Book Log

Colleen Gordon

Course Log



John Gordon

Photo Gallery


Colleen Gordon
Deb Cooper
Heather Gordon

Books I Read in 2016

January, 2016
The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History Elizabeth Kolbert
    Interesting, careful, cogent, very well documented exposition. For the sixth time, our Earth is relatively rapidly losing countless of its animal and plant species. This time it is because of the behavior of us humans. Lest we change our ways, we may even be dooming ourselves to extinction!
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How Daniel Coyle
    Great, inspirational read. Develop and myelinate those talent nerve circuits with deep practice, ignition (inspiration and motivation) and master coaching. Three rules of deep practice: 1) chunk it up, 2) repeat it, and 3) learn to feel it. The virtues of a master coach: the matrix (deep practical knowledge base), perceptiveness, the GPS reflex (step by step directional guidance) and theatrical honesty.
Death by Water Kenzaburo Oe, translated (Japaneze) by Deborah Boliver Boehm
    Challenging but rewarding self-analysis in the shape of an interesting novel by a Nobel laureate.
The Accursed Joyce Carol Oates
    Historical fictional far-fetched fantasy involving Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Upton Sinclair, Jack London and others connected to the accursed Slade family who encounter evil fiends, ghosts, serpents, violent deaths and eventual reincarnations.
The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins
    Gripping thriller!
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
    Murder mystery with a surprising twist or two.
February, 2016
Preparation for the Next Life Atticus Lish
    Wow! This is a powerfully good book! And now is just the right time to tell a love story like this. Iraq war PTSD. Illegal Asian immigrant. Careful, accurate, straightforward descriptive language. Clear sense of profound, at times frightening, realism. This book will stick with you. Winner of the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award.
Dept. of Speculation Jenny Offill
    Moving story of a wife in a troubled marriage told uniquely and very effectively as a chronology of bits and pieces including brief diary-like entries, quotes, anecdotes, observations, insights and conversations.
The Lola Quartet Emily St. John Mandel
    Tense tale, well-told.
Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline
    Wonderful piece of historical fiction, told in a most delightful way with voices that resonate with timeless truth. Will put a tear in your eye and a smile on your face.
Last Night in Montreal Emily St. John Mandel
    Outstanding debut novel!
March, 2016
Thirteen Ways of Looking Colum McCann
    Four wonderful stories from one of our best writers. "For all its imagined moments, literature works in unimaginable ways."
Education and Character: Essays from the Birchwood Clipboard Charles Debelak
    Birchwood School founder and head, Debelak is a very thoughtful and experienced educational guru. Be inspired to raise great kids!
Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End Atul Gawande
    Well referenced and very well written. Should be required reading for all health care providers.
The Visiting Privilege, New and Collected Stories Joy Williams
    Good stuff.
Rediscover Jesus, An Invitation Matthew Kelly
Tibetan Peach Pie, A True Account of an Imaginative Life Tom Robbins
    Fun, funny, fantastic memoir from a uniquely talented writer.
April, 2016
The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen
    Superb debut novel. Insider perspective on the personal and psychological significance of the Viet Nam war.
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster
    Wonderful, hilarious, educational! Read aloud to my 3 sons who also loved it.
When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi
    Unforgettably tragic. Brilliant young neurosurgeon tells the story of his struggle, dealing with life while facing death from lung cancer. His widow adds an epilogue.
United, Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Ground Cory Booker
    Our junior senator from New Jersey, former mayor of Newark, tells his inspiring story.
Madeleine is Sleeping Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
    Remarkable, strikingly original debut novel. Two stories, of the sleeping Madeleine and of her dream, told with rich, poetic language are magically woven together, merging fact and fantasy. Is it all a mysterious kind of dream?
Stargirl Jerry Spinelli
    Meet the delightful, mysterious and inimitable Stargirl in this wonderful coming of age YA story.
May, 2016
Give and Take, A Revolutionary Approach to Success Adam Grant
    Givers are at risk to become bottom dwelling doormats, but careful, 'otherish' givers rise to the top of their businesses and social groups! Action plan: 1. Test your giver quotient at giveandtake.com, 2. Run a reciprocity ring (see Humax) and Favo.rs, 3. Help other people craft their jobs - or craft yours to incorporate more giving (jobcrafting.org), 4. Start a love machine; for example see SendLove, 5. Embrace the five-minute favor, 6. Practice powerless communication, but become an advocate (see Susan Cain's blog and GetRaised), 7. Join a community of givers, e.g. freecycle and ServiceSpace 8. Launch a personal generosity experiment, 9. Help fund a project, 10. Seek help more often.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Susan Cain
    Let's praise and celebrate our introverts. We need them.
I Don't Sleep With Democrats Kathy Matta
    Riotous Republican romp and rant.
June, 2016
Never Split the Difference, Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
    Experience and advice from former FBI hostage negotiator. Elements of a negotiation one sheet: 1) The Goal, 2) Summary, 3) Labels/accusation audit, 4) Calibrated Questions, 5) Identify behind-the-table deal killers, 6) Identify & diffuse deal-killing issues, 7) Noncash offers. How am I supposed to do that? See The Black Swan Group.
The "Me, Me, Me" Epidemic, A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World Amy McCready
    Lots of good ideas, very well explained, starting with the essential "Mind, Body and Soul Time." Let's raise responsible, respectful, grateful, un-entitled kids!
July, 2016
The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann, translated (German) by John E. Woods
    Unique masterwork! Deeply rewarding.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance Angela Duckworth
    Very readable, cogent examination of grit - passion and perseverance for long term goals. Grit trumps talent, and, yes, we can lead ourselves and our kids to be gritty. To find out how gritty you are, take the grit test.
Barkskins Annie Proulx
    Epic masterpiece of historical fiction by one of our greatest writers! Proulx's language is rich and delicious; her characters so very alive. And what can we short-sighted barkskins do to help renew our planet's forests?
August, 2016
Zero K Don DeLillo
    Darkly engaging.
The Best American Short Stories 2015 eds. T.C. Boyle, Heidi Pitlor
    Wonderful collection of twenty real gems!
LaRose Louise Erdrich
    Story telling at its best! Irresistible characters!
Gold Boy, Emerald Girl Yiyun Li
    Stories surprising and enchanting!
The Birthdays Heidi Pitlor
Almost Famous Women Megan Mayhew Bergman
    Interesting fictional vignettes inspired by real, unusual, eccentric women on the edge.
September, 2016
Originals, How Non-conformists Move the World Adam Grant Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? Kate DiCamillo
    Wonderful children's story by a master.
The Introvert Advantage, How to Thrive in an Extrovert World Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
    Lots of helpful tips.
Heart of Palm Laura Lee Smith
    Engrossing tale of dysfunctional family in rural Florida. Fine first novel.
Developing Math Talent, A Guide for Educating Gifted and Advanced Learners in Math Susan Assouline Ph.D. and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik Ph.D.
    Well done. Thoroughly referenced work for educators, including parents.
The Wilds Julia Elliott
    Wonderfully imaginative stories, darkly painted with exquisite language!
The Cricket in Times Square George Shelden
    Wonderful children's story. Newbery Honor book.
Elegy on Kinderklavier Arna Bontemps Hemenway
    Told with profound empathy, compelling stories that must be read! Required reading! Winner of the 2015 PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction.
Fools Joan Silber
    Nice collection of well-told stories. Memorable characters.
October, 2016
The New and Improved Romie Futch Julia Elliott
    Wildly imaginative, often hilarious, always genuinely human, a great ride!
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred D. Taylor
    Powerfully moving picture of racism in the southern U.S. during the 1930's. Newbery Award winner.
The Yellow Birds Kevin Powers
    High quality historical fictional account of Iraq war horror from writer who's been there. You pray that this is just fiction, but the story profoundly and clearly rings true. It breaks your heart. National Book Award finalist.
Eileen Ottessa Moshfegh
    Unique, alluring new voice. Couldn't put down this somber and, finally, shocking debut story of Eileen's escape from her miserable life.
Delicious Foods James Hannaham
    Hannaham tries to do so much in this novel, and, largely, succeeds.
The Book of Memory Patina Gappah
    Very well done. Excellent first novel.
The Best American Short Stories 2016 eds. Junot Diaz, Heidi Pitlor
    Twenty new gems.
November, 2016
We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo
    Zimbabwean American immigrant angst, well told.
A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle
    Wonderful, classic, Newbery Medal winner read aloud to two sons. We are saved by love.
Black Flags, The Rise of ISIS Joby Warrick
    Detailed explanation of the birth and growth of ISIS in the Middle East.
The Terranauts T.C. Boyle
    Irresistible page-turner by master Boyle. Couldn't put it down.
Swing Time Zadie Smith
    Excellent. First person unnamed woman narrative memoir of a close childhood friendship and its profound, lasting influence.
December, 2016
The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business Charles Duhigg
    Very readable. Entertains while educating. The framework to change a habit: 1) Identify the routine, 2) Experiment with rewards, 3) Isolate the cue, 4) Have a plan.
Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success, Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies or Fat Envelopes Madeline Levine, PhD
    Helpful, well-referenced, guide to protecting and growing with our middle and high school age kids.
The Explosion Chronicles Yan Lianke, translated (Chinese) by Carlos Rojas
    Intriguing 'mythorealistic' portrayal of the emergence of modern China.
The Vegetarian Han Kang, translated (Korean) by Deborah Smith
    Absorbing, disturbing, heart-wrenching descent into insanity. Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.
The Four Books Yan Lianke, translated (Chinese) by Carlos Rojas
    Penetrating allegorical exposition of Mao's Great Leap Forward into the Great Famine. International Man Booker Prize finalist.

Greg Gordon MD, CFII