I Cannot Live Without Books…

I’m pretty sure the title for this post was a Thomas Jefferson quote. To be honest, I mostly remember it from playing Civilization and that quote would come on when you build a library or something… man that game was great. Anyway, I just got a Kindle and it has kind of revolutionized my life. I read a fair amount due to my 90ish minute commute each way on public transportation. I also see some weird value in learning what other people like to read. So, I decided to ask 18 of my Facebook “friends” what their favorite book is and what book they think everyone should read. These friends run a wide range from people I’ve known for decades to mostly Facebook “friends” but they are all people who I respect and would love to know more about… basically they are 18 people that I’d love to have in my life forever in some way or another. Ideally we would all live in a big communal house together in Colorado, grow weed, and sell high-end edibles while raising a bunch of cool dogs and maybe a human child or three. Most of them kept to just two books but some of my friends can’t be limited in such a way… another sign they are fucking rad.

To me, reading someone’s favorite book gives you a glimpse into their soul. The list of books below are what my friends answers were and I hope to read my way through them in the next year or so. Oh, and I also put down Stephen King’s and Jay-Z’s favorite two books because they are awesome. (Unrelated: I can’f find my Kindle… I swear it was in my office yesterday. Argh.) In no particular order (and missing a few because some of my friends apparently work doing the day)…

  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
  • Conte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy (read previously)
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (currently reading actually)
  • Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Why Do Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Alan Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa
  • Girls Guide to Taking Over the World by Karen Green
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Crucial Conversation: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant
  • The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
  • The Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg (read previously)
  • Nature of Order by Christopher Alexander
  • Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin
  • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg and Arun Gandhi
  • Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  • Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • A Happy Death by Albert Camus
  • Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (read previously)
  • The Good Life by Hackatt Publishing
  • The Golden Argosy edited by Van H. Cartmell and Charles Grayson
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris
  • On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walsh
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • House of Leaves by Mark Daielewski
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
  • Extras by Scott Westerfield
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (previously read)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson (previously read)
  • Steering By Starlight by Martha Beck
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Sexy Books

Unfortunately I probably won’t have a lot of time to blog this week. My boss is out of town, our accountant just pushed another baby out, and my office spouse had some surgery that involves her holding an ice pack to her groin for the next few days. Basically, I am the low man in the office but somehow I am in charge of this shit. There is a 50% chance I will accidentally burn the building to the ground… so yeah, I won’t have a lot of blog time.

So, instead of my regular ramblings I thought I would just list some awesome books about sex that my lovely follower might be interested in. As you probably know the subject of sex (and the taboo surrounding it) fascinates me, particularly with the increase of open relationships and polyamory that technology has allowed. I don’t really have an abnormal sex drive or anything, I just find the subject fascinating and enjoy studying it. And without further ado… here are my favorite sexy books (with my simplistic summaries):

Sex At Dawn: Definitely the most sciency of the books. The authors work against the parental investment theory that encourages human pair-bonding and monogamy. They use research into bonobos (our evolutionary cousins) and remaining hunter/gatherer tribes to argue humans are much more polyamorous than we are raised to believe. There is societal pressure for monogamy that is based more on those in power trying to control sex, but this monogamous pull may not be “natural”.

The Ethical Slut: This is the least sciency book in the series and still one I recommend EVERYONE read (seriously, I will buy you a copy and ship it to you… fucking read it). It discusses what sexually open people are and some advice for dealing with the struggles polyamorous and open relationships can bring. The authors are often funny, sometimes crass, but always entertaining. Read. This. Book.

What Do Women Want? This book is a middle ground between objective science and subjective stories. It is probably my favorite out of all the books due to it’s accessibility and tone. The author argues that the traditional story of women wanting a “one and only” lifelong mate does not hold up to scientific inquiry and it is dangerous to tell women there is something wrong with them if they desire sexual variety. The author discusses multiple studies on humans and our mammalian relatives, as well as interviews researchers and women who have cheated, desired to cheat, seek open relationships, and practice polyamory.

American Savage: This is kind of a sex book… it is a collection of essays by sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage. Just like his podcast it is funny but honest and there are no taboo subjects. This work is particularly personal for Savage and he discusses his marriage, raising a straight child, growing up in a Catholic home, etc. If you don’t listen to his podcast or read his column you should do that right now.

Bonus – The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers: I’m still reading this so I won’t recommend it strongly yet but so far I enjoy it. It is fascinating to me how common some form of extra-spousal relations happen in the middle class and how varied there are. Very few practitioners of “the lifestyle” participate in orgys, instead most of them just enjoy being in an erotic situation where some sort of voyeurism and exhibitionism is the norm. Some will have multiple sex partners but the lifestyle is more about being open, honest, and participating in something that helps prevent confusion, harm, and secrecy. So far I really like it. This is very similar to my personal experience in the Orgy Dome at Burning Man and intimate experiences with friends… it isn’t about sex, it is about deep honest connections where there is no taboo conversation.