I’ve been intending on making a full writeup of recently read books, but have not gotten around to it as I tend to start a new book right after I finish the last (one of the many great things about being a Kindle user, more fangirling to come) and think “well… I’ll just wait until I finish this next book to post”. However, now it’s drug out to too many books to succinctly review so I have to dump and move on. I’m even a few pages into my next read: The Windup Girl.
Feel free to ask about any individual book I’m limiting myself to just a blurb about each. I’m also always on the prowl for book recommendations so karma points for any of those which appear in the comments. Without further ado, over the last few months:
- Matterhorn: intense gritty account of the Vietnam war and of the mundane and transcendental mix of war in general. Certainly a must read of this genre for the gestalt and in light of the US’ current quagmires.
- Getting Things Done: most already old news to me but good to see the “original” GTD formulation. Changed my workflow a bit to be more in line: more paper oriented, inbox of stuff, do things which take less than 30 seconds immediately, all todos have associated actions.
- Against a Dark Background: pulpy for Banks, I thought, a little too much running from one crisis to the next. Felt like an action movie.
- The Elegant Universe: decent intro to special relativity and quantum field theory for the masses but the string theory parts, supposedly the point of the book, were weak. I didn’t get a sense of why certain assumptions were made from the book and the whole chapter speculating about what occurred pre-big bang struck me as disingenuous.
- Spin: from its initial almost childlike conceit (one day all the stars go out) it manage to morph within pages into one of the most novel science fiction novels I’ve read and makes for a good read in the meantime.
- Axis: sequel to Spin, weaker but interesting to follow known characters along their lifelines.
- The Diamond Age: steampunk at its best! Bizarre at times and a little wordy but overall tons of fun with a great female lead character.
- The City & The City: anti-fantasy detective noir set in the present day, with several zooms in and out of the surreal and real. The Cities are the real story though, and the detecting the backdrop. The neat framing of the case seems overlooked at points, but definitely worth a read.
I am also forgetting at least a book as I remember buying, reading, and passing on a book not available in a Kindle edition while traveling. Speaking of which, to return to the foreshadowed Kindle fangirling, in this space of time I also purchased my second Kindle, a Kindle 3 to complement my Kindle DX. Coupled with the Kindle app on my iPhone I’m never without reading material. With the trio of Kindles I’ve been able to revamp my reading habits, instead of binge reading or relaxing decompressing reading, I now mainly read in the cross hatch of my daily life: in transit, in elevators, in waiting where other activities wouldn’t make as much sense or be nearly as much fun. It’s kind of cool to see books sprouting in cracks of time post-hoc.