4 Not-Quite-Beach-Reads That I Technically Read At The Beach Last Week


Best American Non-Required Reading 2013 // Dave Eggers (editor): There’s a brief, fun segment in the beginning — after which every one of these pieces is depressing in some way. Though many parts are beautifully written, there is no relief from the sadness. I want to recommend this, but I can’t. It’s too much.

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder // Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The unexpected is going to happen eventually. No matter what tragedy happens, someone always profits. This book is about positioning yourself to withstand — and even gain from — the unexpected. There are tons of really cool ideas in here, but I kept getting distracted by the fact that the author is an asshole. It’s still worth reading.

Flight of the Silvers // Daniel Price: Each parallel dimension has its own natural laws. When 6 people are transported from our dimension to another with different physics, they have innnate powers. And are, of course, being hunted for study. It’s not flowery prose, but the plot’s interesting. (It reminded me a little of the 1990s Tomorrow People.) I look forward to the next installment.

A Tale For The Time Being // Ruth Ozeki: This story’s mostly about a bullied Japanese girl, her depressed father, and her Zen Buddhist great-grandmother. That part — the bulk of the plot — is contained in a journal a Canadian woman finds on a beach. The novel cuts back and forth between the journal and the woman trying to hunt down the girl. This book isn’t just a novel; it’s also about philosophy, technology, nature, and Schrodinger’s cat. Though the Canadian woman’s pretty boring, I still recommend this one.