Books I’ve Been Reading

I totally stole this idea from, like, 1500 other people.

This is a continually updated list of books I’ve read starting with the last one I completed before blogging regularly and going up until whatever I’m reading currently.

 

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow: This one took me a good while to get through due to its density, but it was 100% worth it. It has become one of my favorite books.

Washington-A Life by Ron Chernow: I was advised by several friends not to dig deeper into the history hole, but one comment of affirmation spiraled me into the past of George Washington. Here’s my blog post about it.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: This book made me feel things I never thought I could feel. In totally opposite ends of the spectrum too. Unbridled anger, heart-wrenching sorrows, and copious joys. Here’s my scatterbrained afterthoughts.

Hardcore Self-Help: F**K Anxiety by Robert Duff, PHD: My brother got me this book for my birthday. It is a very quick read, but it gives insanely simple tips for handling anxiety ridden situations that don’t take much effort and don’t make you feel like a sanctimonious prick.

The Whoniverse: The Untold History of Space and Time by George Mann & Justin Richards: This is a chronological history book regarding the history of the Doctor Who universe. The style of the two authors can clash, as it caters to some emotional aspects of the show instead of the historical significance of the episodes. I read this 300 page sucker in one sitting however. Definitely worth the money for a Whovian. Also, the book is accompanied by beautiful illustrations.

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert: This book was different from the others on the list. It was an entertaining look at the flaws in our country and how re-un-flawed they are not going to become again. Written in character, this has definitely piqued my interest in what else the man Stephen Colbert or the character Stephen Colbert has published.

The Story of the Beauty and the Beast by Madame de Villenveuve: The earliest version of the classic tale in its entirety. There are definitely some issues with it. The main one being that the story ends and the remaining forty percent of the book is exposition about the past and the wedding and it is really very dreadful. The core of the story is still rather impressively written.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I decided to reread this out of impulse and I have found an altogether renewed appreciation for the novel. The story of a regular guy getting wrapped up in an affair that is altogether familiar and unbelievable compels one to live their life. No, it compels you to live your life better.

Proof: A Play by David Auburn: This very short, two act play is a look at numbers and mental illness. I read this in under an hour, but felt well acquainted with the characters by the end of it. This book not only how the loved ones of the mentally ill can have a hard time understanding or supporting the sick, but how things only make sense inside a diseased head.

Weather in the Courtroom: Memoirs from a Career in Forensic Meteorology by William H. Haggard: I picked up this book because it was the newest one at the James E. Walker Library. I have grown up in a household that is well-grounded in the study of weather and the use of forensics. Reading a book that combines both was a no-brainer. It can get a little heavy on the jargon, but the book does not skimp on definitions or explanations for the uninitiated.

Doctor Who: Whographica: An Infographic Guide to Space and Time by Simon Guerrier, Steve O’Brien and Ben Morris: A coworker lent this book to me and I devoured it in an hour and a half. It uses statistics pulled from every episode of Doctor Who from 1963 to 2015 and puts them into easy to digest (for the most part, some are very information heavy) charts and graphs to compare and contrast decades of episodes. Definitely a good coffee table book.

Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman: This looks to be my first graphic novel in a long time. It is a short read, it took me under and hour, but I like it. Not only does it give a nice look at the DC Comics personification of Death, but it subtly gives a look at some of the things we take for granted in life as well. This was recommended by Danny Avidan of the Game Grumps.

Raised in Captivity by Nicky Silver: This play was given to me to read by a close friend of mine who is directing it in a few months. It presents realism through absurdity and takes the fragile nature of things like religion, sex, sanity, and death and throws them into a washing machine and sets them on fire. The characters go through their own frank and partial journeys and it is a wonderful little play. Definitely Rated R though.

A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madelelaine Olneck, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previto, and Scott Zigler: Literally what the title says. Under 100 pages of clear and simple techniques and guidances to improve the actor. Not preachy and not terribly dense. I definitely see myself referring back to this book in the future. It helps make things clear.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: A great book of poetry that discusses love and loss in only so many words. Some of these poems have circulated around Twitter for quite some time. They are accompanied occasionally by drawings and every page has a harsh truth on it.

Doctor Who: The Forgotten by Tony Lee: A graphic novel about the Doctor going through a museum and reminiscing about his past lives. An excellent Tenth Doctor story that really goes through the history of the show and has some very good quiet moments. Definitely worth the read.

everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too: a book by Jomny Sun: A new book by someone I have always enjoyed on Twitter. The book is about an ‘aliebn’ who needs to study ‘humabns’. He meets all sorts of friends and learns about life. Started it and couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell: The first audiobook I have ever listened too. I have had it for awhile and finally started listening to it when I was coming back from Atlanta. I enjoyed the full cast read. Especially listening to the varying adventures of Lafayette hunting a werewolf and Beaumarchais secretly funding the American Revolution.

The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh: The first in a stint of five plays I read over the last semester of school. My first exposure to it was a scene performed in one of my classes. It is a sick look at the function of a writer in an authoritarian state. A beautiful read and definitely recommended.

Taste of Sunrise by Susan Zeder: This is a bilingual play in English and American Sign Language. I was asked to be a part of the original read-through, but was unable to be a part of the production. That will likely go down as my greatest regret in my college career. Tuc, the main character, is beautifully written and a wonderful lead.

Hand to God by Robert Askins: My first college play AND my first production in two years. This is a look at a boy and his possibly possessed puppet. It was great playing the lead and really dissecting the differences between good and evil in the world of an abused teen. And how he copes with it.

Stop Kiss by Diana Son: A look at the dark possibility every lesbian couple goes through, and, in a way, any woman. The play is performed with scenes out of chronological order for maximum “punch you in the gut” effectiveness. A great play with great female roles in it.

Church & State by Jason Odell Williams: A new work about gun control that is beautifully done in two long scenes. A senator responds to a school shooting at his children’s school and it has profound effects on his campaign. The play mainly follows the action of his decision making process and the repercussions of it. A shocking read that I would love to be a part of. I was lucky enough to have a dialogue with the playwright after reading it.

Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott: A story made famous by Audrey Hepburn. Three criminals want a doll inside a blind woman’s house. The complex plan and how it plays out are the basis of the play. The main character, Suzy, is a wonderfully capable character and shows a woman handling her own against some ruuude dudes.

Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker: According to my friend and roommate, the man who recommended this play to me, all of Annie Baker’s plays are slice of life looks at different real world situations. This is a few weeks in an acting studio and we see how lives can build up and fall apart.

Mother Hicks by Susan Zeder: Technically this is the sequel to Taste of Sunrise, but this play was written first. To talk about the plot of this play would spoil the end of it’s prequel and that is not worth doing. I preferred Taste of Sunrise, but I understand how this play led to the creation of it’s predecessor.

Kill Shakespeare by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Belanger: This comic is set in a world where William Shakespeare is the god of all of his characters, from Hamlet to Richard III to Puck. They all seek him. Some, to kill him and gain his quill. Others, to help end the tyranny of the reigning powers in his lands. A 12 issue series that was a thrill from start to finish. It read it in two sittings.

John by Annie Baker: I will be making a separate blog post about this play. It will have my entire thoughts on it. Here’s the link.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz: This is a short two act, two scene play about the behind-the-scenes feelings of one of a fictional wrestling company’s heels. How he deals with a face and how he tries to bring someone into the starlight who doesn’t necessarily want it. Beautifully done. I absolutely loved reading it.

Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan: Published in 2017, set in 2019. A very politically motivated one act that is a forty page scene going into the implications of a Trump presidency. Plenty of this work around right now. Not very good, and I guess I’m part of the target audience.

The Birds by Conor McPherson: This short play was about people in an event unknown to us, sort of. We know that birds have attacked. But we get people in this apocalyptic situation and there is a significant twist that took me off guard at the end. Definitely and hour that was well spent.

Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins: A story of a family with many issues divvying up what is left of their father’s clutter. This one really hit home for me and was very well executed. A white family dealing with their racist history and how new things are incredibly hard to learn. A great three act play.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang: A fun little play that I dramaturged about a family that has its issues, but comes together for what is important in the end. Instead of staying isolated, they reach out to each others and those beyond the house that really warms the heart. Really recommended if you want a funny story about a dysfunctional family that makes you feel better at the end.

The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein:  I listened to this book through Audible and it was narrated by Matthew Mercer. It is an interesting future tale that looks at the social, religious, and technological implications of teleportation. But all is not as it seems, and this book had me on edge from start to finish.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher: I listened to this on Audible as well, narrated by Carrie Fisher herself. She found diaries she wrote during filming the first movie (Star Wars) and she tells the reader about everything she remembers from that time, including her affair with Harrison Ford. It is a lovely look at one of the most dynamic women of Hollywood.

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