Books and and things

up

Here is where I record the books I read, and a 3 sentence (or less) summary of each. I took this idea from James Clear’s ‘favorites’ – seems like a great way to condense a book down to what it meant to you after you’ve read it.

My goal, generally, is to read, or listen to, (at least) 12 books a year, a mix between fiction and non-fiction.

An asterisk next to the title indicates a book I found especially delightful.

2019

* Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits

by James Clear

CCRR - Cue, Craving, Response, Reward. Use these nobs in the positive and negative to reinforce things that can be habitual. Focus on the smallest thing to do, and don’t discount environmental changes.

Bobiverse

* We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

by Dennis E. Taylor

A software engineer wakes up as a digital copy of his now dead self, taking on the role of an AI interface for an interstellar exploration and colonization effort.

For We Are Many

by Dennis E. Taylor

Bob (and clones) get themselves into it. They have a self-defined responsibility to see humanity spread to the stars, and not die on Earth where they’ve kicked off a nuclear winter. Oh, and they might get eaten by space bugs.

All These Worlds

by Dennis E. Taylor

Bob (and even more clones) must fight and win against space bugs, or humanity and all life in the galaxy might eventually die. Bobs also learn a thing or two about love and loss, and start to explore how being a digital life form that lives forever affects their ability to relate to humanity.

Delta-V

by Daniel Suarez

A near future hard science fiction exploring what it might take to kickstart the escape from the Earth’s gravity well. Leaves me hanging a bit, as there is an unresolved hatred… but I suspect this is going to be the subject of future books. Worth a read!

Diaspora

by Greg Egan

This emphasizes the science in science fiction. Very descriptive in it’s imagined use of science, and I imagine fairly accurate where it can be… but a lot of the book went over my head and was hard to maintain a deep interest in. It was compelling enough to finish reading, and left a wierd dichotomy of satisfaction and disatisfaction at the conclusion.

Elantris

by Brandon Sanderson

A long and satisfying fantasy tale with a splash of a lot of different things: empires clashing, succession, theology, magic, redemption, finding one’s own path, love, hate, betrayal, duty, secrets. It does have frustrating chapter boundaries, but they really only serve to carry you along and keep you reading. In reflection, the character I least liked reading ended up being, in some ways, the most interesting character presented, with a nice satisfying ending to the story arc that was, for my part, unexpected!

Gentleman Bastard

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

A clever, tricksy, band of “theives” saves everybody. The worldbuilding makes you want to know a lot more about the place these characters live.

Happy

by Darren Brown

An excellent exploration of what it means to be happy. Explores stoic philosophy, but with the context of thousands of years of thought and consideration to frame what it means to be happy, and what it takes to be happy. Definitely worth more than one read.

Siddhartha

by Hermann Hesse, translated by Hilda Rosner

A tale that describes a person’s path to finding truth and enlightenment from within and without. A read that requires patience and begets comparison with ones own self.