The plan: Finish or abandon some of those books that I have opened but seem unable to close. I want to weave some themes into this year's reading: Python; Java; debugging; writing; parsing; problem solving; insightful analysis of economics and business; distributed systems; heterophily and generating the ability to 'think different'; new abstractions; music; photography; breaking out of the anglo-sphere and reaching out to interesting authors who don't happen to speak English. As if all that weren't enough I'm also going to try to write more reviews this year.
The reality: I managed to read more books than last year but only just. I pretty much ignored the plan for the entire year.
- Freedom by DanielSuarez?. Fun sequel to the Daemon but not as imaginative as the first book.
- BringingNothingToTheParty? by PaulCarr?. Wonderful evocation of London's dotcom bubble years. Seeing people you know get mentioned in a novel about the author's excessively hedonistic youth is a little disturbing.
- ReWork by JasonFried? and DavidHeinemeierHansson
- DeveloperEvangelism? by ChristianHeilmann?. Detailed outline of the lessons the author learned in his time working as a Developer Evangelist at Yahoo.
- MusicTwoPointZero by Gerd Leonhard. The author's a futurist so much of it sounds breathless and occasionally naive. The book's old enough now that many of his timescales have been disproved but the trends still support his theories.
- CognitiveSurplus? by ClayShirky?
- The Necessary Art of Persuasion by Jay C. Conger. Good book let down by terrible examples (Microsoft Bob and the American car industry in Detroit) which have not aged well.
- Designing Social Interfaces by ChristianCrumlish? and ErinMalone?. Very very good.
- 10RulesForRadicals by CarlMalamud?. Simple advice for dealing with bureaucracies.
- TheMasterOfGo by YasunariKawabata?. Delicately told story that's only obliquely about Go and mostly about the kind of people who excel at the game.
- Design Is How It Works by JayGreene?. Brilliant book which starts with really strong insights such as "design is not how it looks. Design is how it works." However it doesn't fully live up to its promise to show the reader how design is a manifestation of corporate culture. I would still recommend it.
- Towers Of Midnight by RobertJordan and BrandonSanderson?. Amazing (in a good way). Sanderson's strengths seem to have fixed the handful of deficiencies in Jordan's plotting and descriptive style. If you've already invested the 2 decades of reading this series demands you should read this. If not, you should start reading it. By the time you get this far the final book should have been published.
- Grids by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris. Excellent. Teaches you everything you could ever want to know about grids in various media. I would have liked them to spend more time on web design.
- The Voysey Inheritance by Harley Granville Barker. Superb play. Does an excellent job of showing how vice and virtue are often little more than differences in perspective.
- Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry by B.S. Johnson. Much more casually nihilistic than FightClub. Breaks the 4th wall in all sorts of enjoyable ways
- The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute?. Theatrical and clever but not particularly entertaining.