Book List


Title Author Thoughts Rating
The Sound and The Fury William Faulkner I wish I had read an overview of the book prior to spending months frustrated with Benjyโ€™s section. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Absalom, Absalom William Faulkner A frustrated ___ attempting to relive its legendary past. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Light in August William Faulkner A mini-epic of sorts, with twisting storylines. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner I canโ€™t understand the individual sentences, the closer I read the less I understand. I can only understand paragraphs at a time. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(The Possessed)
Fyodor Dostoevsky โ€œEvery nation has its own idea of evil and good, and its own evil and good. When many nations start having common ideas of evil and good, then the nations die out and the very distinction between evil and good begins to fade and disappear. Reason has never been able to define evil and good, or even to separate evil from good, if only approximately; on the contrary, it has always confused them, shamefully and pitifully; and science has offered the solution of the fist.โ€ Connections with โ€˜The Righteous Mindโ€™ by Haight and the โ€˜rationalist delusionโ€™. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Idiot Fyodor Dostoevsky โ€œThe Russian people, as soon as they reach the shore, as soon as they believe itโ€™s the shore, are so glad of it that they immediately go to the ultimate pillars.โ€ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Notes from Underground Fyodor Dostoevsky Self-destructive, self-pitying, bitter man from underground. The tone of this book cuts deep. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Alexander Solzhenitsyn A convictโ€™s worst enemy is another convict. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcรญa Mรกrquez Fantastical epic that spans generations. Are you an Aureliano or a Josรฉ Arcadio? ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Trial Franz Kafka Shame, guilt, bureaucracy. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell First two books contain fancy prose, must read with dictionary. Followed by corny mystery novel, comedic relief escape and mediocre dystopia of corporate Korea. Last book is post-apocalyptic Hawaii written in spoken vernacular, slightly more intelligible than Huck Finn. Books strung together with weak connections, ends unexcitingly with jumbled message for reader. ๐ŸŒŸ
Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk Chaotic narrative. Abundance of great quotes. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Paradise Lost John Milton Finished after eight months of reading. After reading barely anything the first two months, I resolved myself to read ten minutes every morning, and began to make serious progress. Even so, epic poetry is difficult to digest. I could only read at most a few pages in one sitting.

An entincing, Romantic Satan, fallen from Heaven, plans his revenge on God and Man. Milton makes Satan relatable to the reader.

Notable quotes:
  • The mind is its own place, and in itself/
    Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
     - The Enemy
  • Then who created thee lamenting learn,/
    When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.
     - Seraph Abdiel to the Adversary
Notable passages:
  • God's Justification (III, 80-134)
  • The Lamentation of Satan (IV, 32-113)
  • Adam's Lamentation of Death (X, 720-844)
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe I found rich Igbo culture and tradition, demonstrating cultural invariants โ€” archetypes. The hypermasculine Okonkwo supresses the feminine and perishes, emasculated.

I begin to understand Achebeโ€™s criticisms of Conrad, though I disagree with most of them.
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad Marlow gazes at the savages:
  • "[W]hat thrilled you was just the thought of their humanityโ€”like yoursโ€”the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. [...] there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which youโ€”you so remote from the night of first agesโ€”could comprehend."
I hope to be as eloquent as Kurtz, in the face of death
  • "I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terrorโ€”of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some visionโ€”he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: 'The horror! The horror!'"
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce Blog Post
  • โ€œWhen the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those netsโ€
Lord of the Rings: Trilogy J. R. R. Tolkien The trilogy took me half a year to read. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov One of the best openers Iโ€™ve read:
โ€œLolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.โ€
The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Life of Pi Yann Martel ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky โ€œEverything is permitted.โ€ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway It tolls for thee. Me obscenity en la obscenity. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Dubliners James Joyce RIP Parnell. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
East of Eden John Steinbeck timshel - contrast with The Grand Inquisitor ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes Heartwrenching ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut Did not really understand it, will not rate ย 
The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas (pรจre) โ€œJe suis Edmond Dantรจs!โ€ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Catch-22 Joseph Heller Funniest book Iโ€™ve read, as well as one of the most poignant. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Great Expectations Charles Dickens ย  ๐ŸŒŸ
Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Animal Farm George Orwell ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger One angsty kid ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Handmaidโ€™s Tale Margaret Atwood ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Enderโ€™s Game Orson Scott Card ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
A Hitchhikerโ€™s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
1984 George Orwell ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Brave New World Aldous Huxley ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury โ€œIt was a pleasure to burn.โ€ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Lord of the Flies William Golding ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ



Title Author Thoughts Rating
Symposium Plato The form of beauty surpasses any manifestation of it. ย 
Crito Plato ย  ย 
Apology Plato ย  ย 
Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche One must remember to read philosophy and not simply Nietzsche.

Manโ€™s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl Happiness should not be pursued, it must ensue โ€ฆ a reason to live. Pursue meaning. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli Be bold like Agathocles. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Republic Plato ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


Title Author Thoughts Rating
Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond This book should really be called: Crops, Cattle and Geography. The dominance of the West is rooted in:
  1. Prevalence of crops for domestication
  2. Prevalence of large animals for domestication
  3. Permeable geography for diffusion of domesticates and technology
  4. (European disunity for diverse risk-taking)
Your Inner Fish Neil Shubin Much more connected with ancient life forms than we realize. Lots of analogies between genes. Multicelluarity, body, skulls, limbs, middle ear, bipedal, brains. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Nudge Richard H. Thaler
Cass R. Sunstein
Set good defaults.
Reading this after Thinking, Fast and Slow did make it seem like a simpler version of the latter.
Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman โ€œConfusing experience with the memory of it is a compelling cognitive illusionโ€”and it is the substitution that makes us believe a past experience can be ruined. The experiencing self does not have a voice. The remembering self is sometimes wrong, but it is the one that keeps score and governs what we learn from living, and it is the one that makes decisions. What we learn from the past is to maximize the qualities of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience. This is the tyranny of the remembering self.โ€

Is the act of memory not an experience to be optimized itself?
The Righteous Mind Jonathan Haidt How terrifying is a teleological view of morality!
  • Moral judgments are rooted in instinct, and reason only comes as post-hoc justification.
  • Humans are (necessarily) 90% chimp and 10% bee
  • Which moral frequencies are you tuned to?
Sapiens Yuval Noah Harari ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Grand Design Stephen Hawking ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Physics of the Impossible Michio Kaku Interesting, but far-fetched. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking One of the books that motivated me to study physics. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


Title Author Thoughts Rating
On China Henry Kissinger For those who donโ€™t understand China, but want to. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
So Good They Canโ€™t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Cal Newport โ€˜Donโ€™t follow your passionโ€™ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It Chris Voss,
Tahl Raz
An emotional approach to negotiation. Personally useful. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win Jocko Willink,
Leif Babin
There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
The Big Short Michael Lewis Putting credit default swaps as โ€˜mortgage bondsโ€™ in synthetic CDOs, betting on thin air, sold to fools at AIG. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


Title Author Thoughts
Howl Allen Ginsberg ย 
The Hollow Men T. S. Eliot ย 
Hamlet William Shakespeare โ€œWhat a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?โ€
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T. S. Eliot ย 


ไนฆๅ ไฝœ่€… ๆ„Ÿๆƒณ ่ฏ„็บง
(Dream of the Red Chamber)
(Cao Xueqin)
ย  ๆญฃๅœจ้˜…่ฏป
(Red Rose, White Rose)
ๅผ ็ˆฑ็Žฒ
(Eileen Chang)

(The Golden Cangue)
ๅผ ็ˆฑ็Žฒ ย  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(Love in a Fallen City)
ๅผ ็ˆฑ็Žฒ ๆˆ˜ไบ‰ไฟƒ่ฟ›ไบ†ไธคไธช่‡ช็ง็š„ไบบ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(Border Town)
(Shen Congwen)
็ฅ–็ˆถ็š„็ฌ‘่ฏๅคŸๅคš็š„ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(Yu Hua)
(Fortress Besieged)
(Qian Zhongshu)
ๆด‹ๆฐ”๏ผŒ่ฏปๅŽๆๅฉš ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(Red Sorghum Clan)
(Mo Yan)
็ฒ—็ณ™็š„ๆ–‡็ฌ”๏ผŒ้ข‘็น็š„ๆ—ถ้—ด็ฉฟๆขญใ€‚ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
(China in Ten Words)
(Yu Hua)

(Rickshaw Boy)
(Lao She)
(The True Story of Ah Q)
(Lu Xun)
โ€œๅฏ็ฌ‘๏ผโ€ ย 
(A Madmanโ€™s Diary)
โ€œๆˆ‘่‡ชๅทฑ่ขซไบบๅƒไบ†๏ผŒๅฏไป็„ถๆ˜ฏๅƒไบบ็š„ไบบ็š„ๅ…„ๅผŸ๏ผโ€ ย 
ไผผๆฐดๆตๅนด ็Ž‹ๅฐๆณข
(Wang Xiaobo)
ๅ™่ฟฐๆททไนฑๆœ‰่ถฃๅฆ‚็ฌฌไบŒๅไบŒๅ†›่ง„ใ€‚ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
ไธ‰ๅ่€Œ็ซ‹ ็Ž‹ๅฐๆณข
(The Golden Age)
ๅฅๅญๅฆ‚ๆตทๆ˜Žๅจใ€‚ๆ•ฆไธ€ๆ•ฆไผŸๅคงๅ‹่ฐŠใ€‚ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
ไธ‰ไฝ“ I
(The Three-Body Problem)
(Liu Cixin)
ๅŽ้ขๆ‰ฏๅพ—ๆœ‰็‚น่ฟœใ€‚ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ