Books I finished in February, 2016

Just the books where I actually reached the last page, not the in-progress stacks on the nightstand.

Small Favor – Jim Butcher

Book 10 in the Dresden Files series. If only I could Google up the minor characters I've forgotten without spoiling later volumes.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton G. Malkiel

In summary: No one's found a system to beat the market, and you can't, either. So put your money in index funds and be patient.

The Compleat Werewolf – Anthony Boucher

Science fiction and fantasy stories from the 40s, many still funny (like the self-important Germanic Studies prof who discovers he's a werewolf) or unsettling (like the dusty mummies lurking just out of sight in the American Southwest).

One of our Thursdays is Missing – Jasper Fforde

Fforde is downright ballsy when it comes to changing the rules of his fictional universe to fit whatever story he wants to write today - and that's part of the fun. Thursday Next herself barely appears in this book, which mostly revolves around her fictional counterpart. Being fictional isn't much of a detriment in the Ffordiverse, after all. (As a bonus, the Toast Promotion Board is prominently featured.)

Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret – James S. Dorr

Somewhere between sombre fantasy and poetic horror. Several especially striking stories are set on a parched future Earth whose inhabitants seem more concerned with their dead than with their own brief lives.

Complete Icelandic – Hildur Jónsdóttir
Beginner's Icelandic – Helga Hilmisdóttir and Jacek Kozlowski

I not only read them, I did all the exercises! I've posted more complete reviews of both books.

Frank in the 3rd Dimension – Jim Woodring

Woodring's full-color Frank comics are hypnotically beautiful, so at first it seemed like a shame to sacrifice that richness for the buzzy red-and-blue of 3D glasses. But the 3D effect isn't just a gimmick - it makes the surreal landscapes almost uncomfortably real, as though you could reach right in and you really shouldn't.

Everything Is Obvious – Duncan J. Watts

Common sense is good at telling us why individual people do what they do. (Well, it's okay.) But even though human beings try to apply that same intuition to group behavior, common sense is very poor at predicting what books will be hits, or what policy will get results. And worst of all, Watts argues, we don't even notice how often it leads us wrong. An eye-opening book - though I'd argue that some of Watts's proposed solutions fall into the same traps he himself points out elsewhere.

Written on March 2, 2016