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2021 October

  • Finally managed to finish The Three-Body Problem this week, despite the recent challenges. It's a very... interesting novel at the very least. CHaracterization isn't super strong, it's one of those novels where the focus is on the world building and how it affects society and humanity at large. It's nice to have a decent sci-fi story that isn't so American centric though. The story revolves around two main characters: Ye Wenjie, a Cultural Revolution-era astrophysicist who was able to secretly establish contact with an extreterrestrial civilization called Trisolaris, and Wang Miao, a modern day applied physicist, working in nanotech, who

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    Oct. 9, 2021, 6:49 a.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 422 words

2021 September

  • This is the second Le Guin piece I've read, following the short story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. This one is a full-length novel, though not particularly long. It took me about a week and a half to get through, reading a chapter or two a day. The book covers the attempts of Genly Ai, an envoy from the Ekumen, an alliance of spacefaring human worlds, who has come to the brutally cold planet of Winter to invite the residents to join the Ekumen. The residents of Winter, though human, are unique among all other known human species,

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    Sept. 9, 2021, 12:09 p.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 925 words

2021 August

  • Review: A Stack of Comics

2021 July

2021 June

  • Book Review: Linchpin by Seth Godin

    Linchpin: Are You Indispensible? is a 2010 book by Seth Godin. The book's primary thesis is that in the modern world, you have to avoid being a conforming, replaceable assembly line worker, and instead be a linchpin, someone who is indispensible, someone who goes the extra mile, who invests emotional labor into his work and his art. The book covers topics such as the problems with the "old way" of working, what it means to be a linchpin, the resistance from your lizard brain, gift culture, connection, the importance of shipping, etc. He summarizes the book as: All I wanted

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    June 29, 2021, 9:56 p.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 676 words
  • After reading a couple of Hercule Poirot mysteries, I decided to try an Agatha Christie book from outside that series. I found that And Then There Were None was one of those commonly appearing on lists of her best works, and the concept intrigued me: Ten people are invited to an island and get trapped there and then murders start to happen. Kind of hard to talk about it without spoiling too much (and what I've said might already have been spoilers!). It's one of those things where the whole setup seems super contrived and way too clever for it

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    June 4, 2021, 1:41 a.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 262 words

2021 May

  • I've not read any Agatha Chrstie, so I thought I'd rectify that by getting into the Hercule Poirot series of books. To start off I chose Murder on the Orient Express because I watched the 2017 movie a couple of years ago and Death on the Nile because it has a movie coming out next year. I figure it would be a good contrast of movie-first vs book first. Took me a bit under a week of leisurely reading to finish Murder on the Orient Express. I wasn't in a rush since I already knew how the mystery turns out.

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    May 26, 2021, 3:39 p.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 🔁 1 / 428 words
  • What Matters Now by Seth Godin

    I finished reading What Matters Now by Seth Godin, a book that is basically a collection of short blog posts by "big thinkers", released for free back in 2009. Interestingly, a lot of the ideas presented in the book still feel relevant today. I didn't think it needed a full review post.

    The funniest part for me is that one of the entries is by Jason Fried about how to apologize, advice he certainly could have used during the recent Bandcamp brouhaha

    You can get a copy here

  • I finished reading Snow Crash in around three weeks, slightly faster than the other comparable work I've read this year, which was Neuromancer. Comparable of course only in the sense that they both have some kind of worldwide internet-like network as a central plot point. Otherwise, they are not really that similiar, though the review is made easier by having a base for comparison. Snow Crash is much less cyberpunk than Neuromancer, and maybe takes itself a little less seriously too? I mean, the main character's name is "Hiro Protagonist", so that ought to tell you something immediately. Snow Crash

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2021 April

  • Without Their Permission is a 2013 book by Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. The central thesis of the book is that modern-day internet breaks down barriers and allows anyone to accomplish great things without having to go through traditional gatekeepers like publishers and such. I actually read the first part of the book a few years ago, and just resumed reading the book now because I saw in iBooks that it remembered where I had stopped. The first part covered mostly the author's involvement in two successful startups - Reddit and Hipmunk. The middle part of the book is dedicated to

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  • So after reading Neuromancer last month, I was looking for a bit of lighter fare, so I decided to work on some Discworld books and started with the first book of the City Watch subseries, Guards! Guards!. I was already quite a bit in when I was like "why does all of this seem so familiar? Are Discworld books really so same-y that it feels like I've read this before?" The good news is that it wasn't true, Discworld books aren't super-samey; I have read it before, way back in 2016 in fact. And I also found out that I

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    April 5, 2021, 4:28 p.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 563 words

2021 March

  • It took me more than three weeks to get through Gibson's influential work Neuromancer, a book that pioneered the cyberpunk genre and even introduced terms like cyberspace, ICE and "the matrix" into popular lexicon. It's not because the book is bad or anything, it's just that Gibson tends to describe everything very vividly, and almost all of it from the POV of our lead character Case, who is sometimes in the real world, sometimes in cyberspace, and sometimes simply just drunk or high. I found myself taking time with each scene to visualize where Case was and what was going

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2021 February

  • I read Ghost of My Father by Scott Berkun this past week. This book isn't my usual fare. It's a memoir about the author's father and their relationship and family life. I'm familiar with the author's work, but mostly in the realms of tech, design and public speaking, but this book was largely personal, and mostly talking about strangers I had no real interest in. I think the only reason I have a copy at all is because I was on the author's mailing list and got a review copy of some sort. I started reading it because I was

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    Feb. 23, 2021, 8:30 a.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 300 words
  • Walkaway is a novel by blogger Cory Doctorow. It tells the story of a near-future world and a trend of people going "walkaway". This term means walking away from what they call "default society", characterized by late stage capitalism, massive inequality, ever-present surveillance, and a world controlled by what they call the zottarich, or simply zottas. Not too far from our own present reality of course. Later, the novel also delves into the near-future (?) concept of humans being to upload their consciousness into machines, effectively allowing them to cheat death by running as a "brain in a jar" on

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  • Book Review: The Year Without Pants

    "The Year Without Pants" is a book by writer Scott Berkun about his time as a team lead at Wordpress.com back in 2010-2012. This book came out in 2013, and the conceit of the book back then was that Wordpress.com, run by Automattic, was a fully remote company, something that was still a rarity at that time. It's weird reading this book in the context of the current pandemic, where remote work is now the norm among tech companies. So one of the things I like about the book is it's kind of a time capsule back to an era

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2021 January

  • Jan. 20, 2021, 7:17 p.m. / / blog / #books / Syndicated: mastodon twitter / 362 words

2020 December

  • Rhythm of War is book four in Sanderson's epic fantasy Stormlight Archive series. Goodreads tells me I read the prior book Oathbringer back in Nov 2017, but didn't bother writing a review, so I had to make sure I'd write one now. The book's launch day kind of caught me a bit unexpectedly so I didn't bother doing a re-read of the previous three books. Which given an epic fantasy series of this scope might have been a mistake, but watch me do it again for book five. No review meant while reading every so often I'd stop and be

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2020 January

  • Jan. 29, 2020, 9:02 a.m. / / blog / #books #review / Syndicated: twitter / 👍 1 / 326 words