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I’m currently reading “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty”. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately but I’d like to read amazing fiction books as well. What fiction books should be read? What are y’all reading?

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    I’m reading “The Manager’s Path” by Camille Fournier. It shows you how to not only be a great manager but a great employee as well!

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      I met her at Strange Loop and her talk was great. I’ll check this out.

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      “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. Only read the prologue and intro so far. Will get some good reading time tomorrow night!

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        Just a friendly public service announcement from someone trained in anthropology: Diamond is great at suggesting stimulating solutions to grand historical questions, but he’s less great at being correct.

        I’d recommended keeping your skeptical hat firmly on, and to follow up with some of the material from here after you finish.

        Don’t want to spoil a good read, just feel obligated as a once-anthropologist.

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          Thanks for the heads up and the recommendation! I’ve read these kinds of books before and have learned to be cautious…most notoriously from the book “1421”, which has largely been debunked. I try to not let it spoil my experience of a good read though :)

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          I think it is a great book, and easy to read. If you’re not aware of it, there is a documentary that covers the same subjects, shares the name, and involved the author, James Diamond.

          Link, if you’re curious: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475043/

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          Non-fiction: I’m still working through Naomi Klein’s “No Is Not Enough”, and am trying to decide on the best historical book to read about the Opium Wars (advice welcome!).

          Fiction: just started Annie Proulx’s “Barkskins”, really rich and dense in the first couple of sections so far. Just finished James Ellroy’s “The Cold Six Thousand”, the second part of his America Trilogy, it’s superb stuff, such a furious pace and yet still so much to find between the lines.

          Tech: planning to pick back up on working through the Elm tutorials, got distracted by work a few weeks ago. Pah, work. ;-)

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            I think The Cold Six Thousand is the best of Ellroy’s books, although I am also very fond of LA Confidential and The Big Nowhere. I very much enjoy the black-hearted misanthropy.

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              Agree, it’s pretty amazing. Don’t know if I’d say it’s completely misanthropic as there’s a real sense of sympathy for the main characters’ journeys to where they get to - certainly Janice, Barb, Arden (hmm maybe there’s a theme there!) but also Ward and even Wayne Junior - and the extraordinary circumstances that find them there. But of course he absolutely shines a surgical light on the brutal, cold, dark hearts of many - which I very much enjoy too, even if it leaves me pretty stunned. The ending. Whoa, the ending. PRIMAL JUSTICE.

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                I feel that the time is right for a Prestige TV adaptation of the Underworld USA books.

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              Small world - I just started The Cold Six Thousand the other day. I picked it up (and a bunch of others) based on a list by author Adrian McKinty called Dirty Cops. I’m finding it a little hard to read because another book in that list (well, in this case I read the first book in David Peace’s Red Riding series) is written in the same breathtaking way and it’s pretty exhausting to read!

              BTW, if you haven’t read any McKinty, you really must. His Sean Duffy series, starring a Catholic detective in the Protestant Belfast police force during The Troubles, is amazing.

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                Thanks, I’ll check him out! I really like good crime novels but find few are really well written so a good tip like this is always very welcome.

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                  Well, I could go on and on about mystery & crime novels, but I’ll just throw a few out there -

                  • Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series - start with the “Berlin Trio” and go from there. The trio (ie, first 3) is tremendous and while some of the later ones vary in quality, the newest one, Prussian Blue, is also fantastic

                  • For new ones, I’ve really enjoyed the first 2 books in Owen Laukkanen’s Stevens & Windermere. There’s some interesting writing and the tension of the interplay between the two is unique

                  • And if you like to mix sci-fi with your mystery, you could do worse than Ben H Winters’ The Last Policeman, about the end of the world and a novice detective trying to solve a murder.

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                    Whoa, that’s great, thanks! The Winters one in particular looks up my street.

                    Sounds like you’re pretty well informed on this, but in case you haven’t come across them, I’ve enjoyed Fred Vargas novels, specially the early Adamsberg series (Chalk Circle Man) and The Three Evangelists. Very detailed research and some really nice character touches. Gets a bit formulaic later on. Also Pierre Lemaitre, he’s a Prix Goncourt winner so he knows his stuff - the Camille series is very good, pretty gruesome in places but if you’re down with Ellroy this won’t be a problem ;-)

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              On the CS front, The REXX Language by Mike Cowlishaw. I was a big Amiga guy and ARexx was one of my first loves. Maybe I’ll write my own REXX interpreter one of these days.

              On the personal front, Jesus Before the Gospels, because the history of Christianity is my other hobby.

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                Ah, ARexx. Man, that was a fantastic tool. So interesting that everyone seems to have utterly abandoned the idea of being able to address apps while they’re running and control their behavior.

                Kind of ironic that since Apple has eviscerated their user scripting group that the only thing that does this in the modern day is Powershell.

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                Currently reading:

                • About 35% through Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw. The storyline is ok-fine but the real entertainment here is hearing Yahtzee’s voice in your head as you read. I don’t really watch Zero Punctuation game reviews very often any more, but his accented sarcastic tone will forever have a home in the more bellicose regions of my brain.

                • Halfway through Men at Arms (City Watch #2) by Terry Pratchett. Plan on reading all the City Watch series and then maybe the Death books.

                Just completed:

                • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. This one was excellent! I have been meaning to read it since attending the ICC in Campbell, CA and meeting him briefly one day. The best bits were not even his TV appearances or working for various heads of state, but instead the chapters about humble French farm cooking during/after WWII. His writing about this difficult time was jovial – he focused on savoring the available food and pulling together with friends/family, much like M. F. K. Fisher does in her classic How to Cook a Wolf.

                Just put aside:

                Going to read next:

                • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. My favorite works of his are some of his earliest, in particular Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. This new collection has 7 short stories and I hope to find at least a couple that I can enjoy living inside, even briefly. That’s what he does: builds a slightly magical version of the real world and invites you inside for a spell.

                • The Liar by Stephen Fry. I read The Hippopotamus ages ago and just watched the recent movie adaptation on Netflix. Despite its poor ratings, I thought it was a fantastically light-handed port from the novel with only minor updates (it was written in the early 90s). That sent me back to the bookshelf to see what else he wrote around the same time and I came back with The Liar.

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                  I put Salt down, too. For me it was too long, and at some point during the deep dive into the various methods of (and names for) preserving fish I realised I didn’t care. I think it would have been more interesting at about half the length (I think this about a lot of non-fiction, though).

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                  Currently reading:

                  • The Personal MBA. It’s a very accessible guide to the things you should know about to run a business, at fairly superficial level but deliberately so. It’s more a curriculum that a reader can choose interesting subjects from to research in more depth than an instructional. I find it very interesting and easy to pick a few topics to skim over breakfast.

                  • Designing Software Architectures. I’m struggling with motivation on this one, because it’s very deep and very detailed, being an SEI book it goes in for defining everything you could need to know rather than giving just the key points.

                  • Invoking Darkness, the third of the Babylon 5 techno-mage books. I’ve found all of these very fast-paced and have got through the trilogy in a couple of weeks.

                  I also want to find books on the following, does anyone have any recommendations?

                  • a history of the Unix wars (the ‘workstation’ period involving Sun, HP, Apollo, DEC, IBM, NeXT and SGI primarily, but really everything starting from AT&T up to Linux and OS X would be interesting)
                  • a business case study on Apple’s turnaround 1997-2001. I’ve read plenty of 1990s case studies explaining why they’ll fail, and 2010s interpretations of why they’re dominant, and Gil Amelio’s “On the Firing Line” which explains his view of how he stemmed the bleeding, but would like to fill in the gaps: particularly the changes from Dec 1997 to the iPod.
                  • a technical book on Mach (it doesn’t need to still be in print, I’ll try to track it down): I’ve read the source code for xnu, GNU Mach and mkLinux, Tevanien’s papers, and the Mac OS X Internals book, but could still do with more
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                    The Personal MBA.

                    I liked that one - many business books have an interesting concept that could be pretty well described in about 10 pages. But you can’t sell 10 page books. That book has a lot of those concepts distilled.

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                    For the 100th anniversary, I’m reading China Mieville’s October about the 1917 revolutions in Russia. It’s extremely good so far, a narrative-style history.

                    Fiction-wise I’m still slowly working my way through Jemisin’s The Fifth Season. It rules, I just haven’t had much of a mind for fiction lately.

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                      Finally getting around to reading The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, after it’s been sitting on my desk for a few months. It’s very good so far.

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                        I read that a year or two ago and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the reminder that I’ve been meaning to read more of her.

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                        Fiction, this week: Ms. Marvel Omnibus Vol. 1

                        Recently:

                        • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet
                        • Altered Carbon
                        • Mort, the first ever Terry Pratchett I read. I think I might continue down the Death sequence.

                        Non-fiction: I finished The Information a while ago. One of the best non-fiction books I have read. I’m taking a break from non-fiction for a while though.

                        @kai3x5 - what are some of your favorite fiction books? If you like sci-fi I highly recommend The Three Body Problem series.

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                          Mort is my favorite of the Pratchett I’ve read. I should go back and read more of that series.

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                            That Discworld map is fantastic ! I shall read Mort as well!

                            I loved reading Dune (original series, prequels, & sequels).

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                              The Ancillary Justice series is good. If you don’t want to bite of a series one of my favorites of stand alone sci-fi is The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.

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                            Just started reading Quantum Computing since Democritus.

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                              Finished 阿拉丁和神灯 (Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp) today. This particular edition is intended to help primary school students in China learn English, but it works equally well for my purposes of learning Chinese :)

                              A lot of the other books mentioned here look really interesting; I always like these threads :)

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                                阿拉丁和神灯

                                Have you tried any stories and novels in Chinese with side-by-side translation in English?

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                                I’m re-reading Four Futures by Peter Frase, as homework for a podcast episode I’m recording next week.

                                Also picking through the last of Endnotes 1: Preliminarily Materials For A Balance Sheet Of The 20th Century, which is also great, if a little difficult for being a dense theoretical work translated from French.

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                                  I’m making another pass at GEB, this time with copious note taking so that it’s easier to pick back up.

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                                    I am reading the “The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds” from Michael Lewis. I am enjoying it so far.

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                                      I was reading In Green’s Jungles by Gene Wolfe, but then I lost my ereader and laptop in a beer fest…

                                      So now I’m reading a few dc comics on my phone but mostly listening to philosophy and science podcasts. Such as Scifri, star talk, philosophy bites and why!

                                      Edit: Somebody found my bag with everything in it. My day just got better

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                                        Is that novel any good? Last recent Wolfe I read was The Wizard Knight and I wasn’t too impressed. Still sticks with me though.

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                                          It’s not as good as the book of the new sun, but I’m liking it. He continues the method of telling two stories at the same time. The narrator is the protagonist and he also narrates his present life, while this can make for slightly disjoint reading, I find it will often give a little more depth to the narration.

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                                        Chuang - “Sorghum and Steel”

                                        http://chuangcn.org/journal/one/sorghum-and-steel/

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                                          Blood Music by Greg Bear.

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                                            Man that book made a big impression on me back in the day.

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                                            I’m waiting for a copy of El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (“No One Writes to the Colonel”) by Gabriel García Márquez to arrive to my usual bookstore. Márquez himself said once that it was his best book and he just wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude to make people read it.

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                                              Do you find the English translations to be accurate ?

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                                                I am Spanish, so I never found myself reading Latin American literature in English. However, I can imagine that it has to be incredibly hard to translate authors like Márquez or Borges to a different language; it has to be really easy to start missing all the inherent charm their writing has.

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                                              Currently reading:

                                              • Split the Party, by Drew Hayes. Light, fun reading. I love it, but this is a very niche novel. If the premise seems like it’d be fun to you, you might like it.
                                              • Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius as translated by Martin Hammond. Only in passages.

                                              Recently finished The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford. Framed as fiction, but really a narrative around an ideology. My fiction-reading brain felt bad by the end, but my exhausted professional brain was happy for the narrative-chocolate coating.

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                                                I saw “Phoenix” got really excited and though it was a book on the History of Firefox. Looks just as interesting !

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                                                Re-reading the Practice of Programming

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                                                  Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. Book about High-frequency trading on Wall Street, rigging markets with routing algorithms etc. Really good so far. Reads a bit like a thriller, doesn’t go too far into the tech side of things but probably a lot more accessible because of that. Would recommend it.

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                                                    Currently reading:

                                                    “Convict Conditioning” by Paul Wade - a book about calisthenics training which I’m picking up seriously (not smoking for 2 years now, stopped drinking alcohol, got a door bar). The author supposedly spent 20 years in federal prison where he ‘designed’ a perfect training scheme, there is no proof whatsoever that he spent even a single day there and it might be a marketing ploy but the research I did online in general supported his training plan and claimed that following it leads to good results (although mentioning that some parts of the scheme can be greatly improved with small modifications). The book is a very fast read, full of motivational phrases dropped here and there. It starts of with the history of calisthenics focusing mostly on ancient Greece then goes on to covering each one out of the six main exercises split into 10 steps to master. The author is very openly criticizing bodybuilding (people pumping iron at gyms) and that gets annoying pretty quickly without adding any value to the book. I obviously can’t yet tell how well the exercise plan works out as I’m barely starting but so far I like the focus on perfecting the technique of each presented exercise and the graded approach from step 1 of each exercise requiring very little to the final 10th hard to master step.

                                                    In queue:

                                                    4 more books about calisthenics from the same author

                                                    “Mafia” by Petra Reski - a book about the Italian mob, it’s structure, hierarchy etc.

                                                    Just finished:

                                                    “Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected” by Jason Hanson - got this one as it had media patronage from a local Polish itsec news site and I expected some nice opsec tips from it. Highly disappointed, the book can hardly pass as a beginner preppers field book and reads like an advertisement for multiple products the author launched. Covers basic things like keeping your car at half tank, having a 72h backpack with ratios and basic survival tools etc. There are chapters dedicated to ie. getting out of handcuffs, duct tape, zip ties etc. but they are not illustrated which detracts a lot of value. In general, most of the things in this book you can pick up in much more breadth and detail online.

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                                                      Does “Convict Conditioning” have any relationship to Charles Bronson? I remember seeing the movie without knowing anything about the guy and found out he managed to put on decent amounts of muscle with just body weight exercises.

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                                                        Doesn’t look like it. Charles Bronson apparently wrote Solitary Fitness. Paul Wade didn’t ever appear anywhere online, the only interviews he did were over email, including conversations with the person posing for the pictures in the book.

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                                                      Re-reading “Designing Data-Intensive Applications” by Martin Kleppmann. On the back-burner is “A Timeless Way of Building” by Christopher Alexander.

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                                                        I’m reading “I am a Strange Loop” by Douglas Hofstadter. I’ve always been interested in how mind and consciousness can emerge from an almost binary neuronal firings in the brain. The books answer is that it happens through self-referential structures and recursion. The author also wrote the famous “Gödel, Escher, Bach” (aka GEB), which I haven’t read.

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                                                          I just finished Beartown by Fredrik Backman - an amazingly complex novel about hockey, teammates, small towns, and small minds. So emotional and intense.

                                                          I’m current reading SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard - a breezy yet incredibly information rich history of Rome.

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                                                            I just finished reading What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe, which is a delightfully absurd book.

                                                            I also just placed a book order and I’ll get the following books to read soon:

                                                            Michael Sikorski “Practical Malware Analysis: The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software” Abelson, Harold “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)” Zalewski, Michal “The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications” Seitz, Justin “Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers” Perry, Brandon “Gray Hat C#”

                                                            So a pile of different technical books to play along with and a single fiction book:

                                                            Brown, Dan “Origin: (Robert Langdon Book 5)”

                                                            I’ve loved the previous 4 installments in the series, so I had to pick up the newest one as well :)

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                                                              Fiction: Jerusalem by Alan Moore.

                                                              Non Fiction: Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid

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                                                                I’m reading “Dialectic of Enlightenment”. I’m trying to read more philosophy, especially leftist stuff. Finding it a bit of a challenging read, but very enjoyably provocative.

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                                                                  I just finished The Western Star, the latest in the Longmire series. It ends in a cliffhanger, which is something I freaking hate!

                                                                  Before that I finished Bruce Campbell’s “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor”, which I enjoyed.

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                                                                    Fiction:

                                                                    • Slogging my way through The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I say slogging, because it’s taking a lot of effort for me to not just put it aside. I’ve really enjoyed Sanderson’s other works (the entire Mistborn and Steelheart series are highly recommended), but I’m really having trouble with this one. I’ll keep pushing because there’s other books in the “Cosmere” universe that I want to read, but ask me again in a few weeks.

                                                                    • Finished the trilogy of the “We Are Legion”(aka the “Bobiverse”), which was a fun read. I have Kindle Unlimited, so those books were free for me, and I’ve had some luck, both good and bad, with this. Makes it no-risk (other than my time) to try a book and if I don’t like it, return it and get another one.

                                                                    Non-Fiction:

                                                                    • Besides a ton of research papers on the subjects of instructional design and learning (to improve my training courses), I’m reading “The Experiential Educator” by Kolb, and “The Adult Learner” by Knowles, et al.

                                                                    • Also doing reading on teaching organizational skills to kids with ADHD, e.g., Organizational Skills Training for Children with ADHD to see how I can help my 7th grade son.

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                                                                      Rereading Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science”, coincidentally, recently made freely available!

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                                                                        Fiction

                                                                        • Paradise Lost by John Milton – has been on my shelf forever, finally started on it; the parts in Hell are fun at least, but I was a bit disappointed with the style ?epub
                                                                        • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – this one’s quite engrossing, had to try it after reading the quote at https://lexgill.com/2017/09/25/four-hundred-and-ten (which by the way is a very interesting blog) ?amazon

                                                                        Non-Fiction

                                                                        • Category Theory for Programmers by Bartosz Milewski – there’s a local reading group going through this book, really liking it :-) ?epub
                                                                        • Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana – partly to get out of my comfort zone, and it does seem like a technique to take seriously; the book seems quite good so far (apart from one or two passages that made me squirm a bit) ?html
                                                                        • The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatric – practical tips about how to find out what people really need from a product, nice light read ?gumroad

                                                                        (More like “reading this year”, I tend to read too many in parallel …)

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                                                                          Not sure how I feel about it as I would rather be reading some fantasy fiction like Harry Potter or Snow Crash and working on a fun side project, but working my way through some old CS books and problems. I feel soft and like my CS skills and train of thought has started to atrophy. Building data structures from scratch, doing a few problems from the chapters. It can get a tad boring sometimes and requires a bit of discipline.

                                                                          No, I’m embarrassed to say I have never read Snow Crash. I’m on book 4 of Harry Potter and enjoy them so far, fun and easy to read and get into. Mom and brother turned me on to them. Next on deck is finishing The Chronicles of Narnia books. I’m book 2, in love with these as well. As I always have, I’m re-reading Foxtrot comics as I feel. Been doing this since about 12 years old. Never gets old for me.

                                                                          Maybe a similar themed thread about what we are watching? Or what we are playing? Working my way through Final Fantasy III (VI in North America).

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                                                                            East of Eden by Steinbeck. I have read the first two parts so far, and I’ve found it engrossing, even if it does get “just-so-y” sometimes. He paints his setting completely; although it is verbose, his descriptions are very grounded and real.

                                                                            A First Course in Modal Logic by Popkorn. It seemed interesting on the library shelf, and apparently it has applications in computer science. To be honest, the parts which are new to me are thick almost to the point of incomprehensibility. This is very much a work to absorb at its own pace.

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                                                                              Just started “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Nicely written and interesting so far. It’s refreshingly strict and solid, and at the same time not dry at all.

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                                                                                I highly recommend this book to anyone that hasn’t read it. There are also some videos on youtube if y’all pressed for time.

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                                                                                Super late to the thread, but I recently finished “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, and I’m not reading through “The Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek.

                                                                                Also skimming through some books on OpenGL and 3D graphics.

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                                                                                  Currently reading:

                                                                                  • The Ocean at the end of the lane by N Gaiman.

                                                                                  Beautifully written.

                                                                                  Hoping to start:

                                                                                  • Seveneves by N Stephenson.

                                                                                  I’m just amazed at the concept of the book above.

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                                                                                    Fernand Braudel’s A History of Civilizations

                                                                                    Watt’s Echopraxia (not enjoying this as much as Blindsight)

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                                                                                      If you like Braudel you will probably also like DeLanda’s books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_DeLanda

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                                                                                      I’m reading “American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road” by Nick Bilton. It’s an excellent book and I’m having a hard time putting it down and getting some sleep.

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                                                                                          The Weinberg Traction book is my go-to recommendation for getting devs-turned-bootstrappers started with marketing effectively. I hope it’s useful to you.

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                                                                                          Currently rereading: Deep Work by Cal Newport. I facilitate a technical bookclub at my workplace, and this is the book we’re currently on. Not my favorite Cal book. I’d argue How to Make Straight A’s in College, while focused at college students, offers more practical tool and advice than Deep Work even for professionals.

                                                                                          Recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which I highly recommend. Gretchen is flawed, methodical, and identifiable all at once. Her techniques for self examination and habit building I found very useful.

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                                                                                            I am re-reading Battle Cry, by Leon Uris. It is a factionalized account of Uris’ life as a Marine. It goes from his time in boot through his time of island hopping in the Pacific, during WWII. Much of it is historically accurate, the experiences aren’t overly exaggerated, and the picture it paints one of the more realistic tellings of the experiences shared by many Marines.

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                                                                                                I started reading “Incident Management for Operations” by Schnepp, Vidal, and Hawley, and am organizing a book club at work around it. We have a good incident response process now—the weak link is me, and all the other engineers that aren’t tuned into the theory behind incident response.

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                                                                                                  “The Dip” Just as a reminder to keep pushing.

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                                                                                                    I intend on starting on Ken MacLeod’s Emergence this week.

                                                                                                    Currently reading Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans but it’s slow going, despite (or because of!) Fehrenbach’s neo-Gibbonian prose.