Zak Kukoff

Zak Kukoff

One man party round. Investing early at @gcvp. See my best (recent) tweets: https://t.co/shCdrwWgOl

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20+ Book Recommendations by Zak Kukoff

  • The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and its amazing 'White City' was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was an architect, the other a serial killer. The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair - and his own devilish charms - to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago's infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World's Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium. These two disparate but driven men together with a remarkable supporting cast of colourful characters, including as Buffalo Bill, George Ferris, Thomas Edison and some of the 27 million others who converged on the dazzling spectacle of the White City, are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century.

    Great books to read during quarantine: • The Devil in the White City • Wolf Hall • The Hot Zone (if you want to freak yourself out) What else?

  • The Hot Zone

    Richard Preston

    Imagine a killer with the infectiousness of the common cold and power of the Black Death. Imagine something so deadly that it wipes out 90% of those it touches. Imagine an organism against which there is no defence. But you don't need to imagine. Such a killer exists: it is a virus and its name is Ebola. The Hot Zone tells what happens when the unthinkable becomes reality: when a deadly virus, from the rain forests of Africa, crosses continents and infects a monkey house ten miles from the White House. Ebola is that reality. It has the power to decimate the world's population. Try not to panic. It will be back. There is nothing you can do...

    Great books to read during quarantine: • The Devil in the White City • Wolf Hall • The Hot Zone (if you want to freak yourself out) What else?

  • Wolf Hall

    Hilary Mantel

    Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome and many of his people, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price. By the Hawthornden Prize-winning author of Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. 40,000 first printing.

    Great books to read during quarantine: • The Devil in the White City • Wolf Hall • The Hot Zone (if you want to freak yourself out) What else?

  • American Gods

    Neil Gaiman

    Now a STARZ® Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber. Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself. Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path. “Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose—American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages.”—Washington Post

    @pjux American Gods is great. Big Gaiman fan

  • Ra

    Sam Hughes

    @kevinakwok @qntm @z Have you read Ra by the same author? A little more uneven but I also really enjoyed it

  • No drinking. No smoking. No cursing. No dancing. No R-rated movies. Kevin Roose wasn't used to rules like these. As a sophomore at Brown University, he spent his days drinking fair-trade coffee, singing in an a cappella group, and fitting right in with Brown's free-spirited, ultra-liberal student body. But when Roose leaves his Ivy League confines to spend a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Baptist school in Lynchburg, Virginia, obedience is no longer optional. Liberty is the late Reverend Jerry Falwell's "Bible Boot Camp" for young evangelicals, his training ground for the next generation of America's Religious Right. Liberty's ten thousand undergraduates take courses like Evangelism 101, hear from guest speakers like Sean Hannity and Karl Rove, and follow a forty-six-page code of conduct that regulates every aspect of their social lives. Hoping to connect with his evangelical peers, Roose decides to enroll at Liberty as a new transfer student, leaping across the God Divide and chronicling his adventures in this daring report from the front lines of America's culture war. His journey takes him from an evangelical hip-hop concert to choir practice at Falwell's legendary Thomas Road Baptist Church. He experiments with prayer, participates in a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach (where he learns to preach the gospel to partying coeds), and pays a visit to Every Man's Battle, an on-campus support group for chronic masturbators. He meets pastors' kids, closet doubters, Christian rebels, and conducts what would be the last print interview of Rev. Falwell's life. Hilarious and heartwarming, respectful and thought-provoking, THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE will inspire and entertain believers and nonbelievers alike.

    If you enjoy this genre, also recommend the book The Unlikely Disciple, about an Ivy League (Brown) student who transfers to Liberty University for a semester—and finds it isn’t what he expected https://t.co/wXYwIUuc0p

  • Nixonland

    Rick Perlstein

    Told with urgency and sharp political insight, Nixonland recaptures America's turbulent 1960s and early 1970s and reveals how Richard Nixon rose from the political grave to seize and hold the presidency. Perlstein's epic account begins in the blood and fire of the 1965 Watts riots, nine months after Lyndon Johnson's historic landslide victory over Barry Goldwater appeared to herald a permanent liberal consensus in the United States. Yet the next year, scores of liberals were tossed out of Congress, America was more divided than ever, and a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback: Richard Nixon. Between 1965 and 1972, America experienced no less than a second civil war. Out of its ashes, the political world we know now was born. It was the era not only of Nixon, Johnson, Spiro Agnew, Hubert H. Humphrey, George McGovern, Richard J. Daley, and George Wallace but Abbie Hoffman, Ronald Reagan, Angela Davis, Ted Kennedy, Charles Manson, John Lindsay, and Jane Fonda. There are tantalizing glimpses of Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, and even of two ambitious young men named Karl Rove and William Clinton -- and a not so ambitious young man named George W. Bush. Cataclysms tell the story of Nixonland: -Angry blacks burning down their neighborhoods in cities across the land as white suburbanites defend home and hearth with shotguns -The student insurgency over the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention -The fissuring of the Democratic Party into warring factions manipulated by the “dirty tricks” of Nixon and his Committee to Re-Elect the President -Richard Nixon pledging a new dawn of national unity, governing more divisively than any president before him, then directing a criminal conspiracy, the Watergate cover-up, from the Oval Office Then, in November 1972, Nixon, harvesting the bitterness and resentment born of America's turmoil, was reelected in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's 1964 victory, not only setting the stage for his dramatic 1974 resignation but defining the terms of the ideological divide that characterizes America today. Filled with prodigious research and driven by a powerful narrative, Rick Perlstein's magisterial account of how America divided confirms his place as one of our country's most celebrated historians.

    @andrewchen Nixonland by Rick Perlstein

  • I grew up reading stories like Chasing Vermeer and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler that promised me that solving art mysteries would be a big part of my life I’m almost 25 and, to date, have solved *zero* art mysteries. I feel lied to

  • 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved classic From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. In this winner of the Newbery Medal from E.L. Konigsburg, when suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away...so she decided not to run FROM somewhere, but TO somewhere. And so, after some careful planning, she and her younger brother, Jamie, escaped -- right into a mystery that made headlines!

    I grew up reading stories like Chasing Vermeer and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler that promised me that solving art mysteries would be a big part of my life I’m almost 25 and, to date, have solved *zero* art mysteries. I feel lied to

  • Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award for 1990. Now, collected for the first time, are all seven of this extraordinary writer's extraordinary stories--plus a new story written especially for this volume.

    @primary_alt he's amazing. probably my all-time favorite short-story/novella writer. Start with the collection Stories of Your Life and Others, which includes the story that Arrival is based on

  • Palimpsest

    Catherynne M. Valente

    "Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse -- a voyage permitted only to those who've always believed there's another wor

    @primary_alt Highly recommend Ted Chiang if you haven't read already. Otherwise I really enjoyed reading the novella Palimpsest recently (a remix of Asimov's End of Eternity, which is also great)

  • "This book exposes our unconscious selfish motives, those we're reluctant to discuss or even think about. These motives drive our body language, laughter, and conversation, as well as venerated institutions like art, school, charity, medicine, politics, and religion"--

    Who’s read/is reading The Elephant in the Brain? I want to get a book club together for it

  • An updated version of the StrengthsFinder program developed by Gallup experts to help readers discover their distinct talents and strengths and how they can be translated into personal and career successes.

    @tristajaye Love StrengthsFinder!

  • Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award for 1990. Now, collected for the first time, are all seven of this extraordinary writer's extraordinary stories--plus a new story written especially for this volume.

    @zebulgar I've seen a few doing it -- definitely an interesting space. Which story? I love Chiang but I've only read a few stories in that collection (Understand, Story of Your Life, and Hell)

  • I’m spending the weekend at my childhood home and (re)discovered Heroes Every Child Should Know, a classic children’s book from 1907. Here are some of the essential heroes for early 20th century children: - David - King Arthur - Richard the Lion-Hearted - George Washington https://t.co/5yu7JT38TP

  • Airborn

    Kenneth Oppel

    Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there'd been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the way back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud. . . . Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious. In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

    There were so many for me. Chasing Vermeer (+ sequels), Airborn, Feed, basically everything by Max Barry (especially Jennifer Government), The Westing Game, Little Brother. It feels like so many of my cultural and political interests/beliefs were shaped by what I read as a kid

  • Feed

    M. T. Anderson

    In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

    There were so many for me. Chasing Vermeer (+ sequels), Airborn, Feed, basically everything by Max Barry (especially Jennifer Government), The Westing Game, Little Brother. It feels like so many of my cultural and political interests/beliefs were shaped by what I read as a kid

  • From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world. In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.

    Actually though everyone should read The Wizard and the Prophet both: a) to get this joke and b) because it is excellent https://t.co/PKVuF0lFg3

  • Parents: buy Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game for your kids. (FYI — these are also fun books for all ages too)

  • The Westing Game

    Ellen Raskin

    The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance.

    Parents: buy Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game for your kids. (FYI — these are also fun books for all ages too)

  • What it Takes

    Richard Ben Cramer

    What It Takes is one of my favorite books on politics — highly recommended https://t.co/HdDl7wIEIQ

  • Go order now! The book looks even better in person. Amazon: Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter: The Pocket Guide to Everyday Conversations https://t.co/bIMBfkYazW Publisher: https://t.co/gJNUgHWd2U https://t.co/tTBQamoUJF

  • Crooked

    Austin Grossman

    @sknthla Crooked by Austin Grossman. It’s political history meets HP Lovecraft — a bit uneven but very fun. His brother Lev wrote The Magicians, which was super influential on me in high school