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What I’m Reading/Watching 2017

As of October 2011, I created an index of books I reviewed here. I will continue to list books I am currently reading here, but I will not attempt to write capsule reviews or even to link to them. For that you should check the index of books I reviewed. Movie Reviews will continue to be listed and annotated as before. See also my 2016 Reading/Watching List, my 2014 Reading/Watching List, my 2013 Reading/Watching List, 2012 Reading/Watching List, 2011 Reading/Watching List,  2010 Reading/Watching List, 2009 Reading/Watching List, 2008 Reading/Watching List , 2007 Reading/Watching List my previous Sept 2004 to Oct 2005 reading list or my Nov 2005 to Nov 2006 Reading List , so definitely check that out as well. See also my Best of 2006 for a scoop about favorites. See also Writers who have Changed Me. A few remarks. I’m reading several books at a time, and to be honest, sometimes I don’t read all of them depending on the content or my interest. Usually however, it’s been a matter of attention span and what other projects I’ve been doing. Also, you might want to check my favorite novels, and my Amazon.com wishlist. Also here’s an annotated photo of my bookshelf Also, I haven’t read most of these books, but I’ve been setting up Amazon lists of classic Texas novels (100 novels and counting). You also might enjoy reading my Amazon list of Unforgettable Forgettable Novels. I’ve also started adding my book inventory to librarything.com. At the bottom of this page you will find a list of movies I’ve been watching.


  1. Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
  2. Out of the Old Rock by J. Frank Dobie
  3. Travels of Lao Tsan by Liu T’ieh-yun
  4. Conquerors by Michael Beschloss
  5. Charlotte’s Web by EB White
  6. Saving Capitalism by Robert Reich
  7. Boomtown by Greg Williams
  8. Three Body Problem  by Cixin Liu
  9. Man who Counted by Malba Tahan
  10. A string of books about Texas independence and the Alamo (more on that later).
  11.  Nightmare Years 1930-1940 William Shirer
  12. Pigs is Pigs . Hilarious story by Ellis Parker Butler.
  13. Trip to the West and Texas. Fascinating 1836 travel book about Texas, with  50 page afterward about the Texian revolution.
  14. Mad Professor by Rudy Rucker. Short stories.
  15. Right to Die (At Issue series). I enjoy reading these slim anthology of articles on current events (ostensibly aimed at high school students).
  16. You can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen. I love reading these practical out-of-date guides. (Fun to read like Zig Ziglar’s books).
  17. TV (The Book). Two experts pick the greatest American Shows of all time by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz.
  18. Turn Homeward, Hannalee (1984)  by Patricia Beatty. Kid’s novel  about the Civil War. 
  19. Boys Adrift: Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax.
  20. Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. A deep discussion about dog consciousness.
  21. Solve Your Money Troubles by Robin Leonard, Nolo Press
  22. At Issue Books: Does Outsourcing Harm America? and What is the Impact of Green Practices?
  23. Library at Night by Albert Manguel. A profound and witty book about books. Brilliant.
  24. NYT Essential Library of Opera by Anthony Tommasini.
  25. Who would have thought it? by Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton
  26. Holes by Louis Sachar
  27. Fun n’ Games by Rice, Ryderberg & Yaconelli
  28. Motivation Breakthrough by Richard Lavoie
  29. NYT Manual of Style and Usage, 5th edition. (I had a coupon)
  30. Who’s Afraid of Opera? by Michael Walsch. A brilliant introduction to the subject written in the 90s.
  31. Night at the Opera: Irreverent Guide to the Plots, Singers, Composers, Recordings by Denis Forman. Longer budget ebook, so far not as good as the Walsch book though. Update: No, I actually prefer this book to Walsch’s book
  32. JS Bach: The Learned Musician (biography). Christoph Wolff
  33. Musicians of Today — Romain Rolland
  34. Weapons of Math Destruction. Cathy O’Neal
  35. Music Theory for Beginners by R. Ryan Endris
  36. Hack Music Theory Part 1 by Roy Harmony and 12 Hacks to Learn Scales and Chords.


  1. 9/11.  by Naudet Brothers (3rd time)
  2. Car 54, where are you? both seasons
  3. Eye in the Sky
  4. Great Course Lecture series. (my crack cocaine!)
  5. People vs. OJ Simpson (TV series)
  6. Select Star Trek Voyager episodes
  7. Bloodline TV series (seems formulaic?)
  8. Travellers, an excellent time travel series.
  9. Reel Injun
  10. Queen Victoria (PBS TV series). Quite great.
  11. Babe (watched again)
  12. Bob Newhart Show (4 seasons worth– absolutely great!)
  13. Elizabeth (film starring Cate Blanchett). Focused on the brutality a little too much — I don’t feel I get a really well-rounded  portrayal of the queen, but the early years were probably like this.
  14. Arrival. Sci fi film starring Amy Adams. I wanted badly to like this; but it abounded in cliches, and its touchy feelyness depends on some time travel/timelessness trope which seemed too magical. Also, the military stuff seemed too stereotypical. I would have preferred a more realistic, pedestrian approach even if it wasn’t as visual a spectacle.
  15. Deadwood TV Series.
  16. Crazy Ex-girlfriend
  17. Moonlighting
  18. Moonlight.
  19. Madam Secretary — mediocre political dramedy. Nice plots, but overall a dud. Update: awful!
  20. The Jerk (again)
  21. John Mulaney comedy concerts
  22. Grinder, sitcom.
  23.  Chewing Gum.
  24. Merli, dramedy from Spain about an eccentric high school philosophy teacher who is a substitute teacher at his son’s school.
  25. Makkhi. Bollywood comedy about a lovestruck man who is reincarnated as a housefly
  26. Train to Busan
  27. How To Listen To And Understand Great Music. by Robert Greenberg
  28. Til the Devil Knows You’re Gone. High calibre acting, somewhat interesting, but the ridiculous situation (as fascinating as it is to ponder) doesn’t really arrive at any profound insights.
  29. The Wrestler
  30. All American Girl
  31. Absentia (horror film, already mentioned?)
  32. Idea of a Lake, dir Milagros Mumenthaler
  33. Master of None (2nd Season)
  34. Marriage of Figaro (DVD)
  35. Get Down, retro 70s series.
  36. Chewing Gum
  37. Verdi’s Falstaff DVD
  38. Ave, 2011 Bulgarian drama film directed by Konstantin Bojanov Bulgarian teenagers hitchhiking to get to a funeral. God, this tragi-comedy was an absolute masterpiece!
  39. Landscape in the Mist
  40. Trap by Srdan Golubovic (Serbian). Moral dilemma for a Raskelnikov-like  character. I think it went too far at parts, but it felt very genuine too