2013-2014 Reading List

If you know me (which, chances are, you do) then you know that my mother is a Librarian. Now when people find out that my mom is the worlds greatest librarian they often ask something on the order of, “huh…so do you like…read a lot of books?” And the truth is no, at least not anymore than the average person. I mean I read (most) of the required reading in High School, but that’s about it.I have’t read a book for my own personal enjoyment rather than to check off some teacher’s list in years. Well that is until last summer.

See over years and years worth of not reading, I’ve accumulated quite the “anti-reading list”. That is books that I haven’t read that everyone and their mother (including my own) says I should. The most notable entry on this list was the all mighty Lord of the Rings series. So there I was having freshly graduated High School, way back in 2013, and I said to myself, “Matt” I like to talk to myself in the third person, “Matt you still have not read Lord of the Rings, what have you done with your life you worthless sack of crap,” and on and on like that for about 15 minutes. And so I decided from now on, I will pick a bunch of books to read over the course of the following year. Man, I probably could have just said that and skipped all the BS. Well anyways here is this years (completed) reading list and what I thought of all of the books.

13-14 reading list

Lord of the Rings:

For far too long I have put this series off. There were few things I didn’t already love about the Lord of the Rings when I decided to read it, hell I even liked the tie-in movie games (although the new Hobbit Trilogy is lacking)! So it wasn’t a question of would I like the books more as it was a question how much would I like them. And let me tell you Mr. Tolkien did not disappoint. Somehow he took something I already loved and made it 50 times better, and with words no less! Whenever a diehard LotR fanboy tells you that the books were way better and made a lot more sense, they weren’t lying, it is absolutely true. Easily my favorite book series.

Paddle Your Own Canoe:

Entry number two comes from America’s favorite manly man Ron Swanson (aka Nick Offerman). The thing I love about Nick Offerman is that he basically is Ron Swanson minus the libertarianism. He eats red meat, he knows his way around the outdoors, and he even built the freakin canoe on the front cover! Besides being an all-around bad ass he’s also a really chill dude, the kind of guy who is truly deserving of my respect and the kind of person I aspire to be like, also he’s hilarious. Definitely beats Steve Jobs’ biography.

The Hunger Games:

Let me start by saying that, yes, I recognize that I’m about 2 years late on this one, but I needed to fill my pop culture quotas somehow. When I started reading the Hunger Games I immediately realized it could be one of two things. Either it would be a deep, and suspenseful social commentary on the ways in which our glorifies violence and brutality…or it would be your run of the mill teen-romance novel. Yeeeah it was the second one. With that said it was still actually pretty enjoyable, I had fun laughing at all the ridiculousness and over dramatized romance. Although may I just say Catniss is an absolute dumbass, I realize she’s supposed to be all cold and emotionally-isolated or whatever, but A NARWHAL COULD UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON! Sorry, but you can only listen to a main character ask, “Why’s he being nice to me?” So many times before it becomes irritating. Overall though, a fun read.

The Code Book:

So right around Spring Break, I ran out of books to read. I had finished Lord of the Rings, I read all about Nick Offerman’s life, and Catniss still hadn’t realized that Peeta is totally into her. So when I adjourned to my quaint Vermont home for some rest and relaxation I decided to pick up a book. I just so happened to pick up this little gem for two reasons. 1) it sounded cool, Codes? Books? Sign me up! And 2) the alternative was The Magic School Bus. Don’t get me wrong, They’re great books, but not really the genre I was looking for. Overall I really liked it. With the exception of one chapter, it is a good pace, with a great mix of history, mystery, and puzzles, as well as some cool technology at the end. Very informative.

Death By Black Hole:

Ah, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Bill Nye notwithstanding, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is my all-time favorite Scientist, and a strong contender for favorite person ever. Few other people have the same passion and enthusiasm when it comes to science. Neil DeGrasse Tyson can make even the most mundane scientific discoveries sound as badass as Teddy Roosevelt bare-knuckle brawling with a lion. he makes science cool, and that’s why I love him. And this book perfectly captured his essence, displaying all the majesty and badassery of the cosmos, one smooth-talking line at a time. My only gripe is that Mr. DeGrasse Tyson spent but a single chapter (and a short one at that) explaining how one would die in a black hole. The most wonderful non-fiction book I have read to date.


Required Reading:

Believe it or not I actually had some required reading to do this year. Most of which was for my US History class.

Killing McKinley

It started off really cool, but then got boring as it went along. Featured a lot of Teddy Roosevelt being a bad ass though, which is always a plus! 6/10

Best War Ever

Interesting commentary on how badly we remember World War 2, in summary: it sucked. 6/10

The Devil’s Highway

An interesting discussion of the perils of Illegal Immigration. I would definitely recommend a read if you’re into that sort of thing. 7/10

Coming of Age in Mississippi

A fairly interesting story about what it was like to be poor and black in the south during the Civil Rights Era, does not sound like it was fun. 5/10

Living with Complexity

Given that the school I go to is an Engineering School the higher ups thought it would be fun to assign every Freshman an engineer-y type book to read before the year began. I hate you, but the book wasn’t too bad. 6/10


Not really sure what this book is. I think it’s a list of Georgia Tech traditions or something, I don’t know I didn’t actually read it, I just put it on my book list to make the whole thing look better. T/10

If you want to get in on next year’s reading list stay tuned! ’14-’15 Reading List coming soon!



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