The Omnivorous Reader

Recommendations, reviews, and assorted digital flotsam and jetsam

Recommendations, reviews, and assorted digital flotsam and jetsam

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The Omnivorous Reader





The Omnivorous Reader - August, 2022

One of the toughest things about teaching U.S. History has always been that you run out of time. One of the eras that always got short shrift for me (both as a student and as a teacher) was Reconstruction. Since high school U.S. History is always a nine-month…


The Omnivorous Reader - July, 2022

Dashell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon is one of those classics that I'd heard about vaguely--mostly through Looney Tunes references, I think--but had never picked up. It's up there with Chandler's The Big Sleep in terms of hardboiled detective classics, and ha…


The Omnivorous Reader - June, 2022

Reading David Foster Wallace's final novel, The Pale King, was bittersweet, not only because of shadow cast by his suicide but also because it's clear Wallace hadn't finished shaping and revising the novel.There is plenty of humor and insight in the collectio…


The Omnivorous Reader - June 2022

Once at a holiday party, I casually asked a coworker who had just come back from a diversity conference how it had gone and ended up having to listen to 25 minutes of his thoughts on the Trans Atlantic slave trade, the Holocaust, and other examples of man's i…


The Omnivorous Reader - January, 2020

In addition to coming up with terrible puns about the new decade, I've been thinking this January about my own reading habits. I've had the practice of logging titles of books that I finish on the back page of a journal for a few years now, and at some point,…


The Omnivorous Reader - Jolabokaflod Edition

This literary holiday originates in Iceland and is roughly translated as "Christmas Book Flood." To celebrate the holiday, you give books to friends and family on Christmas Eve. Here are some good choices to consider if you're going to celebrate this holiday …


The Omnivorous Reader - November, 2019

A bunch of things that I read and listened to this month have overlapping patterns and insights that weren't immediately apparent to me, but are now starting to come into clearer focus. I'll warn you at the top that the next section was ultimately a deep dive…


The Omnivorous Reader - October, 2019

I've seen a number of recent articles focusing on how to get your kids to like to read. One of the best was from the Atlantic and is included below. But all of them miss a critical, but somewhat paradoxical, point: To get kids to choose to read, you have to g…


The Omnivorous Reader - September, 2019

A confession: The only time I've actually completed summer reading was when I read the reading that I personally assigned to students when I was teaching 7th grade. And, even though I had a ton of latitude about the books I chose, I still resented having to r…


The Omnivorous Reader - May, 2018

I spent April and May avoiding Walden, my most recent GOAT (i.e. a work that I’ve begun multiple times but couldn’t get through). I've come to realize that my issue with Walden was mostly structural: The way Thoreau jumps from topic to topic in a stream of co…


The Omnivorous Reader - March/April, 2018

Frankenstein was my GOAT (i.e. a work that I’ve begun multiple times but couldn’t get through) for March. Yes, I finished it, but beyond that, the less said about it, the better. Walden is the GOAT that I spent most of April staring at as it sat on various en…


The Omnivorous Reader - February, 2018

Dracula was my GOAT (i.e. a work that I’ve begun multiple times but couldn’t get through) for February, and given how easy it was for me to read this one, it was interesting to consider why I might never have finished it before. One of the interesting side ef…


The Omnivorous Reader - Late January, 2018

This year I'm spending some time each month taking on books that I've failed to finished in the past. I will be lovingly referring to these works as my GOATs--both because they are works that I've begun multiple times but couldn't get through and because most…


The Omnivorous Reader - Early January, 2018

I'm not a Crossfitter, but I am a huge fan of Kelly Starrett (founder of San Francisco Crossfit and Mobility WOD and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard (which, along with Teach Like A Champion, should win an award for having one of the worst possible titles …


The Omnivorous Reader - November, 2017

As if Iceland didn't have enough to brag about, I just found out about the coolest tradition: The Icelandic practice of book giving on Christmas Eve. The publishing industry in Iceland evidently calls this "Jolabokaflod," which roughly translates as "Christma…


The Omnivorous Reader - October, 2017

Here's something I've never said: "Well, I'm not really enjoying this book, but I'm already 50 pages in, so I guess I'll finish it." I'm convinced that the only way to read lots of stuff is to make sure I ruthlessly abandon books I'm not enjoying. One of the …


The Omnivorous Reader - September, 2017

Do yourself a favor and put your local library to work:First, install the Chrome Library Extension--once it's set up, a single click takes you from Amazon to the "Request Title" page of your library's website.Next, take two minutes to figure out how to make I…


The Omnivorous Reader - August, 2017

“I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.” ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite JestAll of the reading recommendations will link to the associated Amazon page because it's 2017, but also because of the Chrome Library Extension. If you…