Summer Reading: What I’m Bringing to the Beach

In many countries, August is a popular time for vacations, and for me vacations have always meant (been associated with) reading lots of books. Here are some of the books that I have either read recently or plan on reading in the next few weeks.

These aren’t necessarily recommendations for your reading, since reading books in a second language depends on (is determined by) your general vocabulary, interests, and especially background knowledge (what you know already about a topic).  (Look here if you want to get some ideas on what to read in English.)  But I always enjoy hearing what other people are reading, so I thought I would share (tell you) some of my current “reads” (books).  (And, no, my list doesn’t include The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, as featured in a recent Internet video.)

Some of the topics I’m interested in include economics, psychology, technology, productivity (how to use your time best in planning projects; how to get organized), Internet commerce (business), the art world, ancient Greek and Roman history, and financial planning (how to invest your money; practical advice on money matters).  Here’s my current list:

  • The Invisible Gorilla: and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive (trick; fool) Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons.  The authors of this book are psychology professors (I think at a little university called Harvard) who discuss recent research on the way we perceive (look at; see) and understand the world around us.  The book has a very broad range (covering many different topics), all of them related to the notion (idea) that the human mind isn’t always as powerful or as reliable (dependable) as we think.
  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.  This book falls into (is part of) the category of productivity, specifically time management.  There are 168 hours in every week, yet (however) many of us think that we don’t have time to do the things we want to do.  The author challenges (questions; criticizes) this idea by showing that people work less and waste more time than they realize.  (Note: Still reading this one — haven’t had time to finish it!)
  • Hamlet ‘s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers.  Powers is a journalist who looks at how computers and the Internet have changed our lives and the way we relate and communicate with each other.  (Hamlet is a character from a play by Shakespeare of the same name, and a Blackberry is a kind of  “smartphone” that allows you to send email as well as make telephone calls.)  I just started reading this one, but it looks good.  (I should tell you that I typically read two or three books at a time (at the same time), which I probably shouldn’t do, but I get bored easily).
  • Why We Buy: the Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill.  This book, written about 10 years ago, uses what we may call an anthropological approach to understanding how people make their decisions when they go to a store to shop (to buy things).  Anthropologists observe how people act and react in a certain environment, and tries to describe and understand how and why they do what they do.  This book takes an experience common to all of us — shopping — and shows how the physical design of a store influences us in small but important ways.  Why We Buy is really a mix of economics, psychology, and anthropology, but written from the perspective (point of view) of a businessperson.  (It’s more interesting and less confusing than I’m making it sound (describing it).)

So, what are you reading, either in English or your own language?  Share with the rest of us your current reading list of either nonfiction (true events; not stories) or fiction (stories; novels) books.


Illustration: “California Beach, 1905”  Wikipedia PD-US

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23 Responses to Summer Reading: What I’m Bringing to the Beach

  1. Fabio says:

    Hi Dr Jeff and everybody

    Eslpod is the best way to undertand and think in English. Thanks a lot for it. Well I wanna share with you a book a took last month. Rich Dad and Pour Dad. It was very good. If you like start reading something about financial planning maybe you will like this. Nowadays the need pay attention in how much money we save for the future. If we do well maybe when he get 60 or 70 we won’t think about money anymore.
    I started readind Eslpod in two years but it is my first post. I’d like to say hello to Emiliano who write everyday and make a good contribution for us.
    Have a good day!
    Fabio Bastos

  2. emiliano says:

    “Look here”…..woouuu …is a treasure Jeff, it´s full of good things and free ebooks to spend all august and even a year reading.

    Yesterday I have read that Amazon has sold by it´s Kindle more than a million ebooks of “Mileniun” the saga of Stieg Larsson, also that the total sellings of ebooks have been bigger than all the paper books sold by them.
    Times are changing, that´s true, but it´s really incredible.

    My last reading are always novels and now I am reading a long, too long novel by S.King. It´s very difficult as this author use so big vocabulary that it´s nearly impossible to get everything from him.
    At this moment it is like a challenger to be able of finishing it, (“The Dome” is the title….1.100 pages) but if I´ll do read it what I think is that everything in future would be easier after so great effort.

    Before this one I have read a novel of Henning Mankell (Kennedy´s Brain) that for me he is just one of the best novelist of the last years.
    From him it´s possible that I have read more than half his work, but the majority in spanish, of course.
    I like H.Mankell very very much and reading the translation of his books by Laurie Thomsom is an easy and very pleasant entertainment also
    a good exercise for us.
    I recomend these books of H.Mankell to all our friends for this summer, in English, Swedish or their own lenguage.

    Thank you Jeff for you selection and good humor.

  3. emiliano says:

    Hello Fabio, nice to see you here and thank you.
    Keep writing please.

    Nice readings and regards.

  4. carlos says:

    I am reading Agatha Raising and the Wizard of Evesham(written by M.C. Beaton)I think is a kind of pocket book.

  5. Tania says:

    ! I read “Farewell, My Lovely” many years ago. I kept in my mind the author’s name Raymond Chandler and his detective Philip Marlowe as I love the detective novels.
    Like all crime fictional novels we read them with pleasure but we forget them quickly. The same with Agatha Christie. I have read a lot of her novels. But I think I can remember the action only from “Ten Little Indians”.
    Instead I can’t forget the book on her life. I always am very impressed of the great people’s life. Maybe because they are very unhappy usually .
    Nice English Cafe 252. Thank you.

    All the best for you all,


  6. emiliano says:

    Sorry, but reading my post about Amazon I could see it´s not clear what I said and I would like to make a remark.
    Talking about the books sold by this firm the statistics are made about the ebooks and paper books sold by them along the last three or four months only, just when the kindle device had a lower price, and what this company said is that they are increasing
    it´s selling of kindle ebooks month after month….why?
    Of course, it´s cheaper and easier, I know it by my experience.

    It´s easy to see that at the end to buy a paper book would be a luxury in future and probably it would cost a lot of money.

  7. Kaori says:

    I’ve just finished reading “The Holes”. The book is written for teenagers, but for adults, it’s still worth reading. I found the book very “American”, partly because the story contains the history of immigrants in the United States. The sentences are rather easy, so fast-paced reading made me concentrated on the development of the story. It’s my recent recommendation!

  8. Talal says:

    Hi Dr.Jeff and everybody, frankly I havent read a book for a while, and I dont think that I am qualified to read English novels or books, I did try though to read a serial story called the Hardy Boys, I tend to like fictional books more than others, especially (detective-crime ) involvement, could anybody recommend me to any book or novel written in basic understandable English, in case you wonder, my level tends to be upper-intermediate.. thanks in advance.

  9. emiliano says:

    Hi Talal, try “Whiteout” by Ken Follett, it´s easy and of the way you like fictional books.


  10. Talal says:

    Thanks Mr.Emiliano so much, I appreciate your concern. I will check that out right after I post this.

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! I have read “Shall We Tell the President?” by Jeffrey Archer this week. Just for relaxing to forget, to forget…
    I do not have a current reading list as I like to read the newspapers”The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal” from our blog. Maybe and “The Los Angeles Times” or “The Economist”.
    And if I want to listen to some jazz music or Thriller Michael Jackson or to admire again “Flock of Seagulls” or PCH from our blog, oh!… it’s too much for only a day.

  12. Roberto says:

    I am reading the book “The Eight” by Katherine Neville and I have had any problems to understand the book´s chapters related with the French Revolution (the book develops two stories in different times: in 1972 and in the French Revolution) because the words are more complicated: use a lot of archaisms, old expressions…
    But, Talal don´t worry if you don´t understand everything that the author of the book wants to say. At the beginning, I think it is enough to understand the general idea and step by step you will begin to improve your comprehension of the book. I have read many books of John Grisham and I think that this author is easy to understand. Of course, there are other books very difficult to read for me but I read best sellers because they are easier to understand that, for example, classic books.

  13. Tania says:

    Hi! Thank you for the explanation of the word “challenge” and “broad range”. For me “challenge” means just anything that calls for special effort. And all the other explanations are useful for us.

  14. Tania says:

    Hi! You make us curious with your book. After I have verified that literacy means the ability to read and write and not literature … I’d like to read your book.

  15. Tania says:

    Hi! Last month I read “Christine” by Stephen King as I liked very much the style from “Shining”. I was disappointed.

  16. Tania says:

    Hi! The above mentioned books by you seem to be very interesting. I do not know if they are and in our book stores but anyway they are very expensive , so…

  17. Tania says:

    Hi! To the beach ? I like jogging and listenning music.

  18. Kuong Do says:

    I can’t afford paying for these books? Anyone know how to get these ebooks free? I really appreciate your help.

  19. emiliano says:

    Hi Roberto,

    “The Eight” it´s really difficult, and “The Fire” even worst, this is the only book in English I have to give it up without finishing it.
    As a matter of fact I don´t like this author despite I know some friends who were enthusiastic with “The Eight”, to me at the end
    the book was a big fiasco, but it´s my opinion of course.
    I know that the author had a great success with “The Eight” but I think it´s really difficult of reading it with so many jumps in
    time and lots of characters. The book creates great expectatives that I couldn´t find when I finished it.

    Never mind I hope you may enjoyed it´s reading.
    After finishing it, please Roberto tell us what do you think about it, as I think it´s nice to have more opinions.

    Tania, if you like “The Shining” I can suggest you “Dead Zone” from S.King, I think it´s one of his best.
    “Dolores Claiborne” is another incredible good book from him. Dolores Claiborne was adapted to a movie in 1995 with Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Christopher Plummer, and I think this is a very good film. Here in Spain it was called “Eclipse Total” I don´t really know why?, but the film, and the book, are excelent specially for every woman who is abused by her husband.

    Stop emiliano, it´s enough.

  20. Lanter Hermann says:

    I read “The Housekeeper and the Professor” from Yoko Ogawa and can warmly recommend this book.
    By the way: Today is” The Swiss National Day”(Since 1891, the first of August has been celebrated as Swiss National Day).
    Best wishes,

  21. Talal says:

    hahahaha. dont worry Emiliano the longer the post, the more enjoyable, especially those who are advanced in English like you.dont stop please, and by the way. I bet you have a good sense of humer .

  22. emiliano says:

    Hi Kuong Do, you may find lots of free ebooks in this site:

    “Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg”

    There are thousands of ebooks that you may download as pdf files, there are also mp3 free books to listen
    some of the ebooks you have downloaded.
    The mp3 books are read by voluntary people who is willing to do this work by free.
    These books are from “the public domain”, they haven´t to pay any author rights already, the rights have expired, and the “Project Gutenbers! is going to hang on the web thousand of free books translated to several lenguages.

    Jeff gives us the clue in his post just at the point he says “(Look here if you want to get…………

    Good luck.

  23. Farahnaz says:

    I’ve read a lot of books and short stories.
    The best books which I’ve read are written by Barbara De Angelis. Most of her books are about the ways to have good relationships between wives and husbands before and after marriage. Her books gave us a good information about men and women’ behaviors and why they show their behaviors in some situations or locations and what you should do. BarBara’s books are really fruitful for you, either you are married or not.
    A book that I’ve read recently is “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. It is very interesting. It gives you some strategies that you can reach to things that you want, like money, health, and … . I think some of them are true and some are exaggeration. It’s good for people that are disappointed to reach/ achieve their dreams or goals. This book wants you to think positive and be sure you’ve already reached what you want. I recommend it.

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