Some things I read in 2017, with some brief opinions/recommendations.
All categorisations are approximate at best and will probably cause some kind of contention.
- The Wheel of Time, books 0-14 – TL;DR Epic, awesome, but long; I wouldn’t jump in lightly!
- Charles Stross – The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files #8) – go read all the Stross!
- Nathan Lowell’s Tanyth Fairport series – a really enjoyable fantasy series where there are no epic heroes and convenient portals, but real people doing real things
- Newt Scamander – Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – I thought this was the screenplay, it’s actually “the textbook” – so little more than “a list of fantastic beasts” – a Monster Manual for the Potterverse
- Robert Jackson Bennett – City of Stairs – some really nice world-building
- Seth McDuffee – Good Boy – I came across this via a post on Reddit’s /r/WritingPrompts – neat idea – ghost controlling their former body which is now a zombie – and great story built upon it
- Dennis Taylor’s Bobiverse series – I tend to avoid starting unfinished series because I hate having to wait for the next edition, but this is less “here’s an epic storyline with cliffhangers and unresolved mysteries” and more “here’s a bunch of fun explorations and sub-stories” which I can enjoy with much more patience about when I can get hold of the next espisode.
- Larry Niven – Ringworld – I found it a perfectly pleasant read, but it didn’t feel the “incredible classic” I thought it was going to be; I suspect it was in 1970
- Neal Stephenson – The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer – a “post-cyberpunk” “coming-of-age story” that I really enjoyed.
- Yahtzee Croshaw – Will Save The Galaxy For Food – great space fun
- Neal Stephenson – Seveneves – excellent SF from Stephenson, a bit more “people dying of space-radiation” than I wanted (I was reading it on the way to radiotherapy at the time) but really good
- Peter F. Hamilton – A Second Chance At Eden – again has some people dying of space-radiation, but a great collection of short stories in the Night’s Dawn world
- Adrian Tchaikovsky – Children of Time – recommended by one of my radiographers, full of excellent ideas and explorations
- Cory Doctorow – Eastern Standard Tribe – I liked the idea but struggled to particularly enjoy the book itself
- Charles Stross – Empire Games – the first of the series following Stross’s Merchant Princes – as with its predecessors, excellently (and terrifyingly) well put-together
- Robert M. Pirsig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg – The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – I liked the idea but the dialog felt a bit odd; I think perhaps the translation was too literal.
- Erin Meyer – The Culture Map – this felt incredibly insightful, and especially useful given I work with a team spread across over a dozen countries
- Gene Kim – The DevOps Handbook – an excellent excellent read about “real” DevOps – creating a learning culture, structuring teams, facilitating feedback, and much more
- Adele Faber – How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk – useful for general communication with adults too (but probably even more useful if you do have children)
- Nick Disabato – Draft Evidence – “a compendium of essays, letters, blog posts, interviews and photos” to “teach you a lot of broad strategies for […] a business that can serve the life you want” – I Kickstarter-ed this some time ago on someone’s recommendation, didn’t really expect to enjoy it when it finally turned up, but actually found it a nice and fulfilling read
- Gerald Weinberg – The Secrets of Consulting – not just for consultants but good for anyone trying to advise people or change minds
- Donald Gause – Are Your Lights On – recommended by Lucy over at Tech to Human this is a great aid to solving problems of all kinds
- Andrew Craig – How To Own The World– I got this free via some kind of Amazon Prime library thing – I didn’t feel like I got much from it that I haven’t picked up elsewhere, but it’s still a good collection of information
- Steven Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From – recommended by a colleague, an interesting exploration of, well, exactly what the title says
- Jock Busuttil – The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management – I first encountered Jock when I inherited maintenance of his Perl scripts as an undergraduate; his guide is insightful, clear, and helpful
- Manuel Arriaga – Rebooting Democracy – short, but packed with interesting examples and analyses
- Richard Apodaca – Owning Bitcoin: The Illustrated Guide to Security, Privacy, and Potential – another free book via the Amazon Prime library thing – I’d mined some Bitcoin years ago when they were worthless, and this was a great guide, going from “what is hashing” to “here’s how transactions work” to “here are functions in the bitcoin scripting language”
- Clarissa Dickson Wright – Spilling The Beans – I don’t tend to read many autobiographies but this was fascinating and fun
- Hape Kerkeling – I’m Off Then – a German comedian’s account of his pilgrimage – not my usual sort of thing, but a colleague recommended it so I bought my dad a copy and figured I should read it myself, and enjoyed it much more than I expected
- Kate Summerscale – The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher – it combines a historical account of the main character, the role of the detective and the rise of the detective novel, with a “real-world murder mystery” – I wish it had tried to just do one thing; interesting, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it