My Summer Reading List

I’ve just this hour finished a book that I think everyone should read. It’s called The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time and it was written by economist and visionary thinker Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. This book is easily the most important book I’ve read in ten years and I will certainly pick it up and read it again at some point. Next up I’m going to read Dr. Sach’s follow up book, called Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

This summer I also made my way through two long novels, both over 900 pages. The first was a reread of Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I read this book first when it came out, more than ten years ago, but it’s the kind of book you want to read over again, it’s dense and nerdy like all good books should be.

Next I read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. This book was hard to put down, it’s a real page-turner. But I have to say that sometimes I found myself yelling at the characters for the daft choices they were making. Sometimes it seemed that a character was having things done to them by the author in order to set things up so that later other things could happen. I guess what I’m saying is that the construction of the story was pretty obvious, and sometimes frustrating. But I did enjoy the book enough that I plan to read the sequel which is called World Without End.

I’ve just started reading A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. I’m excited to read this because I loved Haddon’s previous book, called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Haddon’s writing is dry and witty and I’m sure I will giggle all the way through this book.

So what books have YOU been reading this summer? Got any I should add to my reading list?

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13 Responses to “My Summer Reading List”

  1. Iaax Page
    August 23rd, 2009 18:26

    Hey girl, this summer I have been reading only marketing and sales books, I think like for the last year or so, as well as some technical books on user experience and design, I think that the only novel I got is the spanish classic by Saavedra: El Quijote de la Mancha. So instead of that i will recommend you reading the book by Alan Cooper called: About Face 3. The personas part is by far the most important thing here, as the book has not been updated and looks so much into the windows UI application development. However I believe you will find it useful.


    Iaax Page

  2. Coby
    August 23rd, 2009 18:47

    I really liked The End of Poverty as well — although I was really wishing it had been about 5 chapters longer. His theories for eradicating poverty at the national level of undeveloped countries is very robust. It would have been (equally) interesting to me, if he had tackled poverty in developed and semi-developed nations as well. Especially considering that the poorest people in developed countries wouldn’t qualify for the extreme poverty level of $1 USD/day, but arguably have similar purchasing power parity. Good list, thanks!

  3. SarahQ
    August 23rd, 2009 19:31

    Hi. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years, as I often fantasize about moving to the area. Cozumel is my dream though. Maybe someday I will . . . but you’ve done a pretty good job of showing me a more realistic version of life there, and I need that sometimes so I don’t just pack up and head south blindly.
    Anyway, I too read “The Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” over this summer and really enjoyed them both. So much so that I was actually a little depressed when I finished the second one.
    However, the void was filled when I started reading “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. A novel about an Australian who escapes from prison, flees to Bombay and gets into a seemingly endless set of adventures. My description doesn’t do it justice, but I will say it is easily one of the best books I have ever read. It is supposedly based on truth. Also supposedly Johnny Depp is working on a film version due out some time in 2011.
    I’m always looking for a good read but “Shantaram” is going to be a tough act to follow for me. I highly recommend it.
    And thank you again for helping me keep my “moving to Mexico” fantasy in check. Keep up the good work!

  4. RiverGirl
    August 23rd, 2009 21:07

    Iaax – Thanks bro, I’ve got About Face 3 on my Amazon Wishlist now, will get it when I go to the US this fall.

    Coby – I agree with you, I kept thinking about Mexico’s brand of poverty as I was reading The End of Poverty. He doesn’t really flesh out how Mexico can end it’s poverty, though he does say that it has the natural resources needed to do so.

    Sarah – My realistic version of life here isn’t what everyone experiences here. Don’t give up on your dream, but do know that life here can be as complicated as anywhere else.

    I was a little depressed when I finished Pillars of the Earth, I think because of all that killing and maiming.

    Thanks for the suggestion of Shantaram, that looks like something my book club might like, I’m going to suggest it to them.

  5. Gary Denness
    August 24th, 2009 12:18

    Pillars of the Earth was a great read. I finished the sequel a couple of months ago. It’s more of the same, but still a great read.

    Have you read ‘We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families’ by Philip Gourevitch?

  6. RiverGirl
    August 24th, 2009 16:31

    Gary – I’ve added that book to my Amazon wishlist. It looks powerful. How depressing is it?

  7. Gary Denness
    August 25th, 2009 11:22

    It has some very depressing moments, but there’s plenty of uplifting stories in there too.

    House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende was another good read.

  8. Working Gringa
    August 25th, 2009 19:20

    I’ll put in another vote for Shantaram… I loved that book.

    Reading Water for Elephants now and enjoying it… maybe more so because I just loved an obscure TV series called Carnival and it reminds me of that.

    Thanks for the reference to The End of Poverty. Will go look for that (on my iPhone Kindle!)

  9. RiverGirl
    August 25th, 2009 19:28

    Gary – That sounds good, I will definitely add it to the list.

    Ellen – Thanks for the votes, I’m definitely going to push both of those books on the Book Club.

  10. Cheri Head
    September 19th, 2009 15:25

    I recently read The Sum of Our Days by Isabelle Allende and really loved it. It made me want to go and read everything else she has written. Also, I just finished South of Broad, Pat Conroy’s latest book. I think Pat Conroy is one of the greatest living writers. His writing is so beautiful, and his stories are so dense. They make you laugh, cry and everything in between. One of his earliest books, Prince of Tides, is probably my favorite book of all time. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t just it by the movie, which was crap.)

  11. Bustor
    October 6th, 2009 06:44

    Read “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by author Robin Sharma.
    A thin book but with a lot of thought provoking material.
    You can purchase this book on internet too I think.Don’t go for Internet copies of this book.The actual book in your hands gives one the ‘real’ feel of the written matter and message of the book.

  12. RiverGirl
    October 9th, 2009 17:24

    Thanks for the book ideas, they are on the list now!!

  13. Tamara
    February 1st, 2010 23:39

    May I suggest another book? I guess that I will! It’s called “Busting Loose from the Money Game” and there is also “Busting Loose from the Business Game” if you are playing that one. Anyway, I just started reading your blog about Cancun because I have a friend who lives there. I’ll be glad to read more about your experience. As per these two books that I recommend, you created this reality in Cancun (pat yourself on the back for pulling off such an illusion) and you have full power to recreate your life. I’ve just launched into this next step in understanding the limitations I previously placed on myself and still appreciate how I did it! Wishing you the best.

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