Books and and things

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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

America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization

by Graham Hancock

A look at evidence for a civilization existing more than 12 or 13 thousand years in the past, utterly destroyed by a global cataclysm. I’d recommend it for a read – it makes it easy to understand what we think we know, and provides a compelling picture of a possible past we know very little about.

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.

Can’t Hurt Me

by David Goggins

Might be the best book I have read this year, this is more than an inspirational self help book. This is a biography of a man capable of taking ownership of his life and failures, and using them as fuel to understand himself more deeply. The extra bits in the audio book version just added to my respect for how this man leads his life.

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.

God’s Debris

by Scott Adams

This was a short, but interesting read. Not really a book on religion, more of a thought experiment, as the book says. The experiment is about world view and perception of reality, and the argument that there isn’t just one.

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.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

by Ramit Sethi

With a title like that, frankly, I was super skeptical… but I listened to a interview he did, and decided to give it a read (my personal financial situation could alwas use betterment). Turns out, book has a lot of hype and fluff in it… but also contains a good amount of meaningful and practical advice. I’d recommend this to anyone that wants to understand a simple, practical, long-term approach to personal money management.

The Murderbot Diaries

All Systems Red

by Martha Wells

More of a novella, this story dives into what it is to be a somewhat antisocial AI that everyone would otherwise expect to want to murder everyone if it would be allowed to roam free. Picked it up at a bargain price… and I think it was a fair price – the regular price of more than $10 would be to much to pay for this book, but for $3 it is well worth the time.

Artificial Condition

by Martha Wells

This is a direct continuation from All Systems Red, and of similar length. Fun read, but would not pay full price for it. Felt like part 2 of the first book, with a feeling there should be at least a few more parts.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

The subtitle is quite accurate – a brief history of humankind [as we understand it]. It presents a walk through of the growth of humankind up to the present, and left me with a slightly hopeful disposition towards what I see the world doing and some interesting questions to ponder about the decisions humanity will make going forward.

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.

Sky Heart

by Jake Parker

Awesome design, line work, and color! Book one in a graphic novel series, this book really seems like only the tip of the iceberg, and I desperately want more! Seems like it’ll be a fun coming of age type of story set on the backdrop of an intricately unique world.