What I’m Reading/Watching 2016

Because I skipped 2015, this page will serve two functions: to record what I experienced in 2015 and what I experienced in 2016. I have gone through a TON of books in 2015 — mostly professional titles. While I finished a lot of them, there are many which I read strategically (which meant, that I read parts of it, but didn’t finish). Sometimes, this is only a chapter.


  1.  Giver. Lois Lowry
  2. Sharpshooter. David Madden
  3. Palace of Dreams. Ismail Kadare
  4. Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher. Several other books by Gallagher (including Readicide). But this one was the most valuable.
  5. Making Sense of Algebra: Developing Students’ Mathematical Habits of Mind. By E. Paul Goldenberg. (also reviewed)
  6. Making Number Talks Matter by Cathy Humphreys.
  7. Various books about teaching literature classes by Carole Jago
  8. Tales of Civilians and Soldiers by Ambrose Bierce
  9. Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane
  10. Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.
  11. Schopenhauer’s Das Will by Jack Matthews. (also reviewed)
  12. Several biographies about Schopenhauer. (Browsed, but I read substantial parts of Schopenhauer: A Biography (2010) by David Cartwright).
  13. Classics of Civil War Fiction by David Madden
  14. Words for the Hour : A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Mille,2005
  15. Pancachantra (the Patrick Olivelle translation).
  16. Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry : From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century. Burton Watson translator. Frankly, the most amazing anthology I have ever read! (Book review will be coming!)
  17. Conversations with Eckermann,  by Goethe. Started
  18. Mind for Numbers : How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley. This book is in enormous demand!
  19. Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith ( funny kids novel)
  20. Nate the Great books. (also kids books. Uncanny resemblance to the Charlie Brown comics of yesteryear).
  21. Analects. Confucius (started)
  22. Complete Works of Zhuangzi translated by Burton Watson. Circumstances prevented me from reading too much of this very important and rare book, but I will try to find a way to resume reading soon (Update: I checked it out again; re-reading now!)
  23. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  24. Childhood’s End by Arthur Clarke, (2nd time)
  25. What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson
  26. Tangled Web of the Civil War and Reconstruction: Readings and Writings from a Novelist’s Perspective, Madden, David,  2015.
  27. How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
  28. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur Clarke. Really thought-provoking! Loved it.
  29. How to become a straight A student by Cal Newport. This guy’s insights into learning and school are brilliant; all of his books should be read!
  30. Lytle, Andrew. Long Night, 1936.
  31. Many Thousands Gone by John Peale Vincent. A remarkable short story collection of Southern households disrupted after the war by carpetbaggers and ex-slaves. It’s probably worth pointing out that this year  I wrote a bibliography of Civil War fiction.
  32. Ms. Coverlet’s Magicians by Mary Nash. A wonderful and frivolous book (actually two books if you include While Ms. Coverlet Was Away) about three siblings who run a household as a result of their parents and guardians being preoccupied with other things.
  33. You are now less dumb by David McRaney; Also, You are Not so Smart!
  34. 15 Minute Mathematician by Anne Rooney
  35. You have to go to school: you’re the teacher by Renee Rosenblum-Lowden
  36. Flatland (for second time).
  37. Aleck Maury, Sportsman by Caroline Gordon. only started.
  38. How to be a High School Superstar by Cal Newport.
  39.  Unwritten War: American Writers and the Civil War by Daniel Aaron.
  40. Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
  41. Is Journalism Worth Dying For? : Final Dispatches by Anna Politkovskaya. Also, The Dirty War : A Russian Reporter in Chechnya by Anna Politkovskaya
  42. How to Win Friends and Influence People
  43. Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies by Cheryl Forberg
  44. The Time Paradox : The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life by John Boyd, Philip Zimbardo and Philip G. Zimbardo
  45. A History of Modern Criticism by Rene Wellek. Actually this is an 8 volume set, so I’m not sure I will come anywhere close to reading it, but I bought low-cost versions of Vol 5 and 6 (these are probably the most important volumes anyway). What I’ve read so far has been a delight!
  46. Pre-Suasion: Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini. Long-awaited sequel to his Influence book.
  47. Earth Abides by George Stewart
  48. Various things by Ursula Le Guin. A short story collection, Left Hand of Darkness and Steering the Craft: A 21st century guide to sailing the sea of story. Probably one of her YA titles as well. Update: I did not care for Left Hand of Darkness. Lots of interesting premises, but the story meandered way too much. I’d rather be watching Star Trek.
  49. “At Issue” Reading Anthologies. Nice and recent anthologies of articles about a specific topic. Right to Die and Animal Rights and Superfoods.
  50. Doing Good Better by William MacAskill
  51. Calm Brain by Gayatri Devi.  I’ve also been peeking at various books on meditation by Jon, Kabat-Zinn, Daniel J Siegel and others
  52. Real Happiness: Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg is the only one which seems to lay out the steps for a meditation regime.
  53. Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Max Shulman
  54. True Porn Stories by Ali Davis. (Re-reading, pretty hilarious!)
  55. Why don’t students like school? : a cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for your classroom by Daniel Willingham.
  56. Lit up : one reporter, three schools, twenty-four books that can change lives by David Denby
  57. Unretirement by Chris Farrell
  58. Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools by Roger Schank. An extraordinary and revolutionary book.
  59. Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
  60. Ngugi
  61. Flowering Tree and other oral Tales. A.K. Ramamujan
  62. Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov
  63. Mastering Drupal 8 Views by Gregg Marshall
  64. Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power by Robert Staynton. (an Internet friend and creator of Docbook XSLT stylesheets).
  65. American Electra by Stig Dalager
  66. Other Shore: Two Stories of Love and Death by Paul Hina. Hina is a great poet/storyteller who happens by coincidence to live in Athens, OH as well. An extremely well-crafted psychological tale of love and death. Note that all of Hina’s works are available for free on Smashwords (but cost money on Amazon).
  67. Epub 3 Best Practices by Matt Garrish. I just wanted to say that I have referred to this book and Paul Salvette’s epub formatting book often.
  68. The Library by Andrew Lang. PD
  69. Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Century by William Lyon Phelps. PD. A surprisingly feisty book of essays.
  70. Eclogues: 12 stories by Guy Davenport
  71. Penrod by Booth Tarkington. A comic public domain title about a young boy with Don Quixote ambitions. I loved it.
  72. Various Choose Your Own Adventure stories (at least 20)
  73. Creative Attitude by Roger Schank.
  74. Solving the procrastination puzzle : a concise guide to strategies for change / Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D.
  75. Another Shot by Joe Kita. Funny collection of essays by a 40 year old who sets up crazy second chances for himself (like, trying out for his high school basketball team — 20 years after graduating). Clever stuff.



  1. Kapo. Superb WW2 internment camp drama. BTW, it’s an Italian film.
  2. That Side of the Border
  3. Human Condition. This definitely towers above everything else.
  4.  Different World (TV series)
  5. Master of None (TV series)
  6. It follows. Amazing horror film with psychological dimensions and incredible suspense.
  7. Time Lapse. Great Twilight Zone light drama.
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Inside Man, Morgan Spurlock
  10. CBGB. vulgar/gross but very fun romp through the NY punk world in the 70s.
  11. Amadeus (rewatched).Just gets better with every viewing.
  12. Northern Lights
  13. Nymphomaniac (von Triers). Amazingly, I still haven’t watched all of it. It felt too much like highbrow artsy porn.
  14. Mr Nobody. Fascinating concept, great visuals, but the story kind of sagged after a while.
  15. Imitation Game. suspenseful, fascinating biopic.
  16. Avatar. Overblown.
  17. It felt like love. Very well done teen sexuality drama.
  18. In the Loop
  19. Veep
  20. One I love. Liked this Internet comment, “romantic comedy is a twist in itself because it turns into some crazy twilight zone shit.”
  21. O is for Orgasm
  22. Melissa and Joey. Surprisingly I watched the whole series. Not particularly good, but it had moments.
  23. Teacher of the Year. A real winner of a film — and funny too!
  24. Ned Rifle. Latest of the Hal Hartley film. I love it by default.
  25. Winter on Fire. Compelling doc about Ukraine’s maidan uprising. Must see, but I get the feeling that the documentary (and reporters) enabled the drama.
  26. All American High School Revisited. Mediocre documentary, but fascinating details about that high school.
  27. What we do in the Shadows. Hilarious New Zealand vampire satire. Highly recommended!
  28. Vamps. Much better than the critics said.
  29. Doomdays. Interesting premise, but didn’t go anywhere.
  30. Jessica Jones. silly story adapted from comic strip. I should know better.  Krystin Ritter was MUCH better in Don’t Trust the B and in Vamps.
  31. Guidance. What an offensive film to all teachers!
  32. Welcome to Me. This was fun enough; I liked how it resisted the formula.
  33. Life Itself, biopic of Roger Ebert. Moving.
  34. Sneakers. A really well-done spy film.
  35.  How to Steal a Million
  36. Alfie. Awful and maudlin, but I was sick while watching it.
  37. Parks and Recreation. It had its moments. The cast was stellar, but the premise and writing was so-so.
  38. The Faculty
  39. Chuck, Angel TV series (rewatched selectively).
  40. To Do List. A horrible teenage raunch movie, but I enjoyed the 90s nostalgia. Almost all the details were perfect!
  41. Party Girl. I am liking anything with Parker Posey these days.
  42. Talledega Nights. Total laugh riot.
  43. Birdman. Way overrated.
  44. Sirens, a wonderful and serene Australian film.
  45. Hijacking. A realistic hijacking film. Recommended, but unsatisfying.
  46. Beyond Clueless
  47. Archer. Overall fun, but way too raunchy and gross for my tastes.
  48. 21 Days with Lawrence Olivier
  49.  Best Years of our Lives. Amazing time-capsule of the postwar 1940s.
  50. Unbreakable Kimmie  Schmidt (mediocre)
  51. Paul Williams: Still Alive
  52. Lives of Others
  53. Never Let me Go
  54. Interstellar. not bad, but the special effects were remarkable.
  55. Gravity. Stupid, but awesome special effects.
  56. Price Check with Parker Posey.  Another amazing Parker Posey flick.
  57. Star Wars latest sequel (yuck!)
  58. Dallas Buyers’ Club
  59. They all Laughed, dated but fun.
  60. Gone with the Wind (2nd Time)
  61. Andy Griffith show
  62. Beasts of No Nation
  63. Young and Hungry (TV Series). Overall, talented acting paired with an insulting premise and awful scripts.
  64. Flatland the Film (Not to be confused with Flatland the Movie).
  65. Other Sitcoms:”Fried” is a British comedy about a bunch of misfits who work at a fast food chicken place. “Dreamland” is like “The Office + Parks and Recreation + Australia”
  66. Guys and Dolls. Started good, went downhill.
  67. The Hobbit trilogy
  68.  Taxi Season 2, 3 and 4. A lot better than I remembered it being! (and I used to love it as a boy).
  69. Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
  70. Lost (I think my 4th time — but I watched only season 2).
  71.  Stranger Things (predictable — I should know better!).
  72. Hail the Conquering Hero by Preston Sturges.
  73. Peanuts Movie. Really fun and witty without losing the spirit of the movie. (The Red Baron sequences were incredible on blu ray!)
  74. Wire (finished it finally).
  75. Finding Vivian Maier
  76. Clouds of Sils Maria.
  77. Jamz — hilarious 4 episode start of a Netflix TV series.
  78. X-Rated : Greatest Adult Movies. Sort of fun, but more of a commercial for Vivid films.
  79. Smokey and the Bandit (zillionth time)
  80. Spotlight
  81. Big Short
  82. Lady Dynamite (series). Interesting premise, poorly executed.
  83. King’s Speech
  84. The Martian. Fun but mediocre.
  85. Beyond the Sea. Fun biopic of Bobby Darin starring Kevin Spacey. Recommended!
  86. LA Stories (rewatched). A lot less entertaining than I remembered it as being. (I’m on a Marilu Henner kick)
  87. 2 Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor films: “Stir Crazy” and “Hear No Evil, See No Evil.” Both of these formula comedies are hilarious, especially the latter.
  88. Bloodline
  89. Caddyshack, (3rd time). Just because I felt like it. What struck me this time  was how calculated the nudity was to garner the film an R rating.