Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

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Books Three-Parter

1. This book is now out. Of the eight books with my name on the cover, it’s the first that’s not about running. So that counts for something.

2. This month I’ll start working on a book about running and depression. (Write what you know, etc.) It’s slated for publication by The Experiment next year. This makes me happy, but hopefully not so much I lose touch with half of the book’s subject matter.

3. As for books by others, of the 46 I finished in 2016, there are four that I have been or will be urging on people with similar tastes:

The Invoice, by Jonas Karlsson.
Lazarus is Dead, by Richard Beard.
The Apostle Killer, by Richard Beard. (Called Acts of the Assassins when released.)
The Trespasser, by Tana French.

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Books Completed First Trimester of 2016

Here are the books I read to the end of in the first four months of the year. After each I’ve given a one-word recommendation to a hypothetical friend with somewhat similar taste. ALL CAPS means emphatically so. There are no “no” votes yet this year because I’m getting better about abandoning ship when warranted.

January (I was working less than usual)
The Art of Crash Landing—Melssia DeCarlo | Meh
The Mystic Poets: Hopkins—Gerard Manley Hopkins
 | YES
Slade House—David Mitchell | Yes
The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood | Yes
Strange Fits of Passion—Anita Shreve | Meh
Ethan Frome—Edith Wharton | YES (I think this was my fourth reading)
The Weight of Water—Anita Shreve | Yes

February
A Short History of Women—Kate Walbert | Meh
Winter’s Bone—Daniel Woodrell | Yes
Gold Fame Citrus—Claire Vaye Watkins | Yes

March
The Obituary Writer—Ann Hood | Meh
The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton—Edith Wharton | Yes
Summer—Edith Wharton | Meh
The Last Policeman—Ben Winters | Meh

April
Countdown City—Ben Winters | Meh
World of Trouble—Ben Winters | Meh
Frankenstein—Mary Shelley | Meh
Cheap—Ellen Ruppel Shell | Yes (And look, nonfiction!)

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Books Completed in 2015

Below is a list of books I finished reading this year. After each I’ve given a one-word read-it-or-not guidance to a hypothetical friend with similar tastes or interests. ALL CAPS means emphatically so. (The list doesn’t include books I started but abandoned; I can’t recall all of them, but they would obviously merit a “no.”)

When I maintained a similar list in 2012, it was split 50-50 between fiction and nonfiction. This year it’s more like 3-1 in favor of fiction. As my work has become increasingly just-the-facts straightforward, when I read at night for pleasure I’m much more interested in being transported to a well-crafted world than in being told how to think about topic X.

Each section is in chronological order of completion.

FICTION
The Natural—Bernard Malmoud | Yes
State of Wonder—Ann Patchett | No
Gould’s Book of Fish—Richard Flanagan | NO
Station Eleven—Emily St. John Mandel | No
The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac—Sharma Shields | YES
The Fahrenheit Twins—Michael Faber | Yes
The Crimson Petal and the White—Michael Faber | YES
Dog Gone It—Spencer Quinn | NO
The Box Garden—Carol Shields | Yes
The Keep—Jennifer Egan | No
The Stone Diaries—Carol Shields | YES
The Happiest People in the World—Brock Clarke | NO
Blue Angel—Francine Prose | YES
Unless—Carol Shields | Yes
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932—Francine Prose | No
Goldengrove—Francine Prose | No
Dressing Up for the Carnival—Carol Shields | Yes
36 Arguments for the Existence of God—Rebecca Newberger Goldstein | NO
Fludd—Hilary Mantel | Yes
Fates and Furies—Lauren Groff | NO
Larry’s Party—Carol Shields | Yes
A Place of Greater Safety—Hilary Mantel | Yes
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh—Michael Chabon | Yes

NONFICTION
Meb for Mortals—Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas | Yes (buy it, I don’t care if you read it)
Buddhism Without Beliefs—Stephen Batcheler | Yes
The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets—Simon Singh | No
On Writing—Stephen King | Yes
The Lobster Gangs of Maine—James Acheson | No
Teller of Tales (Arthur Conan Doyle bio)—Daniel Stashower | No
Poverty Creek Journal—Thomas Gardner | YES
Listening to Jazz—Jerry Coker | Yes

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Music-Related Minimalism Book Giveaway

Here’s the deal: You recommend a band I wind up liking more than anyone else’s recommendation, and I’ll send you a copy of my minimalism book.

Below are the 25 band or musician names at the top of the most-played list in my iTunes library. On the basis of those, recommend someone else for me to listen to.

If I’m already familiar with the band or musician, I’ll let you know, and you can make another recommendation.

I’ll take recommendations through Sunday, June 16, and then decide whose recommendation I like the best, and send that person the book.

Send your recommendations here or leave them in comments below. Here are the musicians to use as the basis for your recommendation:

Vincent Herring
The Feelies
The Liminanas
Whirr
Yuck
Pia Fraus
Wild Nothing
Bears
Eric Reed
Stereolab
The High Violets
Matt Pond PA
Swell
Sparrow
American Analog Set
Black Tambourine
Lush
Metropolitan
God
James Moody
Nord Express
Band of Susans
Luna
Jim Rotondi
Real Estate

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Excerpt From My Minimalism Book

Chapter on the future of minimalism.

Because the excerpt doesn’t contain a link to easy purchase of the book, here’s one.

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Happy Birthday to My New Book

We’ll ignore the fact that the author is in an aircast, okay?

Buy it here or really wherever you see it.

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How Forks Gave Us Overbites

My Atlantic interview with Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork.

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2012 Completed Book #24

Tough Island by Crash Barry

One-sentence review: Entertaining tales from Matinicus, Maine’s most remote inhabited island.

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2012 Completed Book #23

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

One-sentence review: Short but interesting imagining of Jesus from the perspective of his skeptical mother.

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2012 Completed Book #22

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

One-sentence review: I love being transported to a unique created world I would otherwise never think about (in this case, low-level horse racing).

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