“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” – P.J. O’Rourke
Last year, I’d hoped I’d be able to double my reading list of 2016. Looks like I’ve managed to do that this year by purposefully setting aside time every day for reasing. I’m hoping to continue the trend but doubt I’ll see as much of an increase quantity-wise. One thing I did notice was a distinct increase in the number of fiction books. Here’s to choosing quality over quantity in the coming year.
Caliban’s War – Book 2 of The Expanse. Neatly folds in the ground broken during the first book while keeping the overall arc of humanity on a plausible arc.
The Alchemist – My sister gifted me a personalized copy of this book, citing it as one of her favorites. I’m going to agree that I believe the hype. The book focuses on helping each of us discover our own ‘Personal Legend’ Basically a reminder to be what you must be.
The Phoenix Project – While technically a novel, it’s meant to be a case study in breaking down established paradigms in systems and making meaningful improvements. Adds some people focused drama but still demonstrates real world examples of constraints.
Don’t Be A Jerk – An in-depth annotation of a book I’ve never read. While there was some humor, most of the meaning was opaque to me. If I ever read Shobogenzo, perhaps I’ll come back to this one.
Abbadon’s Gate – Book 3 of The Expanse. Continues to builds on the previous story while raising the scope and the stakes.
The Daily Stoic – The Stoic version of a daily affirmations book. I wouldn’t recommend going into this one expecting to read it cover to cover. It’s better to read each daily entry and let the ideas breathe throughout the day. I’ll be repeating the process this year.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – I really wanted to like this book after seeing the movie. The language and pacing is dense and subtle with some teases and payoffs to keep the reader engaged. However, it’s not my definition of a page turner and I doubt I’ll be finishing the series
Rome, Inc – A humorous tongue-in-cheek recount of the rise and fall of Rome in the context of modern corporate culture
Lucifer – Book 1 – As I’ve stated before, I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman. This is a spin-off of his masterpiece Sandman series that follows The Devil Himself post-retirement from his duties in Hell. Good read so far and I will be continuing the series.
Cibola Burn – Book 4 of The Expanse. Presents common human issues against hard proof of alien civilizations within the familiar setting of a frontier land rush.
The Handmaid’s Tale – A harrowing vision of what a Christian Theocracy might look like. Almost as if you took today’s puritanical tendencies, turned them up to 11, and gave them the force of law.
The Complete Software Developers Guide – Intended to be a reference guide for developers as opposed to be read cover to cover (although you certainly can). A great resource with great ideas for people looking to take the next step in their careers or even start down a new path
Rome’s Last Citizen – A biography of Cato the Younger, Stoic paragon and bitter enemy of Julius Caesar. Cato’s myth is cited as a catalyst for Rome’s adoption of Christianity as well as inspiration for the concepts of individual liberty and natural rights.
Snow Crash – A classic of the cyberpunk genre, being a delightful product of the optimism and futurism brought on by the inception of the World Wide Web. At once familiar reflection and alien satire of our ever accelerating culture.
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World – Most Western education about the Mongol Empire depicts them as savage barbarians who pillaged and enslaved millions. While these depictions are largely true, they leave out the disruptive and transformative impact of the Mongol expansion and their legacy.
Nemesis Games – Book 5 of The Expanse. This is a return to form for this series as a page turner. Also, rather than investing in new characters, the author takes time to flesh out existing ones. Can’t wait to read more!
Blood of Elves – The first of The Witcher novels. I really wanted to like this one and it was great to see familiar characters and a bit of the lore that spawned the game series. However, the book violates the ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ principle for about 80-90% of it with lots of shouty dialog where you’re not quite sure who’s speaking or what they’re talking about and little to no action.
I’d love to hear any feedback on this list and invite you to share your own reviews or recommendations. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to firstname.lastname@example.org.