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A running list of books I've finished

Night heron πŸ”—

by Adam Brookes

Finished on 04/17/2023

Loved this! I don't read spy novels very often but Robin Sloan recommended it and I loved the story and the fast paced action. Fun change of pace - and there's some great writing in there. Recommended.

Mountain in the Sea πŸ”—

by Ray Nayler

Finished on 04/05/2023

Fun to read this against the backdrop of GPT3/GPT4! I enjoyed the book but found it kind of fizzled out at the end. I was hoping it was going to work towards some kind of crescendo but found the ending just kind of weak. But I still enjoyed the read.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow πŸ”—

by Gabrielle Zevin

Finished on 03/21/2023

What a fun read! Poignant, fun and really engrossing. It reminded me of hints of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon at times though I don't think it had quite the same depth. Recommended though!

Captains of the sands πŸ”—

by Jorge Amado

Finished on 12/27/2022

Love the style and sense of wonder that Jorge writes with. Perhaps I should read the other Bahia books in the series...

Suitcase Clone πŸ”—

by Robin Sloan

Finished on 09/28/2022

A lovely novella from Robin Sloan that builds on the Robin Sloan Cinematic Universe...! Fast pasted and full of intrigue. Definitely left me wanting more!

Popisho πŸ”—

by Leone Ross

Finished on 09/21/2022

What a magical lush book. Ugly, raw, squelchy. The opposite of the Ruth Ozeki book I just read... Popisho is full of exquisite descriptions, magical realism, surreal nonsense and raw, bloody, colorful magic. Full of gods and humans at their best and worst I absolutely loved this book. If you're looking for something that is a riot of color, emotion and humanity then this is it.

The Book of Form and Emptiness πŸ”—

by Ruth Ozeki

Finished on 08/28/2022

While at times Ruth Ozeki's writing is lyrical and magical, mostly this book felt kind of sterile. Neither of the main characters feel deeply explored and the most interesting characters (the aleph and the bottleman) are really only side events. Overall the book tasted like it had been aged in steel barrels and I was left wanting something more full bodied, more lyrical, more vivid.

Assassin's Fate πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 06/11/2022

Oof. That concludes reading all 16 of the realm of the elderlings books. I haven't kept detailed notes on them but I'm so glad that I read them all and read them in order. In many ways Nighteyes is the main character. These last three books tie together so many threads and loose ends - the storyline is dark but the ending is magical. Robin Hobb has such a powerful command of both small characters and giant worlds.

Fool's quest πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 05/02/2022

Fool's Assassin πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 04/11/2022

Blood of Dragons πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 03/11/2022

City of dragons πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 02/24/2022

Dragon Haven πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 02/08/2022

Dragon Keeper πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 01/17/2021

Fool's fate πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 12/22/2021

Are there stronger characters than the Fitz and the Fool? What depth of emotion. This series is a magical climax and feels like it rivals the original assassin trilogy! Loved reading this series.

The Golden Fool πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 12/01/2021

WHAT! So many mysteries unraveling, starting, crossing. Such emotionally charged scenes. Not giving anything away but this book is a big one.

Fool's Errand πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 11/09/2021

LOVE returning to Fitz and the Fool. I'm so deep in the Robin Hobb world now....

Ship of Destiny πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 10/07/2021

Wow! Another trilogy down. I love the callbacks and hints for the original series. Onwards!

The Mad Ship πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 08/09/2021

Now things are getting interesting! Love the origin story for the live ships - what an incredible dark backdrop to the whole saga.

Ship of Magic πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 06/26/2021

Onwards into the Robin Hobb cinematic universe! This series starts somewhat slowly but I love the all new (or is it!) version of live ships and their unique "magic".

Assassin's Quest πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 04/19/2021

I love this trilogy so much. This is my third or fourth full re-read since I was a teenager and it remains magical each time. Such world building, characters and adventure. Onwards to the remaining.... *checks notes*.... 14 books!

Royal Assassin πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 03/24/2021

That last line!! Such depth of characters. I really love this series. World building, unique ideas around magic, politics, love, wolves, assassins! Love it. Just as good as I remember.

Assassin's Apprentice πŸ”—

by Robin Hobb

Finished on 03/08/2021

Diving back into an epic read of the 17 Robin Hobb books. The farseer trilogy is my all time fave and I've read these books several times before but I'm starting here to read them all in order.

The mushroom at the end of the world πŸ”—

by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Finished on In progress...

A really magical exploration of global capitalism and... mushrooms?!

A Memory Called Empire πŸ”—

by Arkady Martine

Finished on 02/10/2021

What richness! The first time I've read sci-fi that felt a bit like Iain M Banks. Deep, complex, rich worlds with strong characters. An absolute treat - spanning langauge, poetry, politics, identity, memory and more. I cannot wait for the followup. After reading so much poorly written sci fi recently (Dune, The Ministry of the Future, Exhalation..) this was a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Laughter in the Dark πŸ”—

by Vladamir Nabakov

Finished on 01/17/2021

An airbnb read. Just lovely poetic writing - a breath of fresh air after a bunch of badly-written scifi.

The Ministry for the Future πŸ”—

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Finished on 01/10/2021

Abandoned during the free preview. Everyone is raving about this book but honestly the writing felt incredibly flat. I'm tired of sci-fi stories having bad writing :(

Exhalation πŸ”—

by Ted Chiang

Finished on 01/04/2021

Abandoned 2/3 of the way through :( - while I quite enjoyed some of the provocations in the stories ultimately the writing didn't captivate me. Left me feeling bored so I gave it up.

Multidimensional Executive Coaching πŸ”—

by Ruth L. Orenstein

Finished on 01/06/2021

Some great thought provoking ideas about coaching, consulting and being embedded inside organizations as an outsider. I especially love the concept in the book of overbounded or underbounded organizations.

The Player of Games πŸ”—

by Iain M. Banks

Finished on 12/01/2020

I have fond memories of the first time reading this and felt like it left a big impression on me. Re-reading this book I still loved it but the shine has come off a little - I think other culture books are perhaps better. Still, the world building (universe building!) that Iain M Banks does is like no other.

Dune πŸ”—

by Frank Herbert

Finished on 11/31/2020

Started reading this while traveling through Utah and Arizona to get a feel for desert living. I enjoyed the book but definitely didn't feel like it lived up to the hype. Inventive but the characters felt a little stale.

Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software πŸ”—

by Nadia Eghbal

Finished on 10/15/2020

A great read about internet creators, economics of production, communities, influencers, open source and more. Nadia provides a ton of real data and examples but pairs them with big ideas and concepts. Essential read.

The Uncertainty Mindset πŸ”—

by Vaughn Tan

Finished on 08/31/2020

A wonderful rich book exploring the world of high end culinary R&D to find lessons applicable for other types of organizations. A really fun read - great stories about high end cooking as well as sharp insights about food.

Tomorrow Lies in Ambush πŸ”—

by Bob Shaw

Finished on 08/22/20

Classic sci-fi short stories recommended by Matt Webb. Some really lovely ideas and great writing! All the stories are very character-driven and often reflect more strongly on the individual characters motives and identities over the larger sci-fi conceits! Lovely. Thanks Matt!

East of Eden πŸ”—

by John Steinbeck

Finished on 07/29/20

What a magnificent - truly epic work. I'm a big Steinbeck fan already and I think I even read this one previously but loved immersing myself in this wonderful story. The biblical theme is almost too strong at times but is richly counterbalanced by Steinbeck's incredibly loving character portraits. Amazing.

Veil πŸ”—

by Eliot Peper

Finished on 06/08/20

A really great fast-paced read. Eliot has a great knack for constructing plausible near-futures and then situating fully realized human stories within those futures. Thought provoking and enjoyable.

The Memory Police πŸ”—

by Yoko Ogawa

Finished on 05/17/20

While the writing style at times is captivating - like a penny falling into a deep well - often the writing was unremarkable and the plot unfolded fairly slowly. All in the book was, ironically, forgettable. That said - the ending, where bodies start to fade away really resonated during this period of lockdown and isolation - it captures the essence of my embodied self fading away into an infinite series of zoom screens.

Working Identity- Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career πŸ”—

by Herminia Ibarra

Finished on 05/15/20

A wonderful meditation on career change (and life change generally) as being a process of iterating and trying on new identities. Has deep implications for independents also. Going to blog this book up. Originally found via Vaughn Tan's newsletter.

An Introduction to Haiku πŸ”—

by Harold Gould Henderson

Finished on 03/12/20

Brian suggested I get into Haiku and pick up this book and I'm glad I did! Beautiful, easy to read intro to Haiku. The author gives great context for what Haiku is, the main poets and how to read Haiku poetry. Recommended!

Tears of the Trufflepig πŸ”—

by Fernando A. Flores

Finished on 01/09/20

A wonderful book. Like an absurdist Cormac McCarthy x Kurt Vonnegut mashup. Lyrical descriptions, wonderful characters and a wild imagination. Highly recommended.

A Winter’s Promise πŸ”—

by Christelle Dabos

Finished on 12/30/19

There are moments when the lavish fantasy world and the magic contained in it sucked me in - but ultimately the character development and plot just didn't hang together to keep me reading. Good escapist reading but there are better fantasy worlds to lose yourself in than this one.

Less πŸ”—

by Andrew Sean Greer

Finished on 12/20/19

A truly delightful novel - with hints of PG Wodehouse. This book really sucked me in with magical lush writing and a great wry tone. Definitely recommended.

Infinite Detail πŸ”—

by Tim Maughan

Finished on 12/1/19

A fun quick read. There's some good language and some nice world-setting but I wish some of the characters had been more fully developed and I wish the central idea had been stronger. The ending kind of fizzles out and there could have been room for so much more here.. Good for a little lightweight-dytopia though.

Dead Astronauts πŸ”—

by Jeff VanderMeer

Finished on 11/15/19

I think perhaps I made a mistake. I didn't realize until after I'd read it that it was part of the Borne series. Maybe that would have been useful because this book made zero sense. Like a William Burroughs book it was somehow interesting and riveting at times despite literally making no sense. Did I mention it makes no sense? The first section with the three astronauts was the most compelling..... Maybe I should read the other Borne books and it'll make more sense? But I doubt it.

The Nix πŸ”—

by Nathan Hill

Finished on 10/28/19

Abandoned 500 pages in. I tried to keep going but just couldn't. A Very Bad Book. Highly un-recommended. This is a good takedown. So many characters are badly written sexually frustrated males and it's just all round a bad book. Couple sentences worth savoring but.. ugh.

A Gentleman in Moscow πŸ”—

by Amor Towles

Finished on 10/03/19

Amor is a wonderful writer with so many lyrical touches, flourishes and turns of phrase. The feel of the book of politics, culture and acting in the proper way is great. Without posting spoilers there's a few themes in the book that make me feel like the book was written by a man - that some of the more emotionally rich moments are skipped over... But overall highly recommended as a fun, engaging and lyrical book.

Tempo - timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making πŸ”—

by Venkatesh Rao

Finished on 09/09/19

I really should have read this years ago but I really enjoyed this piece. The core ideas around tempo of interactions, narrative time and that the kitchen is the best way to think about time will all stick with me for a while. Recommended.

Conversation - How Talk Can Change Our Lives πŸ”—

by Theodore Zeldin

Finished on 09/04/19

A delightful little book that was a gift from my friend Brian. A little meditation on conversations, how important they are and some of the explicit and implicit ways they can go wrong. At first I thought this was going to offer solutions and ideas but mostly it just offers poetry and provocations. I think it'll stick with me for a long time though - and the art from the author scattered through the book makes a lovely little object. Thanks Brian!

Recursion πŸ”—

by Blake Crouch

Finished on 9/3/19

A fast-paced, high-action read. A fun time-travel romp with some great characters. Ultimately I thought the premise was smart and the writing handled it well but the whole novel felt a little shallow. There were some really meaty ideas about identity and family wrapped up here that kind of got sidelined for the sake of the technology-driven plot and I thought that was a shame. Fun read though.

Way Station πŸ”—

by Clifford D. Simak

Finished on 8/25/19

Lovely vintage sci-fi recommended by Chris Butler. There's aliens, teleporting and... magic? But nothing flashy happens - it's an incredibly human story. This is a really thoughtful and fresh story. Highly recommended.

Idiots First πŸ”—

by Bernard Malamud

Finished on 8/15/19

The opening line of Idiot's First is a masterpiece. 'The thin ticking of the tin clock stopped'. Loved a few of the other stories but some were definitely forgettable. I'd recommend dipping your toe in and at the very least reading the title story Idiots First.

The Scar πŸ”—

by China MiΓ©ville

Finished on 08/06/19

Ah what delicious sludgy, dark, human texture. China MiΓ©ville's descriptive language and world building is unparalleled. This is book two (after reading Perdido Street Station last year). These books are long and luxurious so perhaps not the best entry point if you're new to his writing but if you like this kind of thing there's nothing better. My only quarrel with this book was the ending... It felt somewhat unsatisfying, or rather unfinished - where a typical book resolves this felt like the open sea was still in front of you? But it's a very minor comment as mostly the strength of this book was that every page told a lifetime of texture. Definitely going to read book three of this trilogy after a break.

Last Night πŸ”—

by James Salter

Finished on 07/14/19

After reading All That Is I had to wash my palette and get back to some of his delicious writing. This was much more in line with Light Years and contained some lovely moments. None of the short stories will linger with me too long but it's a short read and I'd recommend it.

Emissaries Guide to Worlding πŸ”—

by Ian Cheng

Finished on 7/8/19

The core idea of the masks - the cartoonist, the director, the hacker and the emissary - is wonderful and a new lens to look at the world through, so overall I'd recommend the book. But there was also an incredible over-indulgence from the author to live inside his own worlds (which feels very finite game like, not infinite game like). And the lack of people anywhere in his worlds is also problematic. That said - the book as an object is beautiful and wonderfully designed.

The Prisoner πŸ”—

by Thomas M. Disch

Finished on 7/7/19

I really enjoyed this - a delightfully British story of being trapped, like a combination of Kafka and PG Wodehouse. The plot derailed itself in a few places and there was a whole Shakespere reference that kind of went over my head but the writing was wonderful. Recommended.

Oval πŸ”—

by Elvia Wilk

Finished on 6/24/19

I really loved this. Distinctive, fresh writing that captures so much of the present weirdness in society while also somehow feeling timeless. The middle third dragged slightly for me but the descent into ecological weird towards the end is just wonderful and reminds me of the Annihiliation series by Jeff Vandermeer. Oh and the whole book centers on this premise of artists becoming 'consultants' which is magnificent. Recommended. Verdict- πŸ‘πŸŒ²

All That Is πŸ”—

by James Salter

Finished on 06/09/2019

A wildly disappointing read. Not that it was so bad but that having recently read Light Years I was expecting so much more. There were moments of brilliance in the writing and some of the scenes will linger with me overall the book didn't really make me feel anything. Definitely read Light Years instead.

Borderless πŸ”—

by Eliot Peper

Finished on 5/20/2019

Book two of the Analog series. Overall I connected less with the main character in this one but connected more with the overall premise which is very thought provoking. It feels today that we are actively living through the end (or at least a phase transition) of sovereignty. Compelling and a quick read.

Bandwidth πŸ”—

by Eliot Peper

Finished on 5/13/2019

I completely devoured this book. The characters and pace keeps it flowing but the ideas will stick with me - it's grounded in a very near future and the concepts are well thought through. Excited to keep diving into Borderless next.

The Gone Away World πŸ”—

by Nick Harkaway

Finished on 5/07/2019

A majestic feat of imagination - whirlwind story of a gong-fu epic in a world gone mad. Definitely feels like it needed better editing or structuring and was about 100 pages too long but the strength of imagination and grasp of poetry really captivated me. Picked this up off the street on the way home from kung-fu training (approriate!). I'll be reading more of his work.

Light Years πŸ”—

by James Salter

Finished on 4/12/2019

This book completely destroyed me. The writing is dense and poetic like almost no one I've ever read. Did you know glass is a liquid and slowly 'flows'? This book operates on a time horizon and 'flows' through lives in a deeply transformative way. Found via Phil Gyford

Delirious New York πŸ”—

by Rem Koolaas

Finished on 3/18/2019

It's architecture writing but lyrical, magical and opinionated. A tour de force through New York's history with tons of interesting characters, ideas, explorations and more. Ideas include congestion as an organizing principle of the city, and every block being an archipelago. Wonderful and highly recommended.

Tomorrow In The Battle Think On Me πŸ”—

by Javier Marias

Finished on 2/17/2019

Abandoned. I think somewhere in this book is buried a wonderful treasure. The looping self-aware story is fundamentally interesting and new but the language that wraps around it chokes it to death. Abandoned about half way through.

Summerland πŸ”—

by Hannu Rajaniemi

Finished on 1/21/2019

A wonderful original work - full of interesting characters. Ghosts! Spys! Old London! Really enjoyed this and tore through it super fast.

Finite & Infinite Games πŸ”—

by James Carse

Finished on 1/10/2019

Great unique book, wonderful analogy to finite and infinite writing....

The Power πŸ”—

by Naomi Alderman

Finished on 12/30/2018

Provocative premise but I felt it squandered an opportunity at a deeper political and/or emotional exploration of what would happen if teenage girls gained a new incredible power. Somehow it resorted to.... fucking and fighting?

Perdido Street Station πŸ”—

by China Mieville

Finished on 12/01/2018

A staggering, creative, filthy, engrossing tour through a world with such magical and rich depths. No one can build worlds like China.

Satin Island πŸ”—

by Tom McCarthy

Finished on 03/21/2018

William Gibson meets Kafka. A corporate strategy consultant / ethnographer ponders the meaning of life and searches for the Great Report.

The Dark Dark πŸ”—

by Samantha Hunt

Finished on 02/15/2018

Tender, oozing, lyrical, dark, DARK stories of being human. Did I mention they are dark? What writing though! What imagination!