Category: Uncategorized

  • D’Var Torah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah

    I was lucky enough to give a drash on the first day of Rosh Hashanah this year at the always amazing altshul. Here it is. As those of you who know me know, and those of you who don’t can probably guess from my name, I was not raised Jewish. I come to all of […]

  • 2021: My Year In Books

    2021, what a mess, right? We had our good days and our bad days, and somehow or other we got through.  I was luckier than many, having the privilege to spend alot of time outside, and (occasionally) lounge with a book.  As always, books were where I found solace. As I’ve said before, my reading […]

  • Kinzer’s Poisoner in Chief

    Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind ControlStephen Kinzer Undoubtably the strangest, most disturbing, book I read this year. The story of Sydney Gottlieb and the early years of the CIA is almost too cruel, to horrible to really comprehend. Yes, I knew about MK Ultra (where the CIA drugged unsuspecting […]

  • von Straten’s In Search of Lost Books

    In Search of Lost Books: The forgotten stories of eight mythical volumesGiorgio von Straten, Simon Carnell (Translator) A wonderful little book chronicling the stories of books lost to time. By “lost books” von Straten isn’t referring to rare books, or even books we know were published, but no longer have. Here’s he’s talking about the […]

  • Konnikova’s The Biggest Bluff

    The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win Maria Konnikova Perhaps the most fun I had reading a book this year. Here’s he premise: Konnikova, a New Yorker writer with a phd in psychology hires one of the world’s greatest poker player to teach her the game with the intent […]

  • Nestor’s Breath

    Breath: The New Science of a Lost ArtJames Nestor A clear example of book that should have been an article. There’s some good stuff in here on breath work and its (arguable) importance to health as well as heaping helpings of the kind of anecdotal bro science I tend to enjoy, but don’t take too […]

  • Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Years

    A Journal of the Plague Year Daniel Defoe Defoe’s book, a fictional recounting of one man’s reflections during the plague of London, 1665. It begins with the plague beginning to ravage London and the protagonist weighing whether he should flee to the country as so many people of means are doing or stay and stick […]

  • O’Neill’s Chaos

    Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the SixtiesTom O’Neill and Dan Piepenbring A reporter is assigned to write an article on the Manson murders and Hollywood for a movie magazine. He somewhat reluctantly begins to dig into the story and finds that things don’t exactly add up. He gets interested, he […]

  • Review: Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts

    In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s BerlinErik Larson Dad book all the way dealing with that most dad book of dad book times, World War II, specifically Hitler’s rise to power as seen through the eyes of the American diplomat William Dodd and his family. This is an […]

  • Review: Kristof and WuDunn’s Tightrope

    Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn Maybe you knew that Nicolas Kristof grew up on semi-rural Oregon, and that the vast majority of those he went to high school with are now either dead or in jail, but I didn’t. This book, where Kristof and Wu Dunn use the stories of […]