The Reading Week Reading List

Happy Reading Week! I don't have as much time as I'd like to read. Sure, there's all the stuff that I have to read (new textbooks, scientific papers and whatnot). There's also what I feel obligated to read: the newspaper (I've read the newspaper every single day since I was in grade 1. Not that I was reading about global socioeconomic events back then; just the comics. I was amazed to find comics in the newspaper. Now I do read about global socioeconomic events...and then read the comics to cheer up again.). Then there are the magazines I subscribe to. I have to read those; I'm paying for them. (For the record, these include Wired and Consumer Reports.)

And then there are the books I read for fun. Listening to audiobooks counts as "reading," right? I'm going to say it does. I "read" a lot during my commute: it makes the time pass by faster, and it's better than eyeball reading a book while driving. A lot of books I read are nonfiction, science-based and usually about psychology, but I enjoy other topics, too. Like economics. (What? What's wrong with economics? It can be fun. Well, maybe not macroeconomics.) I do read fiction, too, but not as much as I'd like. Anyway, here's a sample of some books I've read, or am reading.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This one's right up my alley: A book for middle-aged white guys, full of references to D&D, classic video games, and '80s music. Apparently, other people enjoy it, too. The story itself is structured like a video game, making you wonder whether the protagonist will complete the final level and defeat the boss. Not only was the book filled with all kinds of coolness, Cline also wrote a working Atari 2600 game, The Stacks. This game was part of an online scavenger hunt; the winner was given a DMC DeLorean by Cline. This book is going to be made into a movie. Read the book, cuz we all know the movie is never as good. Atari 2600, eh? That brings me to...

Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System by Nick Montfort & Ian Bogost
Ah, more geekery. This book is about the inner workings of the Atari VCS, a.k.a. the 2600, the game console of my youth. It starts by explaining the technical workings of the system, like the horizontal blank and the vertical blank. And then it gets really interesting. No, really. It explains the development of six classic cartridges including Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man, and Pitfall! Even if you're not into the technical side of games, if you've ever played these games online, it's interesting to read about the stories behind the games. For example, I learned that Yar's Revenge started off as a port of the arcade game Star Castle. Neato!

Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaid
Although it sounds like this is a "food" book (another one of my favourite topics!), it's really about the sense of taste. You gotta love a book that starts off with a discussion of Edwin Boring's mistaken tongue map. Other chapters cover the quest to grow the world's hottest chili pepper: for the record (literally), the Carolina Reaper, and the effects of the miracle fruit. Although it seems like it's all about taste (per se), there's also quite a bit about flavour. What's the diff? You could just look it up on Wikipedia. Or you could take my PSYCO 367: Perception class. I'll be sure to add some interesting things from this book.
What are you reading?

Why aren't you studying?


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