The portfolio and blog of David Bennett

Knowing I lov'd my books, he furnish'd me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.

- William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Sc. 2

This is a list of the books I'm reading, recent books I've read and books I plan to read. Where possible, I've attempted to include some information about the book, perhaps a brief review and, most important, links to other books by the same author, read-alikes (books by other authors that may appeal) and similar recommendation tools.

The books listed as favorites are significant to me in some way or another. Mostly, they are books that I particularly enjoyed or that struck a chord in me. In most cases, I also feel that they are excellent books from a literary standpoint, as well. My hope is that if you enjoy some of the authors and books on this page, you may find something else here you haven't read that may be of interest. Regrettably, some of them are a trifle obscure and may be out of print. Where that's the case, I encourage you to try and track them down. As a note, either I have good taste in books or, far more likely, the same kind of quirky taste as some editors since a number of these books reappear as reprints at regular intervals.

Currently reading

What Matters Most

From the publisher:
On July 17, 2009, Chanel Reynolds’s husband, José, was sideswiped by a van while cycling near their home in Seattle. In the aftermath of her husband’s sudden death, Reynolds quickly realized that she was left bewildered and underprepared for what happens next. What was the password to his phone? Did they sign their wills? How much insurance did they have? Could she afford the house? And what the hell was probate court anyway? Simply put, when life went sideways she didn’t have her shit together.

As it turns out, most of us don’t either. We’re too busy, in denial, overwhelmed, don’t know where to start. We procrastinate or outright avoid having these difficult yet critical conversations.

Reynolds learned the hard way that hoping for the best is not a plan, but you don’t have to. Drawing on her first-hand experience, expert advice, and the unparalleled resources she’s compiled from her popular website and checklists, Reynolds lends her, friendly, human voice to help readers navigate and avoid much of confusion, overwhelm, and uncertainty when ‘something happens’ and learn how to:

• Create a will, living will, and power of attorney documents
• Update (or finally get) the right life insurance policy
• Start or grow an emergency fund and prioritize your spending
• Make a watertight emergency and ‘What-If’ plan
• Keep secure, up-to-date records of personal information

Authoritative yet intimate, grounded but irreverent, Reynolds’s voice carries readers through a tough subject with candor and compassion. Weaving personal story with hard-won wisdom, What Matters Most is the approachable, no-nonsense handbook we all need to living a life free of worry and “what ifs.”

Through Dungeons Deep: A Fantasy Gamers’ Handbook

From the publisher:
Through Dungeons Deep delves into the art of role-playing, showing players and Game Masters how to have more fun and excitement with fantasy role-playing games.

First published during the original Dungeons & Dragons boom, this book was an instant classic and is now part of the old-school revival. Long out of print, the original edition sells for several times its cover price. This Norton Creek Press reprint makes the book available (and affordable) again.

Robert Plamondon wrote Through Dungeons Deep after realizing that the most important part of role-playing games—role playing—is barely mentioned in gaming systems. When it is, role-playing is often confused with “following the rules.” But role-playing really boils down to make-believe—or perhaps “interactive fiction” is the right term—and the real fun in role-playing games comes from unlocking your imagination.

But it’s also important to carry a length of rope and wear shoes you can run in.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

From the publisher:
Developing video games—hero’s journey or fool’s errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today’s hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes readers on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development, where the creator may be a team of 600 overworked underdogs or a solitary geek genius. Exploring the artistic challenges, technical impossibilities, marketplace demands, and Donkey Kong-sized monkey wrenches thrown into the works by corporate, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels reveals how bringing any game to completion is more than Sisyphean—it’s nothing short of miraculous.

Taking some of the most popular, bestselling recent games, Schreier immerses readers in the hellfire of the development process, whether it’s RPG studio Bioware’s challenge to beat an impossible schedule and overcome countless technical nightmares to build Dragon Age: Inquisition; indie developer Eric Barone’s single-handed efforts to grow country-life RPG Stardew Valley from one man’s vision into a multi-million-dollar franchise; or Bungie spinning out from their corporate overlords at Microsoft to create Destiny, a brand new universe that they hoped would become as iconic as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—even as it nearly ripped their studio apart.

Documenting the round-the-clock crunches, buggy-eyed burnout, and last-minute saves, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a journey through development hell—and ultimately a tribute to the dedicated diehards and unsung heroes who scale mountains of obstacles in their quests to create the best games imaginable.

Skye Falling

From the publisher:
When she was twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye still moves through life entirely—and unrepentantly—on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Maybe her junior high classmates weren’t wrong when they voted her “Most Likely to Be Single” instead of “Most Ride-or-Die Homie,” but at least she’s always been free to do as she pleases.

Then a twelve-year-old girl tracks Skye down during one of her brief visits to her hometown of Philadelphia and informs Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Things get even more complicated when Skye realizes that the woman she tried and failed to pick up the other day is the girl’s aunt, and now it’s awkward. All the while, her brother is trying to get in touch, her mother is being bewilderingly kind, and the West Philly pool halls and hoagie shops of her youth have been replaced by hipster cafés.

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Books I'm planning to read

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My favorite books

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Recently read books

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