What are You Reading?

Posted by bob on December 19, 2013

I sometimes get asked the question, “What are you reading?”  The query is not about what I was reading at that exact moment, rather the request implies something more general, such as “what have you been reading this week, this month, or in the past year?”

I have always enjoyed some kinds of reading, and I guess I read a lot.  I usually have one or two general interest periodicals that I scan daily; whether in print (local newspaper) or online (national news sources).  I read science fiction for fun; mostly short story anthologies, but also some long-form as well. A certain amount of my reading is allocated to technical subjects: trying to keep up on electronic or mechanical trends that would influence new designs.  I always try to reserve a little bandwidth for interesting books that don’t fit any of these categories.  I hope that even a little reading outside of my primary interests might make me a better person, if not a better engineer.

I just finished reading an interesting book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  I will probably buy a couple of extra copies for some family members.  This is not a perfect book.  The author sometimes dives off into discussions that did not interest me as much as the main thread, which explores the differences between extroverts and introverts.  I found her explanations of how some studies reveal a lot about our personalities to be very helpful and surprising.  You might find some parts more interesting than I do.  Towards the end of the book, she writes about strategies for raising children who fall somewhere along the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  My kids are grown now, but maybe you would find this topic directly helpful.  It does make me wish I had read this book 30 years ago.

This week I am deep in reading League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru.  Full disclosure: I love watching American football.  I have been a home-team fan for several different teams, based on where I lived at the time.  I root like crazy for underdog teams and stomp around the house like an ogre when they lose--which is frequently, since like an idiot, I love to root for the team that should not win.  This book is written in a captivating, storytelling style.  As I write this, I am about half-way through the book and finding it incredibly difficult to put down, even when other responsibilities are calling me.  This book is forcing me to re-evaluate my fandom.  Great books are like that: they can change long-held beliefs and they can change the world.

What are you reading this month?