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2021 April

  • 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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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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  • 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 back in 2010-2012. This book came out in 2013, and the conceit of the book back then was that, 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

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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

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2019 November

  • Aha! I finally managed to finish a book again! I've heard of Cal Newport since years ago tangentially due to his Study Hacks blog, which was pretty good at the time. I haven't followed his career too closely, but he's an academic at Georgetown apparently. I wasn't looking for any career advice in particular, but I did have a recommendation for this book from somewhere so I thought I'd give it a go. The book is So Good They Can't Ignore You, and focuses on what it takes to have a "successful career". My favorite thing about this book is

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2019 September

  • My Personal Reading List

    I recently imported my old reviews from Goodreads into this blog as posts. These days I generally prefer just writing my book reviews here anyway, so I will likely stop using Goodreads as a service completely. To facilitate tracking of my read/unread books (and perhaps to inspire me to read more, as I really should), I've published an old file which I've been using as a sort of "to-read" list since 2010. I don't restrict myself to reading items from this list, but it serves as a helpful reference should I feel like picking up a new book. I don't

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2019 August

  • I forget where I got this book recommendation from, but it did go on sale for Kindle a while back so I got a copy. The full title is "Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World". Summary: I really like this book, though I think it falls short in providing concrete steps for how to get from where we are to the idealized utopia he presents. Still, in this world of ever-increasing bad news and crises, the optimism of this book is a welcome respite. The book covers a number of "utopian" scenarios worth striving for, namely:

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2019 May

  • Game of Thrones

    After a much-maligned eighth and final season, HBO's Game of Thrones is done. Unmarked spoilers follow. The eighth season was so notoriously bad, we got petitions asking for rewrites. Here's how I explained it to a friend after the notorious episode 5: It's not about characters being killed, it's about bad writing because they're cramming. The writers were determined to finish the show in 2 smaller seasons so they're skipping a lot of necessary character development and characters just do stupid things because the plot demands it. The most recent episode (spoilers follow, no apologies) has Dany do something really

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  • Wheel of Time: Eye of the World

    Continuing with the Wheel of Time re-read! I devoured Eye of the World much more quickly than I expected, finishing the book in less than 3 days. It helps that I had already read it before of course, but I think there's also a part of me that enjoys escaping into this fantasy world when the real world outlook seems dire. Anyway, the book shows a lot of Tolkien-esque plot influence, especially near the start: Some kids from a backwater village are visited by a magic user and after some troubles are forced on the run from black riders? Sounds

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  • Wheel of Time: New Spring

    Since I was going to be taking a long trip in a month, I was looking for some books to read on the plane and in airports and whatnot while waiting. I settled on a re-read of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, a pretty good time for it since by next year we may have a TV series from Amazon (hopefully better than Game of Thrones). Side note: Wheel of Time is also why I'm not optimistic that GRRM can finish ASoIaF in just two more books - Jordan took forever and died before he could finish WoT and

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2019 January

  • Hardy Boys

    Between the ages of 10-12, my reading diet consisted almost exclusively of the teenage-targetted detective series The Hardy Boys. For me, the term invokes the names Frank and Joe before the Matt and Jeff of WWE fame. We had a fairly wide collection of the blue-hardcovered books of those days. And I believe I made the effort to read every single book in that particular series, through borrowing and such. I think I was successful, but I can't be sure. In any case , that meant this article piqued my interest: The Knotty Nostalgia of the Hardy Boys Series Why

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  • The Quezon City Public Library

    I pass by the Quezon City Hall every so often, and I've always been curious about the QC public library they have there. It got a bit of press a while back about how it was a nice place to hang out (for a government institution at least), so I had a todo list item about checking it out. Well, last week I did! I passed by on a weekday afternoon about 4pm after running some errands. The library was open until 7pm, so the timing was fine. I went up to the building and the guard asked me what

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  • Konmari

    I don't know much about this Konmari thing. I think it's been around for a while, but got a boost recently due to a Netflix special. I think I agree with it in principle, or at least what I know of it from secondary social media commentary. Minimalism is a worthwhile goal, and so is getting rid of things that do nothing for you other than take up space. Some people aren't reacting well to the idea of throwing away books though: Edit 22 Jan: The account has gone private, so the previous embedded tweet is no longer accessible. I'm

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  • New year's resolutions are hard to maintain, so much so that people will make jokes about opening a gym that only runs during January, since most gym NYRs run out of steam by then. One of the best pieces of advice I've found regarding acquiring new behaviors comes from the first motivational books I ever read - The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, which for some reason we had a copy of in our house when I was young. The book tells us that: humans are slaves to habit bad habits can only be replaced by good

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2018 December

  • Book Stores

    The other day I was passing through the QC memorial circle (as is my wont) and I decided to walk around the tiangge/flea market that's often there. It seemd larger than usual that day, so I figured I should finally take a look. And in the process I remembered what I dislike about local flea markets: 90% of the stalls are selling some form of clothes (which I have no interest in browsing - maybe if these stalls sold something my size for once!) and maybe 9.9% are selling cheap knockoff toys (which might interest me if they were free

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2018 November

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