20th century of music. It's okay, but its ignorance of avant-rock annoyed me. Ross mentions the superficial, 10-second resemblance to Stockhausen's work sported by The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, but not the profound advancement of Stockhausen's innovations on Faust or a dozen other albums of the era. And oddly, Ross' history comes up to about 1971, then he writes "Music at Century's End", a chapter that names many contemporary composers (Schnittke, Part, Gubaidulina, Zorn, Kurtag, Ades, etc.) in passing but says nothing of their music. The exception is America's most popular composer, John Adams, who gets four pages to himself. What can I say? You won't be surprised to hear me saying that Piero Scaruffi's collected histories of 20th century music are vastly superior.
  10. [Liked] God? A Debate Between a Christian and an Atheist by William Lane Craig & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
  11. [Nah] The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days by Fern Reiss
  12. [Meh] The Medium of the Video Game by Mark J.P. Wolf
  13. [Meh] Bookdesign by Andrew Haslam: Maybe the most comprehensive and handsome book on book design, but too technical and comprehensive for me.
  14. [Liked] Men in Love by Nancy Friday: A collection of male sexual fantasies. I really like Nancy Friday. She lets people express who they are, and does not tell them who they should be. As a 22-year-old virgin only now escaping Christian sexual repression, reading this book also reminded me of how much great sex I've been missing out on. It's encouraging to note how many people in the world shamelessly love sex.
  15. [Loved] The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs: Jacobs' second publicity stunt, and even funnier than his last.
  16. [Meh] Beginning GIMP by Akkana Peck
  17. [Really Liked] Monkeyluv by Robert Sopalsky
  18. [Liked] What to Do Between Life and Death by Charles Spezzano
  19. [Really Liked] The Style Bible by James Bassil: I needed this book badly. All the basics of male fashion. I'm just not sure I have the money required.
  20. [No] A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
  21. [Liked] On Book Design by Richard Hendel
  22. [Skimmed] How Homo Becames Sapiens by Peter Gardenfors
  23. [Liked] The End of Stress As We Know It by Bruce McEwen
  24. [Liked] Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky
  25. [Skimmed] Elements of Visual Style by Robert W. Harris
  26. [Liked] My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday
  27. [Liked] The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  28. [Meh] How to Start a Home-Based Writing Business by Lucy Parker
  29. [Really Liked] Looking Good in Print by Roger C. Parker
  30. [Liked] Don't Make Me Think! by Steve Krug
  31. [Meh] Life 101 by Peter McWilliams
  32. [Really Liked] Emotional Design by Donald A. Norman
  33. [Meh] The Disposable Male by Michael Gilbert: Interestingly, this is an evolutionary argument for a return to "family values."
  34. [Liked] What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul
  35. [Liked] The One-Minute Designer by Roger C. Parker
  36. [Skimmed] The Non-Designer's Scan and Print Book by Robin Williams: Good, but out of date.
  37. [Liked] Consilience by Edward O. Wilson
  38. [Hated] The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science by Tom Bethel: Tons of outright lies. However misguided, I think the intelligent design movement is playing a vital role in keeping science honest. Scientists do not know much of what they claim to know, and they need to be reminded of that. Unfortunately, religious dogmatists won't admit that they know even less.
  39. [Liked] Prioritizing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen
  40. [Meh] Darwinism and Its Discontents by Michael Ruse: A vigorous defense of Darwinism, but of course Ruse is sympathetic to religious readers. He is tedious at times.
  41. [Skimmed] Tiptionary by Mary Hunt: 2300 quick tips to save time and money.
  42. [Liked] Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen: Good stuff, but Homepage Useability is more updated and more specific.
  43. [Loved] Destructive Trends in Mental Health by many: Absolutely vital. Also see Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, a peer-reviewed journal focused on distinguishing science from pseudoscience.
  44. [Meh] How to Meet and Connect with Women by Wayne Elise: Unlike most of the Seduction Community, "Juggler" doesn't advise many tricks, lines, or lies. He just teaches you to be charismatic. You know: smile, be interested and interesting, carry a cute puppy around, etc.
  45. [Skimmed] Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years by Pepper Schwartz: It's refreshing to read a woman who knows her sexual self, who is happy whether sex is a candlelight dinner (a long romance) or a sandwhich (just for the fun of it), who is unashamed to chase every guy on the block if she feels like it.
  46. [Liked] Mean Genes by Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan
  47. [No] 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg
  48. [Nah] How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold Bloomfield
  49. [Liked] FreedomNomics by John R. Lott
  50. [Loved] The Game by Neil Strauss: Maybe the most entertaining thing I have ever read, even if it's 80% bullshit.
  51. [No] Too Young to Retire by Marika and Howard Stone
  52. [Meh] How to Heal Depression by Harold Bloomfield
  53. [Meh] You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought by Peter McWilliams
  54. [Skimmed] Secrets of the SuperOptimist by W.R. Morton and Nathaniel Whitten: A spoof of self-help books.
  55. [Skimmed] Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy Wilson
  56. [Nah] Find It Online by Alan M. Schlein
  57. [Liked] 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married by Linda and Charlie Bloom
  58. [Liked] Homepage Useability: 50 Websites Deconstructed by Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir
  59. [Meh] How to Want What You Have by Timothy Miller
  60. [Liked] The Non-Designer's Web Book by Robin Williams
  61. [Liked] Robin Williams Design Workshop by Robin Williams
  62. [Liked] Addiction-Proof Your Child by Stanton Peele
  63. [Meh] Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  64. [Liked] Find It Fast by Robert I. Berkman: Basically a list of easy-to-use research sources for all topics.
  65. [Really Liked] Evolution for Everyone by David Sloan Wilson
  66. [Liked] Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams
  67. [Meh] Habit Control in a Day by Robert Gunn
  68. [Nah] How Successful People Win by Ben Stein
  69. [Meh] Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better by Albert Ellis
  70. [Really Liked] Three Minute Therapy by Michael Edelstein
  71. [Meh] The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn
  72. [Meh] Introducing Islam by Ziauddin Sardar
  73. [Really Liked] Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  74. [Really Liked] Give Me a Break by John Stossel: Stossel is a great writer, and he tells it like it is, including his own continuous failures.
  75. [Skimmed] The World as I See It by Albert Einstein
  76. [Meh] The Associated Press Stylebook by Asscoiated Press
  77. [Skimmed] The Writer's Legal Guide by Tad Crawford
  78. [Really Liked] Get the Facts on Anyone by Dennis King: Great intro guide to investigative methods.
  79. [Skimmed] Starting & Running a Successful Newsletter or Magazine by Cheryl Woodard: Looks pretty good, but focuses on magazines that require $100,000 or more to launch, which isn't my interest.
  80. [Nah] "I've Forgotten Everything I Learned in School!" by Marilyn vos Savant
  81. [Meh] Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra
  82. [Liked] The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi: Great artwork.
  83. [Meh] Jump Start Your Book Sales by Marilyn & Tom Ross
  84. [Liked] The Public Domain by Stephen Fishman: Definitive.
  85. [Nah] Writing That Works by many: Tedious.
  86. [Skimmed] The Nature of Human Values by Milton Rokeach
  87. [Skimmed] Understanding Human Values by Milton Rokeach: These are definitive works on the subject, but very technical and boring.
  88. [Loved] A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston
  89. [Liked] The 60-Second Shrink by Arnold Lazarus
  90. [Meh] The Accidental Mind by David Linden
  91. [Liked] The Copyright Handbook by Stephen Fishman: The average writer needs to know FAR less than this, but if you get sued or plagiarized, this'll come in handy.
  92. [Liked] 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer: Focused on bestsellers. Offers no selection of the "best" methods. Still, it's exactly what the title says. A good reference.
  93. [Meh] Dante for Beginners by Joe Lee: Has a nice summary of The Divine Comedy.
  94. [No] Judaism for Beginners by Charles Szlakmann
  95. [Liked] Introducing Psychology by Nigel Benson
  96. [No] House of Cards by Robyn Dawes: Beware.
  97. [No] Dating for Dummies by Joy Browne
  98. [Liked] Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-House
  99. [Meh] The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Living on a Budget by Peter J. Sander
  100. [No] The Complete Life's Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown
  101. [No] The Mastery of Love by Don Ruiz
  102. [No] Inner Work by Robert Johnson
  103. [Meh] Staying Sane by Raj Persaud
  104. [Nah] Ask Marilyn by Marilyn vos Savant
  105. [Nah] More Marilyn by Marilyn vos Savant
  106. [No] Honest to God by Brad Blanton
  107. [Liked] Isabelle and the Angel by Thierry Magnier
  108. [Meh] Tuesday by David Wiesner
  109. [Nah] Grassroots Journalism: A Practical Manual by Eesha Williams
  110. [Meh] Float Like a Butterfly by Ntozake Shange
  111. [Meh] Ooh-la-la (Max in Love) by Maira Kalman
  112. [Meh] The Last Human: A Guide to 22 Species of Extinct Humans by G.J Sawyer: Of course, I got this book for the big photographs of reconstructed human ancestors, which were fun.
  113. [Liked] Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century by Wayne Weiten: Wow! A college textbook of self-help in its 8th edition! It's an unusual self-help book because it's a textbook: big, color diagrams and photographs; lots of cartoons and sidebars; writing with "such as" instead of "like"; silly introductions like "key terms are identified with blue italicized boldface"; way too much time spent on Freud; etc. It also has the benefits of being a college textbook: it does't oversimplify things, it rarely preaches, it's usually based on good science, it's fairly comprehensive, etc.
  114. [Meh] Changing for Good by James Prochaska
  115. [Meh] The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie
  116. [Skimmed] Nature via Nurture by Matt Ridley
  117. [Liked] A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis
  118. [Really Liked] How You Feel Is Up to You by Gary McKay
  119. [Liked] Don't Believe it for a Minute by Arnold Lazarus
  120. [Liked] Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
  121. [Really Liked] Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire-- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa: By far the funnest, quickest, and most wide-ranging introduction to evolutionary psychology, a field of study that will hopefully help to destroy moralism this century.
  122. [Liked] The Non-Designer's Type Book by Robin Williams
  123. [Meh] Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney
  124. [Nah] Smartypants by Maira Kalman
  125. [Liked] Introducing Romanticism by Duncan Heath
  126. [Liked] Introducing Ethics by Dave Robinson
  127. [Meh] Introducing Modernism by Chris Rodrigues
  128. [No] Introducing Kant by Christopher Want
  129. [Liked] Introducing Fractal Geometry by Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon
  130. [Nah] Introducing Lacan by Darian Leader
  131. [Liked] Managing Your Mind by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope
  132. [Really Liked] Self Help Without the Hype by Robert Epstein:
  133. [Liked] Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt: Good stuff, but hasn't been updated or edited down like I'd like it to be.
  134. [Liked] I Can If I Want To by Arnold Lazarus and Allen Fay
  135. [Liked] The Joy of Philosophy by Robert Solomon
  136. [Liked] I Stink! by Kate McMullan
  137. [Liked] That Summer by Tony Johnston: A rare unhappy children's book about a young boy who dies of cancer.
  138. [Liked] The Three Questions by Jon J Muth
  139. [Liked] Flotsam by David Wiesner
  140. [Liked] Fireboat by Maira Kalman
  141. [Liked] Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
  142. [Meh] Gaspard on Vacation by Anne Gutman
  143. [Liked] The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
  144. [Liked] The Great Ideas: A Lexicon of Western Thought by Mortimer J. Adler: A vital reference. 102 essays that introduce the ideas and history of 102 ideas central to Western thought. Some chapters, like "Man" and "God" and "Love" are bigger than others. Here are the 102: angel, animal, aristocracy, art, astronomy and cosmology, beauty, being, cause, chance, citizen, constitution, courage, custom and convention, definition, democracy, desire, dialectic, duty, education, element, emotion, eternity, evolution, experience, family, fate, form, god, good and evil, government, habit, happiness, history, honor, hypothesis, idea, immortality, induction, infinity, judgment, justice, knowledge, labor, language, law, liberty, life and death, logic, love, man, mathematics, matter, mechanicsc, medicine, memory and imagination, metaphysics, nature, necessity and contingency, oligarchy, one and many, opinion, opposition, philosophy, physics, pleasure and pain, poetry, principle, progress, prophecy, prudence, punishment, quality, quantity, reasoning, relation, religion, revolution, rhetoric, same and other, science, sense, sign and symbol, sin, slavery, soul, space, state, temperance, theology, time, truth, tyranny and despotism, universal and particular, virtue and vice, war and peace, wealth, will, wisdom, world.
  145. [Meh] The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom & Marilyn Ross: The more books on self-publishing I read, the more I respect John Reed's book. Most books list every single tip imaginable. Reed only gives the best, and in more detail. Reed even offers great arguments for not doing commonly recommended things like getting an ISBN and trying to get on Amazon.
  146. [Loved] The Investigative Reporter's Handbook by many: Awesome. By far the best book on finding tough-to-locate information about anyone or anything.
  147. [Nah] HP Certified: HP-UX System Administration by Rafeeq Ur Rehman
  148. [Loved] The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams
  149. [Liked] The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
  150. [Loved] Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
  151. [Liked] Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz: I'm pretty libertarian, so I agree with lots in this book. But it is too biased. Boaz focuses on what supports his view, and dismisses or ignores what doesn't.
  152. [Liked] Spunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik
  153. [Really Liked] Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love by Richard Carlson
  154. [Meh] Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras by Jeffrey Masson: Masson loves animals. Here he waxes on about 100 of his favorite types. Within, you'll learn that: (1) armadillos are the only mammals who routinely give birth to genetically identical quadruplets, (2) frogs can mate for months at a time, (3) koalas have tiny brains, possibly because they sleep for 20 hours a day, (4) lobsters can live nearly a century, and much more.
  155. [Liked] Tea with Milk by Allen Say
  156. [Liked] Another Perfect Day by Ross MacDonald
  157. [Meh] The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  158. [Meh] Talkin' About Bessie by Nikki Grimes
  159. [Loved] Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson
  160. [Liked] The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine: How to choose a publish-on-demand company, how to analyze contracts, etc. Great info. The best POD companies? Booklocker, BookPros, Cold Tree Press, Dog Ear Publishing, Infinity Publishing, iUniverse, Lulu, Outskirt Press, RJ Communications, Twilight Times, Virtual Bookworm, Wasteland Press, Writers Exchange E-Publishing International, Xulon Press.
  161. [No] Finding Help by Nan Giblin and Barbara Bales: A list of books to help in many crisis situations. Too outdated, too uncritical.
  162. [No] Our Existential Predicament by James Park
  163. [Meh] The Budget Kit by Judy Lawrence: A complete system for setting up your own budget. I'm sure it will be helpful to people who want every little detail laid out for them. It just didn't fit me, that's all.
  164. [No] How to Publish and Promote Online by M.J. Rose and Angela Adair-Hoy: Lots of listings, resources, basic knowledge, etc. Not the most critical guide. Very basic. One nice section was "Popular Online Promotional Tactics That Didn't Work." Many of the URLs listed are already broken. Contains stupid things like lists of search engines you can register for and 30 pages of URLs for book-related sites.
  165. [Liked] Stunning Sentences by Bruce Ross-Larson
  166. [Liked] Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett
  167. [Liked] Introducing American Politics by Patrick Brogan
  168. [Liked] Introducing Aristotle by Rupert Woodfin
  169. [Liked] Introducing Jung by Maggie Hyde
  170. [Liked] Introducing Heidegger by Jeff Collins
  171. [Liked] Introducing Descartes by Dave Robinson
  172. [Nah] Fire Your Shrink! by Michele Weiner-Davis
  173. [Liked] Oracle at the Supermarket by Steven Starker: A nice survey of the history of self-help, though it doesn't try to select good titles from bad. (Basically, its opinion is that there are no good self-help books, which is close to the truth.) This is much better than rants like SHAM or I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional.
  174. [Really Liked] How to write, speak, and think more effectively by Rudolf Flesch
  175. [Liked] Heidegger for Beginners by Eric Lemay & Jennifer A. Pitts
  176. [Liked] Malcolm X for Beginners by Bernard Aquina Doctor
  177. [Liked] Structuralism and Poststructuralism for Beginners by Donald Palmer
  178. [Nah] Domestic Violence for Beginners by Alisa Deltufo
  179. [Liked] Satre for Beginners by Donald Palmer
  180. [Liked] Eastern Philosophy for Beginners by Jim Powell
  181. [Liked] Introducing Empiricism by Dave Robinson
  182. [Nah] Introducing Derrida by Jeff Collins
  183. [Nah] Introducing Foucault by Chris Horrocks
  184. [Meh] Introducing Wittgenstein by John Heaton
  185. [Meh] Introducing Existentialism by Richard Appignanesi
  186. [Nah] Black Women for Beginners by Saudra Sharp
  187. [Really Liked] Black Holocaust for Beginners by S.E Anderson
  188. [Nah] Postmodern Pooh by Frederick Crews: A parody of postmodern intellecuals.
  189. [No] Clowns for Beginners by Joe Lee
  190. [Meh] Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  191. [Liked] Chomsky for Beginners by David Cogswell
  192. [Meh] Zen for Beginners by Judith Blackstone & Zoran Jospiovic
  193. [Meh] The Jewish Holocaust for Beginners by Stewart Justman
  194. [Meh] Anxiety and Depression: The Best Resources to Help You Cope by Rich Wemhoff
  195. [Liked] The History of Cinema for Beginners by Jarek Kupsc
  196. [Liked] Foucault for Beginners by Lydia Alix Fillingham
  197. [Meh] The Expert Witness Handbook by Dan Poynter
  198. [Meh] Living Cheaply with Style by Ernest Callenbach
  199. [Meh] Spin Sisters by Myrna Blyth
  200. [Hated] Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
  201. [Skimmed] The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould: A nice collection of Gould's essays. I think I prefer Dawkins, though Gould may prove to be more correct about how genes work.
  202. [Loved] The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  203. [No] Second Acts by Stephen M. Pollan
  204. [Hated] It's All in Your Head by Stephen M. Pollan
  205. [No] How to Think Straight About Psychology by Keith Stanovich
  206. [Meh] Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  207. [Meh] Crazy Therapies by Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich
  208. [No] Major in Success by Patrick Combs and Jack Canfield
  209. [Hated] You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen
  210. [No] The Art of Happiness by Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama
  211. [Hated] Happiness is a Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman
  212. [No] Creating Love by John Bradshaw
  213. [Hated] The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura Schlessinger
  214. [Hated] Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer: One of the most annoying books I have ever read.
  215. [Liked] 100 Best Books for Children by Anita Silvey: The author has worked with children's books for 35 years, and read about 125,000 of them. Selection criteria: one book per athor, 1902 to 2002, preschool to age 12, books that have communicated over several generations, high writing and artistic quality, in print in the U.S., and popularity with children, parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers. Her list follows. Board books (birth to age 2): Goodnight Moon, Mr. Gumpy's Outing, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Freight Train, The Carrot Seed. Picture books (ages 2-8): Miss Nelson is Missing!, Madeline, The Snowman, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Millions of Cats, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Swamp Angel, The Snowy Day, Leo the Late Bloomer, The Story of Ferdinand, John Henry, Swimmy, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Snowflake Bentley, Make Way for the Ducklings, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Officer Buckle and Gloria, Curious George, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Where the Wild Things Are, Caps for Sale, Doctor de Soto, The Polar Express, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Tuesday, A Chair for My Mother, Seven Blind Mice, Harry the Dirty Dog. Books for beginning readers (ages 5-7): Frog and Toad are Friends, Little Bear, Henry and Mudge, The Cat in the Hat. Books for young readers (ages 7-9): Ramona the Pest, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, Morning Girl, The Hundred Dresses, My Father's Dragon, Stone Fox, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, Misty of Chincoteague, Babe: The Gallant Pig, Betsy-Tacy, Sarah Plain and Tall, The New Kid on the Block, Grandfather's Journey, Little House in the Bid Woods. Books for middle readers (ages 8-11): The Secret Garden, The Incredible Journey, The Dark is Rising, The BFG, Because of Winn-Dixie, Half Magic, Harriet the Spy, Humbug Mountain, Lincoln: A Photobiography, Julie of the Wolves, The Wind in the Willows, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, Redwall, The Phantom Tollbooth, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Rabbit Hill, A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Pippi Longstocking, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, The New Way Things Work, Winnie-the-Pooh, Anne of Green Gables, The Great Fire, Rascal, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Bridge to Terabithia, Hatchet, Tom's Midnight Garden, The Westing Game, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Holes, The Cricket in Times Square, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Marry Poppins, Charlotte's Web. Books for older readers (ages 11-12): The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Tuck Everlasting, Behind the Attic Wall, Catherine Called Birdy, Johnny Tremain, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Out of the Dust, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Giver, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, The Hobbit, Homecoming.
  216. [No] Islam for Beginners by M.I. Matar
  217. [Hated] The Highly Sensitive Person by Elain Aron
  218. [Liked] Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus: The delightful inspiration for Disney's also-delightful The Great Mouse Detective.
  219. [Ummm...] Foundations of Success: A Harvard-Trained Scientist Separates the Science of Success from Self-Help Snake Oil by Stephen J. Kraus: This one's tricky. Watch for a review on my website.
  220. [Skimmed] Secrets from an Inventor's Notebook by Maurice Kanbar: Looks like a pretty useful inventor's guidebook.
  221. [Loved] The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz: With recommendations by Philip Zimbardo, Martin Seligman, and David Myers - three of the few non-shitty self-help gurus - I couldn't pass this up. I was no disappointed. This is a well-argued and surprising book about how often more choice is bad. His central points: (1) we would be better off if we embraced certain voluntary constraints on our freedom of choice, (2) we would be better off seeking "good enough" instead of "best", (3) we would be better off if we lowered our expectations about the results of decisions (4), we would be better off if our decisions were nonreversible, (5) we would be better off if we paid less attention to what others around us were doing. What do we do about it? (1) Choose when to choose - most of our choices aren't worth the anxiety, time, and money we put into them. (2) Choose, don't pick - often, you shouldn't pick any available options, or you should create a new option. (3) Go for "good enough" more often, not "best." (4) Think about opportunity costs. (5) Make your decisions nonreversible. (6) Practice an attitude of gratitude. (7) Regret less. (8) Anticipate that things will not satisfy you long. (9) Control and lower your expectations. (10) Stop social comparison. (11) Constrain yourself happily.
  222. [Nah] Vagabonding by Rolf Potts: Mostly a collection of inspiring quotes, motivational musings, and lists of books and websites. This book is really about giving yourself permission to live simply and depart for long-term world travel, not about how to do it.
  223. [Hated] Change Your Life in 7 Days by Paul McKenna
  224. [No] Jung for Beginners by Jon Platania
  225. [Liked] Piaget for Beginners by Adriana Serulnikov
  226. [Really Liked] Hot to Write, Publish, & Sell Your Own How-To Book by John T. Reed: I love reading Reed. Stuffed with wonderful, specific information not available from other sources. Reed gives advice selectively - seperating what works from what doesn't help - rather than giving every possible tip like Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual.
  227. [Meh] Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  228. [Loved] The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  229. [Meh] Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
  230. [Meh] Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  231. [Liked] Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
  232. [Meh] Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
  233. [Liked] If At First... by Sandra Boynton
  234. [Really Liked] Arthur's Nose by Marc Brown
  235. [Liked] Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
  236. [Liked] The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel: Cartoon drawings of hindu deities, with snappy, funny blurbs about their function and importance.
  237. [Meh] Buddha for Beginners by Stephen T. Asma
  238. [Meh] Plato for Beginners by Robert Cavalier
  239. [Liked] Kierkegaard for Beginners by Donald Palmer
  240. [Meh] Classical Music for Beginners by Stacy Combs Lynch
  241. [No] Arabs & Israel for Beginners by Ron David
  242. [No] The History of Eastern Europe for Beginners by many
  243. [Liked] Saussure for Beginners by W. Terrence Gordon
  244. [Meh] Hemmingway for Beginners by Errol Selkirk
  245. [Meh] Pan-Africanism for Beginners by Sid Lemelle
  246. [Meh] Brecht for Beginners by Michael Thoss
  247. [Nah] Elvis for Beginners by Jill Pearlman
  248. [Nah] Jazz for Beginners by Ron David
  249. [No] Freud for Beginners by Richard Osbourne
  250. [Liked] Derrida for Beginners by Jim Powell: Just happens to be the book that finally explained deconstruction to me in understandable terms. Actually not a very good book. I suspect our estimation of a book has more to do with what we have and haven't read before than the actual mettle of the book, unless you've read 500 books on the subject and still think a new book is great.
  251. [Meh] Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen: Pop-economics is better than pop-psychology, and this is an entertaining read, but it's not as useful as it claims.
  252. [Loved] Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology by many: A vital resource.
  253. [Liked] Philosophy for Beginners by Richard Osborne: A nonfiction comic book about the history of philosophy. Isn't particularly more clear about things than other introductions to philosophy, unfortunately.
  254. [Skimmed] What Uncle Sam Wants by Noam Chomsky: "Chomsky made readable" is the idea of this book, but it still is made of passages like this: "Postwar planners like Kennan realized right off that it was going to be vital for the health of US corporations that other Western industrial societies reconstruct from wartime damage so they could import US manufactured goods and provide investment opportunities." Is there any way to talk about politics in a way that makes sense to non-politically-minded people? I guess we aren't this book's audience. I could understand this, but it wasn't exactly a pleasure to read.
  255. [Liked] The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman
  256. [Liked] Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  257. [Liked] If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  258. [Loved] The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  259. [Loved] The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  260. [Liked] Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  261. [Meh] How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan
  262. [Liked] Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury by Jan Brett
  263. [Liked] How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
  264. [Loved] Your Favorite Dr. Seuss by Dr. Seuss
  265. [Liked] Ansel Adams at 100
  266. [Nah] Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health by many: A nice long list of self-help books, movies, and Internet sites rated by thousands of psychologists. Since it's a popularity contest, the ratings were pretty poor and uncritical. Tony Robbins even got a positive recommendation by this book's methods. Ugh.
  267. [Skimmed] Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology by many: A big intellectual volume trying to found "hedonic psychology" - the study of happiness. The authors overview the search for an objective measure of happiness, subjective well-being, the problems of predicting future feelings, defining pleasures and pains, self-regulation, quality of life, hedonic adaptation, the neurobiology of pleasure, etc. The most interesting chapter for me was "causes and correlates of happiness." I hope somebody writes a layman's book on all this.
  268. [Skimmed] The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick: Kinda rough, but pretty good. Simple and almost funny.
  269. [Hated] Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
  270. [Nah] Destructive Emotions by Daniel Goleman
  271. [Hated] The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  272. [Skimmed] Introduction to Private Investigation by Joseph Anthony Travers: Basic info on qualifications, how to get started, surveillance techniques, narcotics information, legal information, interview techniques, and more.
  273. [Skimmed] The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt: 10 principles of positive psychology, and how they relate to ancient wisdom.
  274. [Loved] The Best Self-Help and Self-Awareness Books by Stephen Fried & Ann Schultis
  275. [Liked] Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethink for Beginners by the Crimethink Workers Collective: A collection of essays, quotes, thoughts, cartoons, and art begging its readers to question everything: religion, work, capitalism, democracy, gender roles, intellectual property, hygiene, sexual normalcy, etc. An anarchist manifesto.
  276. [Liked] Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  277. [Liked] The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  278. [Liked] How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
  279. [Loved] Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson
  280. [Skimmed] God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger: Nothing new, but a nice little survey of the latest on God's existence, focused on science not philosophy.
  281. [Skimmed] Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson: Here are the "secrets": (1) ask for more than you expect to get, (2) never say yes to the first offer, (3) flinch at proposals, (4) avoid confrontational negotiation, (5) be a reluctant buyer and seller, (6) say "You'll have to do better than that," (7) pretend you have to convince a higher authority, (8) don't make a concession and trust the other side will make it up to you later, (9) negotiate your fee before you do the work, (10) never offer to split the difference, (11) push through impasses, (12) if stalemated, change the situation, (13) resolve a deadlock by bringing in a 3rd party, (14) always ask for a trade-off, (15) play good guy/bad guy, (16) nibble off just a little bit more, (17) don't make equal-size concessions, (18) pretend to withdraw your offer, (19) position the other person to feel good about you, etc.
  282. [No] Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives by Laura Schlessinger
  283. [Liked] How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein
  284. [Hated] The Heart of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  285. [Hated] What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
  286. [Meh] The Unknown God by Anthony Kenny: Not-so-great essays on agnosticism, Anselm, wittgenstiein and religion, and the justification of faith.
  287. [Liked] The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs: Jacobs read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, and here he lists every entry for which he has a joke or amusing anecdote. Example: "Absalom. Absalom, a biblical character, has the oddest death so far in the encyclopedia. During a battle in the forest, Absalom got his flowing hair caught in the branches of an oak tree, which allowed his enemy, Joab, to catch him and slay him. This, I figure, is exactly why the army requires crew cuts."
  288. [Nah] Real Love by Greg Baer
  289. [Liked] Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman
  290. [Liked] Logotypes & Letterforms by Doyald Young
  291. [Skimmed] Law 101 by Jay Feinman: Very helpful introduction to how U.S. law works.
  292. [Loved] The Gospel of Food by Barry Glassner: A delightful debunking of all the food myths.
  293. [Liked] How We Know What Isn't So by Thomas Gilovich: A good overview of the reasons we form false beliefs.
  294. [Hated] Be Here Now by Ram Dass
  295. [Really Liked] The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer: Bauer teaches you how to read, how to read 5 literary genres specifically (novels, autobiographies, histories, dramas, poetry), and gives a brief history of each. Fair and entertaining.
  296. [Meh] Evil in Modern Thought by Susan Neiman: Too dry for me.
  297. [Meh] 50 Facts That Should Change the World by Jessica Williams: aka How to Lie with Statistics.
  298. [Really Liked] Your Secrets Are My Business by Kevin McKeown: A very engaging and succinct mix of McKeown's personal stories of uncovering corporate fraud or digging up dirt on A-list celebrities, his tips on how to protect your privacy, and his practical tools for finding out anything about anyone.
  299. [Nah] Life's Missing Instruction Manual by Joe Vitale
  300. [Liked] Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong
  301. [Liked] The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  302. [Liked] No Ordinary Land by Virginia Beahan and Laura McPee
  303. [Meh] Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  304. [Skimmed] Why Truth Matters by Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom
  305. [Liked] Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity by John Stossell: I'm sure Penn & Teller love this. Like their show Bullshit, it pretends to be a scientific debunking but really just promotes Stossel's libertarian views. He's more correct than his opponents, but not because he uses good science or reasoning, and certainly not because he's always right.
  306. [Liked] Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman
  307. [Liked] Robert the Rose Horse by Dan Heilbroner
  308. [No] Homecoming by John Bradshaw
  309. [Liked] The Flying Circus of Physics by Jearl Walker: The physics behind everyday life, from basketball to flight to crumbling paper into a ball to road corrugation to surfing to the doppler effect to electric guitars to insect eyes. Amazing.
  310. [Skimmed] Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell: A thorough introduction to film production, form, content, technique, and criticism. Real critics have probably studied this book intensely. Fake critics like me just start blogging and throwing ignorant opinions around.
  311. [Loved] Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  312. [Skimmed] The Investigator's Little Black Book 3 by Robert Scott: A reference for P.I.s. A dictionary of resources, from ABA Routing Numbers to Driver Records to Missing Children to Zip Code Information. Anatomy of a check, lawful bank account sources, Antomy of a VIN, Privacy Law and Survival Guide (wiretaps, debt collection, student records, etc.), and more.
  313. [No] Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams by Steven K. Scott
  314. [Meh] The Insider's Guide to Mental Health Resources Online by John Grohol
  315. [Liked] Flap Your Wings by P.D. Eastman
  316. [Meh] Happiness by David Lykken: Nothing particularly wrong with it. It's just the 10th book I've read with all the same damn information.
  317. [No] Loving What Is by Byron Katie
  318. [Skimmed] The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber: Argument: small business is not a genius entrepreneurial risk that works. It is a turn-key expression of who you are. Apply universal steps to your passions and launch a business.
  319. [Skimmed] Simple & Direct by Jacqes Barzun: Rudolf Flesch still can't be beat.
  320. [Hated] Bad Childhood Good Life by Laura Schlessinger
  321. [No] The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
  322. [Meh] Fool's Paradise: The Unreal World of Pop Psychology by Steward Justman
  323. [Loved] Bringing Out the Best in People by Aubrey Daniels

  324. The rest of the list is here.

Check out this gem from the 1967 edition of Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language:

ain't... [snip]

--Usage. AIN'T is so traditionally and widely regarded as a nonstandard form that it should be shunned by all who prefer to avoid being considered illiterate. AIN'T occurs occasionally in the informal speech of some educated users, especially in self-consciously or folksy or humorous contexts (Ain't it the truth! She ain't what she used to be!), but it is completely unacceptable in formal writing and speech. Although the expression ain't I? is perhaps defensible-- and it is considered more logical than aren't I? and more euphonious than amn't I?-- the well-advised person will avoid any use of AIN'T.

I just read The Art of Plain Talk (1946) by Rudolf Flesch, and it inspired me to rewrite the first paragraph of Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes (1999). Here is the original:

This is an optimistic book, written by a pair of realists. Optimistic, because this volume rests on the belief that ordinary individuals can enhance their enjoyment of life by understanding - and altering - the way they deal with their money. Realistic, because your authors know that correcting money-related behavior is a lot like tinkering with a golf swing or getting along better with in-laws: it may take a while, and for every remedy there's always the danger that you will create a whole new set of problems. Still, our purpose here is straightforward, and we are confident of its merits. We believe that by identifying the psychological causes behind many types of financial decisions, you can effectively change your behavior in ways that will ultimately put more money in your pocket and help you keep more of what you already have.

My version:

This is an optimistic book written by two realists. Optimistic, because we think that you can improve your life by understanding and changing the way you use your money. Realistic, because we know that changing your money habits is like tweaking a golf swing or getting along better with in-laws: it may take a while, and you might actually make things worse. But we know that we can fatten your wallet by showing you the psychology behind your money decisions.

Personally, I think my version is better. What do you think?

I'd say your version. It communicates the same concepts, more concisely.

Though I do think there is a place for long-windedness--just not here.

Your version is a like Cliffsnotes version of the paragraph and personally I like it. It is shorter and to the point, but then, it won't sell.

Realistic, because we know that changing your money habits is like tweaking a golf swing or getting along better with in-laws: it may take a while, and you might actually make things worse.

That line doesn't click - for me at least. Neither in the original paragraph nor in your re-interpretaion. If you are plain talking, such similes don't work.