Jason Rodriguez

Writer, designer, web + email advocate.

Books Read: March 2017

Published on April 3, 2017

This month was a little light on reading, and a little heavy on the comics (as if that’s even possible…). Here’s what I read this month and what I thought about it all.

Chicken with Plums

by Marjane Satrapi - Grab a copy

I had previously read and enjoyed Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis I & II, and equally enjoyed this story of a broken-hearted musician and his family. It was depressing, sure, but beautifully done. I love her style and the simplicity of her comics. Time to hunt around for more at the library…

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy - Grab a copy

I’ve been meaning to read this one for years and finally pulled it off after my wife’s constant prompting. She read it a month or so ago and absolutely loved it. I thought it was fine, but honestly didn’t see what all the fuss was about. It was well-written and depressing and made me wonder about what the hell happened to the world, but after the first few sections, it got quite repetitive. It felt like The Walking Dead—each season is technically different, but they are all essentially the exact same plot. You can only watch so many episodes before getting sick of it and hating the writers. I still totally want to watch the movie of The Road, though. Curious to see how they made that compelling.

Weaving the Web

by Tim Berners Lee - Grab a copy

This was a really interesting history of the web by the creator of the web. It was fascinating hearing all of the inside stories about competing technologies and early challenges the web faced and, perhaps more importantly, Tim Berners Lee’s thoughts on privacy and the future of the web. It’s a bit dated at this point, but definitely worth the read for anyone interested in the history of technology.

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

by Roz Chast - Grab a copy

I absolutely loved this comic from Roz Chast. I had never read anything of hers before and went into this one blind, literally just pulling it off the library shelf without too much consideration. It’s a wildly honest and funny look at family life, aging parents, and the inevitability of death. At times hard to read and fear-inducing (if your parents are getting up there in years), but mixed with a healthy dose of humor that makes it a wonderful read. I love the looseness of Chast’s style, too.

Louis Riel

by Chester Brown - Grab a copy

Another random pick. I had never heard of Louis Riel (or Chester Brown) before, but really liked this history of his life and fight for minority rights in early Canadian history. Like Marjane Satrapi, Chester Brown employs a deceptively simple style that works perfectly with the writing style and subject matter. There’s a lot to take in while reading Louis Riel, but Chester Brown pulled it off masterfully. Absolutely recommended.

Deep Work

by Cal Newport - Grab a copy

By far my favorite read of the month. I started this last year and got pulled away by other books after the first chapter, but I’m so glad that I finally picked up a copy again and finished it. I’m becoming obsessed with Cal Newport’s philosophy on work and distractions and am increasingly convinced that he’s hit on the way work should be. Definitely working on implementing some of his strategies over time, he’s absolutely convinced me. Read it if you haven’t already.

Wonder Boys

by Michael Chabon - Grab a copy

A thoroughly enjoyable read from Michael Chabon. If you’re familiar with the movie of the same name, there aren’t too many surprises in the novel. It’s a funny, entertaining, and quick read. I laughed out loud a few times, especially at the demise of Grossman. Brilliantly played.