Here are the books I finished in August.
1. Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
ABOUT: Digital truth serum. To truly know a person, don’t talk to them. They’ll tell you shit. Instead, check their Google search history. Trust big data. Big data doesn’t lie.
THOUGHTS: Don’t trust surveys. Those are always fake; people trying to put their best foot forward.
2. God’s Problem by Bart Erhman
ABOUT: Suffering. And what God has done about it (nothing? Is the answer is nothing?).
THOUGHTS: There are a myriad of explanations that people whip out of their asses to explain the suffering in this world. Free will. Original sin. Fallen nature. The devil. I always thought those sounded wonky. Thank goodness it wasn’t just me. I agree with Bart Erhman 100%: It takes a really heartless person to truly believe that narrative (paraphrased). And to oversimplify the problem of suffering is to ignore the lived experience of trillions and trillions of people.
Bart Erhman is amazing. This is like, the seventh book of his that I’ve gone through. The others were Misquoting Jesus, How Jesus Became God, Jesus Interrupted, Forged, Did Jesus Exist? and Jesus before the Gospels. Not to mention the many debates and lectures of his I’ve devoured. But I’ve got to say that this one really shows his character. It takes compassion to arrive at the conclusion he has.
3. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
FORMAT: Physical Book (hardcover)
GENRE: Fiction/ YA Novel
ABOUT: It was the 10th Hunger Games (in contrast, Katniss Everdeen was the victor of the 74th Hunger Games). Teenage Coriolanus Snow had one shot at glory as a mentor at the games. The previously great house of Snow was in shambles, but nobody could know. Then, Snow was assigned the female tribute from District 12: Lucy Gray Baird, named after William Wordsworth’s 1799 poem “Lucy Gray“.
THOUGTHS: The original Hunger Games trilogy was the work of a goddess. And the goddess has delivered again. When I first learned that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes would portray the much hated President Snow as a teenager, I was concerned. After all, a dystopian story is only as strong as its antagonist, and would diluting the character inadvertently affect the fortitude of the original trilogy? Turns out I had nothing to worry about. When you can sympathise and root for a character you hate, that’s writing at its vertex.
I can’t wait for this to hit the big screens. It’s gonna be a musical, for sure.
4. Predictably Irrational by Dr. Dan Ariely
ABOUT: Behavioural economics. Which is the fusing of two disciplines: Economics and psychology.
THOUGHTS: Now I know a little more about what makes people tick. But I still don’t know what makes me tick.
5. Day Trading by Matthew G. Carter
GENRE: Non-fiction/ Finance
ABOUT: How to trade.
THOUGHTS: Welcome to the dark side.