This is a nice thread. Let's have a book edition.
I just read my first book by Haruki Murakami, "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle". Murakami gets a lot of praise in these parts, and after reading this book, I can confirm that it isn't unfounded. The book to me felt a bit weaker towards the end, but I really liked hearing the stories of Nomonhan, Siberia, and such.
The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley
Difficult to read if only because everyone has a difficult name. Gives a highly-fictionalized account of the many trials of the Norse Greenlanders in a style sort-of reminiscent of the sagas. Greenlanders were the hardest of Viking remnants, who managed to eke out an existence through primitive pastoralism in the worst theoretically-habitable place on earth. They did this for close to five hundred (miserable) years. They died out due to isolation, climate change, and invasion on two fronts. Take note, Western World! Or read about Rapa Nui, I guess.
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Taken from a series of magazine articles, it sure has that feel to it. Interesting stuff, most of which is plastic is bad, m'kay. If you deny the human influence on climate change, then buy six copies, have them delivered overnight air, burn them, read it on your good iPad and have a good laugh. Otherwise, it might make you a little nervous about the future.
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Las Vegas is in Clark County, Nevada. This story is about Hugette Clark. The woman inherited something like $300M, when that kind of money was a lot more than a Powerball prize. She used her fortune to live as a recluse in a New York apartment for thirty years and thirty+ more in a hospital room. All this while she owned sizable estates on the Santa Barbara and Delaware coasts that she hadn't visited in sixty years. Purely from an accounting perspective, this is a lot of fun!
Man I need to start reading again
I think the thanking is a good idea. For whatever reason, people get unduly attached or committed to their items. I guess it's the sunk cost fallacy. Making that commitment explicit by "thanking" it, makes it easy to get over and realize it was just a tool that had a purpose which is no longer needed without feeling guilty.
<i>Constellation Games</i> by Leonard Richardson
A disenchanted antihero game developer quickly becomes a pivotal player in a first-contact scenario by reviewing alien video games. I loved this book and I plan to read it again soon. Highly recommended for science fiction fans who also happen to be programmers.
Serotonin, by Houellebecq.
It was bleak. I love this author.
I recently finished The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje. It had some really breathtaking prose, and the narrative structure is also fantastic.