What I’m Reading

The Babel Apocalypse by Vyvyan Evans (Nephilm, 2023)

Part of a new series of by linguist Vyvyan Evans: what will happen if (when?!) most of the world’s people a “chipped” with tech that streams Unilanguage technology controlled by corporations. And what will happen when there is an outage. A great addition to the corpus of linguistic sci-fi.

From Rome to Roseburg by Hilde Baughman (Sauce Publishing, 2023)

A charming memoir that brings together the rural West and cosmopolitan Europe. It’s the story of a young Bavarian women who falls in love with an American GI and find a herself in a new land—first California and then southern Oregon. We follow her adventures and transformation from one culture to another all the while anchored in her love of family, nature, and literature. A witty and captivating life story.

Night Flight to Paris by Cara Black (Soho Crime, 2023)

Cara Black brings back her World Word II spy: a sharpshooter who grew up in—Klamath Falls, Oregon. Spy craft, plot twists, and fast-paced action.

From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks (Penguin, 2022)

A friend recommended this book on finding purpose in the second half of life. It tended a bit too spiritual for my taste, but offered plenty of useful advice on transitioning from work to post-work.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (Atria, 2014)

The utterly charming book that was the basis for the film A Man Called Otto. You get hooked right away and even though you can predict what’s going to happen to Ove, you keep reading with a grin on your face.

Standing by the Wall: The Collected Slough House Novellas by Mick Herron (Soho, 2022) Espionage. Blackmail. Revenge. Cunning. Slapstick. State secrets dating back to the fall of the Berlin Wall. All this and more in a tight package of five novellas.


The Immortal Game by David Shenk (Achor Books, 2007)

Shenk describes his fascination with chess and the history, sociology and psychology of the game, from metaphors to technology. And he does a neat literary trick: interspersing the expository chapters with a description of the actual Immortal Game play by Adolf Anderssen versus Lionel Kieseritzky in 1851.

Brainiac by Ken Jennings (Random House, 2006)

It was a bit slow at the start for my taste, but Jennings offers not just a memoir of his first Jeopardy! experience but a compellingly written history of trivia. And of course, each chapter has some clues: like “Hoss” Cartwright’s given name, Barbie’s full name, or the state that consumes the most Jell-O.*




* (Eric Cartwright, Barbara Millicent Roberts, and California)


About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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