Books - April 2024

by See-ming Lee
Books I’m currently reading

You are what you read. I’m reading five books at the moment.

Where available, I bought both the Audible and Kindle versions. I prefer physical books for way-finding reasons, but Hong Kong has limited space, so I’d only buy the physical version if I need it.

I get the Kindle version mainly so I can reference and bookmark — in case I want to cite and quote. The Audible version is for convenience — I rarely have time to sit down and read, though I will listen to books when I go to sleep, or when I run around town.

Years ago, I discovered that it’s highly efficient to “read” books as audio while on the subway or at the gym (if I go LOL). I finished lots of Plato in college this way. The most memorable one was realizing how short Symposium was when I finished the book before I finished my Stair Master session (LOL).

1/ The Best Minds

The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions, by Jonathan Rosen.

This book was recommended to me by Cynthia, a new friend I recently met from the Yale Alumni group. It’s named Top 10 Best Book of the Year by The New York Times. I’m reading it mostly because it’s about Yale.

2/ The Experience Machine

The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality, by Andy Clark.

This book was recommended to me by Monica, a behavior therapist that I met on Instagram who is a neurodiversity advocate, and who’s focusing on helping kids with ADHD and Autism. We chatted briefly because I was inspired by one of her videos.

3/ On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong.

This book was also recommended to me by Cynthia. I didn’t understand why, but understood it somewhat after reading about the author on Wikipedia.

I’m also touched by the personal story about the origin of his name:

Vuong has described himself as being raised by women. During a conversation with a customer, his mother, a manicurist, expressed a desire to go to the beach, and pronounced the word “beach” as “bitch”. The customer suggested she use the word “ocean” instead of “beach”. After learning the definition of the word “ocean” — the most massive classified body of water, such as the Pacific Ocean, which connects the United States and Vietnam — she renamed her son Ocean.

4/ Masterpeace

Masterpeace: (The Cat, AI, the Land, and the Artist), by Agata Oleksiak.

This is a book by Olek, an artist whom I admire. They have a gift in writing, and published a book recently. It’s quite interesting. Reading in words instead of audiobook takes some time so I haven’t had the luxury of completing it yet. I hope that I will be able to find time in the future.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Tipping Point is one of my favorite books. It contains several ideas that I referenced a lot. I was explaining some concepts to a friend recently, and he mentioned something else by Gladwell that’s discussed in this book, so I decided to pick it up.

As with other books by Malcolm Gladwell, the audio version is read by the author himself. It’s quite soothing. (ha)