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The Omnivorous Reader - November, 2017

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The Omnivorous Reader

December 3 · Issue #4 · View online

Recommendations, reviews, and assorted digital flotsam and jetsam


Hi, all.
Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.
Why You’re Getting This: This reading list is going out to old and new friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. If you’re receiving this, I thought you might appreciate it.
Feel free to unsubscribe–obligatory reading is the worst.
If you know a fellow reader who might enjoy it, please pass it along.

Jolabokaflod!
Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood' : NPR
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 “Christmas Book Flood.” I immediately insisted we fold this into the Cunningham Xmas routine. Beyond the obvious benefit of getting more books, this also dovetails with the practice that Daniel Willingham mentions in The Reading Mind of building a reading “self-concept” in the minds of children to ensure that they link positive experiences (i.e. Christmas, family, togetherness) with reading.  
Fiction
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King was way more engaging than I thought it would be based on Owen’s first novel, Double Feature, and the general sense of meh I get from most of Joe Hill (a.k.a. Joe King)‘s work. Sleeping Beauties, though, was a truly fun Stephen King novel about a sleeping epidemic that infects all of the world’s women. It was King in his old form, using a new McGuffin to provide an excuse to show what happens when society falls apart. His wry characterization also adds an interesting twist to the concept of the mental load
Dark Deeds by Mike Brooks is the third book in his Keiko series starring the scoundrel pirate/smuggler captain Ichabod Drift and his crew. It’s a fun series if you like light hearted sci-fi–sort of a cross between Han Solo and Firefly. Dark Deeds can stand on its own, but it’s worth reading the other two first. 
Nonfiction
I’d taken out Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson before and couldn’t get into it, but after hearing Isaacson on Tim Ferriss’s podcast, I gave it another try and am very glad I did. Franklin was a fascinating character and Isaacson does him credit with this insightful biography. Well worth the time, particularly once you get past his early printing days and into his civic work in Philadelphia and on behalf of the colonies. 
Other Clicks and Views
Ok, so these are about a month late, but Halloween is at the end of October, so only now can I share two of the best short horror films that I stumbled across this month:
The Jigsaw
WHERE IS IT?
This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat - The Washington Post
I hope you’re all doing well and that you can find (or make) the time to read whichever of these books catches your interest. And if you know of a good book that you’d recommend, please pass it along.
Take care,
Chris Cunningham
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