I would like to know which books lobsters read in 2018 and more importantly which would you recommend ?
I read Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and loved it. Blew my mind. It did take a while to get going, though. But totally worth it.
Anathem is really wonderful, I would suggest it too.
Books I enjoyed in 2018 and think are worth reading include:
Loved the Kite Runner, can indeed recommend that you read more of the same author. It does get a bit “same, same” after a while. So I also recommend reading a few other authors before you come back.
The Old Man and the Sea, funnily enough, didn’t really fascinate me. Might have to read it again.
Your last book reminds me of “The Wizard and the Prophets”, which I haven’t read, but was paraphrased in the Freakanomics podcast episode “Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet (Ep. 346)”. Found it thought-provoking and irritating – but in a good way. Quote from the podcast description: “The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem.”
+1 for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. That and the concept of rationality from Yudkowsky changed the way how I look at the world.
I put off reading harry potter and the methods of rationality when I first heard of it because of it being sold as fanfiction, but it might be my favorite book.
Absolutely, I can’t recommend it enough!
Read two doorstoppers over the summer and I wholeheartedly recommend them:
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: sort of a memed on book at this point, but it really does affect you. In one of his interviews, Wallace talked about how despite being so materially fulfilled, how he and those around him were ultimately unhappy. This theme was very significant in the book and I found it to be quite poignant and led to self-reflection. The first ~200 pages are difficult to get through because so much information is thrown at you, but almost everything harmoniously fits together by the end which makes for an extremely rewarding, and due to Wallace’s prose and humor, fun, reading experience.
Master of the Senate by Robert A. Caro: describes the Senate career of Lyndon B. Johnson and broadened my insights both in a political sphere and a more personal one. One of Caro’s main theses in the book is that the Senate, by design, is extremely resilient to change. However, Johnson managed to push a civil rights bill through the Senate, the first since the Civil War era. This ties into the personality aspect of the book and how Johnson managed to appease both gung-ho egalitarian liberals and the staunchly racist Southern Democrats to get what he wanted done. You come out with a better understanding of how power structures operate and how they are to be navigated.
I have to chime in to also suggest trying something by Murakami
Basically every elixir book I could get my hands on. Out of all of them “elixir in action” was my favorite. Now starting on rust with “the rust programming language”. Other then that I read through a couple marketing books in preparation for launching my saas.
As always, my full list is here: http://kitakitsune.org/raw/doctene_knihy.txt
This year is the first time I’ve done writeup on books I liked in english: Books that changed my point of view.
I would definitely recommend:
Best book this year so far was definitely Mastery.
Apparently I’ve read quite a few this year. These are all scifi and are worth reading IMO!
Looking for new scifi recommendations!
Infinity Engine (Transformation #3)
Semiosis: A novel of first contact
Dogs of War
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
The Dreaming Stars
Acceptance (Southern Reach #3)
Authority (Southern Reach #2)
Elysium Fire (Inspector Dreyfus 2)
Anywhere But Earth: new tales from outer space
Herokiller: A Novel
The Freeze-Frame Revolution
The Soldier (Rise of the Jain #1)
The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1)
Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)
Binti (Binti, #1)
The Wrong Stars
Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)
Ghosts of Tomorrow
Embers of War
Conventions of War (Dread Empire’s Fall #3)
The Sundering (Dread Empire’s Fall #2)
The Praxis (Dread Empire’s Fall #1)
The Last Colony (Old Man’s War, #3)
The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War, #2)
The Neutronium Alchemist (Night’s Dawn, #2)
Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1)
Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)
The Collapsing Empire
Wolf Moon (Luna #2)
Luna: New Moon
All These Worlds (Bobiverse, #3)
For We Are Many (Bobiverse, #2)
We Are Legion - We Are Bob (Bobiverse, #1)
Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7)
The Naked God (Night’s Dawn, #3)
I just finished Annihiliation and I’m dying to get to the rest of the trilogy. I loved the pacing and the style. I am always looking for SF with sociological / biological themes and this delivered on both.
I didn’t enjoy the other two as much as Annihilation. They were very well written (of course), but just not my thing really.
If you haven’t read Borne by the same writer, I can highly recommend that. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. Possibly the best.
You might find some more books that you like on my profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/25834255-andrew
I liked Iron Sunrise better than Singularity Sky, but YMMV. (If you haven’t already read it, definitely pick up Accelerando.)
I liked Iron Sunrise better than Singularity Sky, but YMMV. (If you haven’t already read it, definitely pick up Accelerando.)
I actually just looked in goodreads and I only rated Singularity Sky 3/5. I normally really enjoy Stross! I’ll give Iron Sunrise a try. It’s weird, I do remember enjoying Singularity Sky actually. Not sure why I rated it so low.
Accelerando! I’ve been holding off on reading that for years, maybe because it’s so “mainstream” :)
I’ll add it to my list right this moment. Thanks for the recommendation!
By the way, Glasshouse by Stross I really enjoyed!
Wow, great list!
I’d look at Ken MacLeod’s Fall Revolution trilogy, and most stuff by Paul McAuley (Quiet War especially).
Thanks! I’m adding Fall Revolution to my list right now! It looks right up my alley.
I actually have Quiet War in my list but stopped reading it in 2017 for some reason. I’ll have to have another look.
The Organized Mind - this book takes a look at how modern advances in neuroscience can help us leverage the way the brain works to be better organized. I need all the help I can get on this score, and found the book both useful and insightful.
The Tao of Seneca - Stoicism has some real lessons to teach for tech workers and/or entrepreneurs. The idea of ‘fear setting’ is incredibly powerful and totally worth knowing about as a tool for culling imposter syndrome among other things.
Rise and Kill First - This is a history of Israel’s secret targeted assassination program. Some super interesting lessons here on the wisdom of using brute force tactics versus more finessed options.
The Ghost - This guy really was the archetype rogue intelligence officer. In the course of his storied career he carried out mass suriveilance operations on the American public, was involved in various coup and assassination attempts and in general did all the things we’re assured that the average intelligence operative doesn’t do.
The Wolves at the Door - This is the story of Virginia Hall, one of America’s most accomplished spies during WWII. Despite losing her leg in a hunting accident before the war, she ran one of the most successful spy rings first for the Brits in the OSS and then later for American intelligence.
It’s been a slow year for me:
I’m about to finish Vol 1 of The Gulag Archipelago, too.
I’d highly recommend all of them.
I’m almost finished reading The Phoenix Project and I can highly recommend it. It’s a fictional story that follows the main character as they transition a company from waterfall to agile basically
My book-reading took a deep dive this year. I’m seeing more and more that I find the bite-size chunks of Twitter and timesinks of YouTube are sucking up more of my time and attention.
Partly this is because I figured out I can just read on my phone or tablet, but I still find physical books more congenial.
From my blog -
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
I bet many here have read it already, given how old it is.
Tense Bees and Shell-Shocked Crabs: Are Animals Conscious?
Philosophical discussion about consciousness in general and in animals. It’s not exactly easy reading, but not really hard for the topic. This is why I’ve not finished it yet, but will try to in the holidays.
I’ve discovered I can read books while working out on a treadmill, so:
[sci-fi] “K-PAX” by Gene Brewer, 3 tomes – written from the perspective of a psychiactric doctor researching the case of some guy with personality disorder who claims that one of his identities is from another planet named K-PAX,
[cs] “Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation” by Jez Humble and David Farley – a little bit boring but useful info if you’re into building continuous integration infrastructure at your company,
[psychology] “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini – this nice book describes what are the popular tricks that are designed to make us buy stuff. Lots of nice every-day examples how the world (I mean other people) tries to take advantage of a normal person,
[security] “Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door” by Brian Krebs – Author describes his research in the russian (mostly) spam world,
[fantasy] “Chronicles of Amber” by Roger Zelazny, 5 tomes – what Game of Thrones could be inspired from,
[sci-fi] “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” by Cixin Liu, 2 tomes: Three-Body problem and The Dark Forest, didn’t get to read 3rd tome, but it’s a very nice novel of how Fermi Paradox could be played in practice,
[pop sci] “Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose” by Deirdre Barrett, a little bit boring but only because I’ve read few position of Richard Dawkins before this. A book about urges and loosing control over things,
[cs] “Programming Rust: Fast, Safe Systems Development” by Jim Blandy – very nice book about Rust language! Written in a way that allows you to overcome problems with the borrow checker :),
[cs] “Learning Scala: Practical Functional Programming for the JVM” by Jason Swartz – this one assumes you’re already programming in different languages and you already have experience with basic problems encountered in programming, but still interesting and pretty complete tour of Scala language,
[pop sci] “The Blind Watchmaker” by Richard Dawkins – some information overlaps with Selfish Gene by Dawkins, but still worth reading if you’re into getting facts about the environment we live in,
[memoirs] “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” by Susannah Cahalan – fragments of memory written by a woman who suffered from a pretty dangerous brain inflammation.
Re: K-PAX, you might not be aware that it’s based on a purportedly-true story. Robert Lindner wrote a collection of case studies from his history as a shrink. One of the most famous cases is of the pseudonymous “Kirk Allen” – a government scientist who had recurring dreams of is life on an elaborate and very consistent alien world, and delusions that this alien world was his real life while life on earth was a dream. Lindner claims to have begun to suffer transference – he believed “Allen” was indeed an alien at the time that “Allen” finally shook off the delusion. Brian Aldiss (& others) floated that “Allen” might be dipomat & army psychologist Paul Linebarger, better known as Cordwainer Smith (the author of the Instrumentality of Man stories, from which Frank Herbert drew heavy influence for Dune).
You gave me several interesting topics to pursue, thanks!
I haven’t had a lot of time to read this year, since deadlines at work have kept me from taking vacation. A lot of these books are ones I’ve been nursing for years – in particular, The New Weird and Politics and the Occult, both of which I started in 2014.
Manga & Comics:
Books I started this year but have not yet finished:
I remember reading Vurt when it was first published and it still sticks with me. Jeff Noon tweets sometimes and the best of those are mini-novels on their own.
It seems pretty controversial – about half the reviews on goodreads were claiming that it was shallow & vapid. So, I only grabbed a copy after following him on twitter for awhile & liking most of his writing there.
I blogged about the books I read: https://j11g.com/2018/12/28/ten-notable-books-i-read-in-2018/
Five Proofs for the Existence of God - Edward Feser: Goes through the classical arguments for God’s existence and points out the problems with some of the standard counter-arguments
Zero to One: This book is very concise and to the point and gives a different perspective on the world : avoid competition, all successful companies are different, a small handful of companies radically outperform all other companies ( power law ) etc
I’ve read a lot of books this year – I set a goal for 52 at the beginning of the year and passed it earlier this month. Of those, here are some of my favorites:
Why did this get downvoted?