Category Archives: Uncategorized

Books 2016

# Title Author Pages Start Date End Date
1 The Traitor Baru Cormorant Seth Dickinson 399 2016/01/03 2016/01/11
2 Mysteries of the Mall and Other Essays Witold Rybczynski 317 2016/01/02 2016/01/17
3 How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built Stewart Brand 252 2016/01/21 2016/02/06
4 Secret History (Mistborn, #3.5) Brandon Sanderson 149 2016/02/07 2016/02/10
5 City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2) Robert Jackson Bennett 498 2016/02/13 2016/02/20
6 Arcadia Iain Pears 510 2016/02/23 2016/03/07
7 The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6) Brandon Sanderson 336 2016/03/08 2016/03/12
8 Calamity (Reckoners, #3) Brandon Sanderson 434 2016/03/15 2016/03/19
9 Pandora’s Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1) Peter F. Hamilton 992 2016/03/23 2016/04/03
10 Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity Douglas Rushkoff 288 2016/03/13 2016/04/10
11 Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2) Peter F. Hamilton 848 2016/04/3 2016/04/17
12 All the Birds in the Sky Charlie Jane Anders 320 2016/04/18 2016/04/24
13 The Dreaming Void Peter F. Hamilton 630 2016/04/30 2016/05/15
14 A Burglar’s Guide to the City Geoff Manaugh 304 2016/05/1 2016/05/21
15 The Temporal Void Peter F. Hamilton 746 2016/05/19 2016/05/29
16 The Evolutionary Void Peter F. Hamilton 694 2016/05/29 2016/06/04
17 The Abyss Beyond Dreams (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers, #1) Peter F. Hamilton 672 2016/06/04 2016/06/13
18 Company Town Madeline Ashby 288 2016/06/14 2016/06/17
19 The Just City (Thessaly, #1) Jo Walton 369 2016/06/18 2016/06/20
20 The Mirror Thief Martin Seay 592 2016/06/22 2016/07/09
21 Infomocracy (The Centenal Cycle, #1) Malka Ann Older 382 2016/07/9 2016/07/12
22 You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice Tom Vanderbilt 320 2016/07/12 2016/07/22
23 The Philosopher Kings (Thessaly, #2) Jo Walton 352 2016/07/24 2016/08/06
24 Galápagos Regained James K. Morrow 477 2016/08/07 2016/09/05
25 Dark Matter Blake Crouch 342 2016/09/10 2016/09/11
26 Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About The World Tim Marshall 304 2016/09/18 2016/09/23
27 A Night Without Stars Peter F. Hamilton 720 2016/09/26 2016/10/02
28 Necessity (Thessaly, #3) Jo Walton 335 2016/10/02 2016/10/05
29 Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy, #1) Jeff VanderMeer 152 2016/10/07 2016/10/12
30 Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy, #2) Jeff VanderMeer 352 2016/10/16 2016/10/29
31 Acceptance (Southern Reach, #3) Jeff VanderMeer 272 2016/10/31 2016/11/13
32 Children of Time Adrian Tchaikovsky 480 2016/11/13 2016/11/27
33 Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives Tim Harford 301 2016/11/19 2016/12/04
34 Babylon’s Ashes (Expanse, #6) James S.A. Corey 544 2016/12/08 2016/12/19
35 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance, #1) N.K. Jemisin 427 2016/12/24 2016/12/25
36 The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance, #2) N.K. Jemisin 384 2016/12/26 2016/12/30

Audiobooks

# Title Author Length Start Date End Date
1 The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Erik Larson, Scott Brick 12 2015/06/23 2016/03/05
2 Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future Martin Ford 352 2016/04/04 2016/05/06
3 Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction Annalee Newitz 305 2016/05/25 2016/08/28
4 The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-first Century Ryan Avent 288 2016/10/09 2016/12/31

Books 2014

My year in reading.

Books

# Title Author Pages Start Date End Date
1 Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets Nassim Nicholas Taleb 368 2014/01/01 2014/01/16
2 The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) Scott Lynch 752 2014/01/12 2014/01/28
3 Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2) Scott Lynch 786 2014/01/30 2014/02/09
4 Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design Charles Montgomery 368 2014/02/09 2014/02/22
5 The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) Scott Lynch 609 2014/02/15 2014/02/27
6 Influx Daniel Suarez 416 2014/02/28 2014/03/06
7 The Flight of the Silvers (Silvers, #1) Daniel Price 608 2014/03/08 2014/03/19
8 Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie 410 2014/03/29 2014/04/08
9 Nexus (Nexus, #1) Ramez Naam 460 2014/04/09 2014/04/14
10 Crux (Nexus, #2) Ramez Naam 512 2014/04/18 2014/04/24
11 Great North Road Peter F. Hamilton 1100 2014/04/27 2014/05/14
12 American Property:: A History of How, Why, and What We Own Stuart Banner 340 2014/03/08 2014/05/18
13 The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1) Charles Stross 372 2014/05/18 2014/05/21
14 The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2) Charles Stross 420 2014/05/22 2014/05/24
15 The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3) Charles Stross 312 2014/05/25 2014/05/26
16 The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4) Charles Stross 336 2014/05/26 2014/05/31
17 The Churn (Expanse, #3.5) James S.A. Corey 77 2014/06/08 2014/06/09
18 Gods of Risk (Expans,e #2.5) James S.A. Corey 68 2014/06/10 2014/06/12
19 The Quantum Thief (The Jean le Flambeur Series, #1) Hannu Rajaniemi 337 2014/06/16 2014/06/26
20 Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4) James S.A. Corey 608 2014/06/28 2014/07/11
21 Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves George M. Church, Ed Regis 304 2014/06/01 2014/07/12
22 The Algebraist Iain M. Banks 434 2014/07/13 2014/07/31
23 The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5) Charles Stross 369 2014/08/01 2014/08/06
24 Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies Alastair Bonnett 270 2014/08/09 2014/08/12
25 Hurricane Fever Tobias S. Buckell 272 2014/08/15 2014/08/19
26 The Devil’s Intern (The Devil’s, #1) Donna Hosie 288 2014/08/25 2014/08/28
27 Lock In John Scalzi 337 2014/09/14 2014/09/15
28 What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Randall Munroe 303 2014/10/13 2014/10/15
29 Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities Kevin Kelly 472 2014/10/16 2014/10/18
30 Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future Ed Finn, Kathryn Cramer, Lawrence M. Krauss, Neal Stephenson, Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Karl Schroeder, Bruce Sterling 532 2014/09/17 2014/10/25
31 Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch, #2) Ann Leckie 359 2014/10/25 2014/10/31
32 The Widow’s House: Book 4 of the Dagger and the Coin Daniel Abraham 512 2014/10/31 2014/11/02
33 City of Stairs Robert Jackson Bennett 466 2014/11/08 2014/11/10
34 Sixth of the Dusk (Cosmere) Brandon Sanderson 96 2014/11/12 2014/11/14
35 Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool, #1) Robin Hobb 688 2014/11/21 2014/11/30
36 Skin Deep (Legion, #2) Brandon Sanderson, Jon Foster 208 2014/12/02 2014/12/06
37 Undercity (Major Baahjan, #1) Catherine Asaro 332 2014/12/07 2014/12/21
38 Ajax Penumbra 1969 (Kindle Single) Robin Sloan 61 2014/12/25 2014/12/25

Audiobooks

# Title Author Length Start Date End Date
1 The House of Hades Rick Riordan 17:32:00 2014/01/02 2014/03/15
2 Divergent Veronica Roth 11:11:00 2014/04/23 2014/04/27
3 Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning Peter C. Brown 08:34:00 2014/08/11 2014/09/23
2 Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food Paul Greenberg 08:49:00 2014/09/29 2014/12/21

Books 2013

I made it through more books this year largely because I read a lot of epic fantasy, which I can plow through quite fast. In 2014 I hope to increase my audiobook listening and utilize the library more.

Books

# Title Author Pages Start Date End Date
1 Alif the Unseen G. Willow Wilson 433 2012/12/28 2013/01/03
2 The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t Nate Silver 544 2013/1/6 2013/01/19
3 Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time, #11) Robert Jordan 814 2013/1/19 2013/01/26
4 The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, #12; A Memory of Light, #1) Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 1120 2013/1/27 2013/01/29
5 Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, #13; A Memory of Light, #2) Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 865 2013/1/30 2013/02/01
6 A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time, #14) Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 909 2013/2/1 2013/02/02
7 C++ Concurrency in Action Anthony Williams 528 2012/12/9 2013/02/02
8 Legion Brandon Sanderson 88 2013/2/16 2013/02/16
9 Debt: The First 5,000 Years David Graeber 534 2013/2/3 2013/02/21
10 The Mongoliad: Book Two (Foreworld, #2) Neal Stephenson, Erik Bear, Greg Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, Cooper Moo, Mark Teppo, Mike Grell 464 2013/2/22 2013/03/03
11 The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York Deborah Blum 336 2013/3/3 2013/03/10
12 The Mongoliad: Book Three (Foreworld, #3) Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, Mike Grell 804 2013/3/12 2013/03/21
13 Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time Jeff Speck 320 2013/3/24 2013/03/29
14 The Stockholm Octavo Karen Engelmann 432 2013/3/31 2013/04/08
15 Mistborn Trilogy (Mistborn, #1-3) Brandon Sanderson 2307 2013/4/14 2013/04/29
16 The Lives of Tao Wesley Chu 464 2013/5/1 2013/05/04
17 VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good Mark Bittman 288 2013/5/13 2013/05/13
18 The Emperor’s Soul Brandon Sanderson 167 2013/5/10 2013/05/17
19 RabbitMQ in Action: Distributed Messaging for Everyone Alvaro Videla 314 2013/5/13 2013/05/19
20 The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) Peter V. Brett 434 2013/5/9 2013/05/27
21 The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2) Peter V. Brett 674 2013/5/24 2013/06/03
22 The Modern Web: Multi-Device Web Development with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript Peter Gasston 264 2013/5/29 2013/06/08
23 The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3) Peter V. Brett 768 2013/6/3 2013/06/08
24 City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There TED Books 119 2013/5/27 2013/06/10
25 Elantris Brandon Sanderson 508 2013/6/9 2013/06/16
26 The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) Carlos Ruiz Zafón 279 2013/6/13 2013/06/22
27 Lexicon Max Barry 400 2013/6/16 2013/06/26
28 Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs Scott Meyers 318 2013/6/22 2013/06/28
29 The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4) Brandon Sanderson 333 2013/6/15 2013/07/01
30 Neptune’s Brood (Freyaverse #2) Charles Stross 336 2013/6/29 2013/07/07
31 Bad Data Handbook: Cleaning Up The Data So You Can Get Back To Work Q. Ethan McCallum 264 2013/7/4 2013/07/10
32 Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1) James S.A. Corey 561 2013/6/29 2013/07/15
33 City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age P.D. Smith 400 2013/7/11 2013/07/23
34 Caliban’s War (Expanse, #2) James S.A. Corey 595 2013/4/9 2013/07/23
35 The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer Gretchen Reynolds 257 2013/7/16 2013/07/27
36 Abaddon’s Gate (Expanse, #3) James S.A. Corey 566 2013/7/15 2013/08/03
37 The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and the Coin, #1) Daniel Abraham 555 2013/7/24 2013/08/17
38 The King’s Blood (The Dagger and the Coin #2) Daniel Abraham 517 2013/8/18 2013/08/20
39 Interactive Data Visualization for the Web Scott Murray 272 2013/7/27 2013/08/21
40 Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs Eric W. Sanderson 352 2013/8/11 2013/08/23
41 The Tyrant’s Law (The Dagger and the Coin, #3) Daniel Abraham 512 2013/8/24 2013/09/06
42 Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate Rose George 304 2013/9/8 2013/09/17
43 Introduction to Tornado Michael Dory, Adam Parrish, Brendan Berg 138 2013/9/12 2013/09/18
44 The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) Philip Pullman 399 2013/9/15 2013/09/24
45 Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation Tyler Cowen 304 2013/9/21 2013/09/29
46 The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2) Philip Pullman 326 2013/10/1 2013/10/11
47 Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy Christopher L. Hayes 2013/10/11 2013/10/24
48 The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) Philip Pullman 518 2013/10/14 2013/11/04
49 The Incrementalists Steven Brust, Skyler White 304 2013/11/6 2013/11/21
50 The Deaths of Tao Wesley Chu 464 2013/12/3 2013/12/17
51 Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) Brandon Sanderson 384 2013/12/23 2013/12/28

Audiobooks

# Title Author Length Start Date End Date
1 The Mark of Athena Rick Riordan 15:08:00 2013/12/01 2013/12/21

February Media Consumption

Now that March is more than halfway over, I suppose I should get around to
reporting on my February media consumption. I made several long trips in
February, which greatly increased my reading for the month. It also made me
very glad to have a Kindle, as several of the books I read were large fantasy
tomes that would have been otherwise inconvenient to lug across the country.

Books

  • Neal Stephenson, Reamde

    Stephenson is one of my favorite authors, and I look forward to his new releases with great anticipation. Reamde is something of a departure from his previous work, in that it takes the form of a present day thriller and doesn’t introduce any substantially new technologies other than a particularly sophisticated MMO. Many people found this disappointing (Tyler Cowen called it “devoid of interest”), but I still thoroughly enjoyed the novel as a slightly nerdy action-packed page-turner.

    Stephenson is very good at writing characters that, for lack of a better term, are extremely competent. In Reamde, the characters, good and bad, collectively manage to track down a terrorist on the other side of the world, hack a major virtual currency, commandeer a rogue fishing vessel, steal and fly a plane into the Canadian wilderness, and perform numerous other feats of strength, endurance, and mental agility. This could easily seem ridiculous, but for whatever reason I find Stephenson’s characterizations compelling enough that they seem aspirational rather than annoying. You can almost believe that a slacker drug runner could invent a brilliant MMO, or than an obese writer could lose weight and make millions by working while walking on DIY omnidirectional treadmill, and somehow it makes you want to be more creative and ambitious in your own life. Or at least it does for me.

  • Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World

    I’m not sure how wise it was to start rereading a 14 volume, 4 million word series, but the final volume is coming out this year (written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s untimely death), so I suppose it’s as good a time as any. I was also somewhat inspired by the Wheel of Time reread at Tor.com, which includes lots of description about the entire series.

    I was pleased with how well this book held up. Last year I reread the first Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, which is another fantasy series I enjoyed as a kid. While I still had fun with that, I was struck by how bad the writing was, which I guess means that my tastes have improved somewhat since middle school. I had no such problems with the Eye of the World, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

    I was reminded how similar this first book is to the Lord of the Rings. From the Ent-like Ogier to black riders who dislike water, Jordan clearly borrowed some of his ideas from Tolkien, but I’m inclined not to be too critical since he has another 10,000 pages to differentiate himself.

  • Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt

    I reread this on my second cross-country flight this month, and I enjoyed it just as much as TEotW. Jordan hasn’t yet succumbed to the overwhelming number of subplots that characterize the his later books, but the series starts to move beyond the Tolkien-esque confines of the first book. I’m looking forward to book 3.

  • Chris Martenson, The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our
    Economy, Energy, and the Environment

    In some ways this is a standard “we’re all doomed” book about the environment, but I thought it did a better than average job of linking the environment with the economy and discussing some of the economic challenges we will face due to resource scarcity. I appreciated that Martenson took the time to go over the math of exponential growth and work through things like the impact of inflation in some detail.

    I was less impressed with the solutions section of the book. Martenson’s suggestions — buy gold, move to a semi-rural community, etc. — sound a bit survivalist, and his self-promotion heavy website doesn’t help. This may just speak to the magnitude of the problem. There are many clear presentations of the challenges we face, but relatively few simple solutions that can be realistically implemented.

TV/Movies

  • The Vampire Diaries, Season 1-2

    I’m a bit embarrassed to admit to this, but I found The Vampire Diaries to be extremely addictive. The easiest way to describe is really True Blood lite. Even though it is based on a different series of books, the similarities are striking. Both series feature young female protagonists in small southern towns that become involved in love triangles with two vampires, one of whom is brooding and reformed. They both have an African American “best friend” who gets involved in all sorts of supernatural drama. They both introduce werewolves and include at least one sympathetic werewolf struggling with his identity. They both feature a slightly irresponsible brother who is initially unaware of all of the supernatural happenings. And so on. In other words, you should not watch this for originality.

    Nevertheless, the characters have good chemistry and the plot moves fast, and while I don’t expect The Vampire Diaries to win many awards, it is enormously fun to watch.

Articles

  • David Foster Wallace, The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and The Shrub, Rolling Stone, Apr. 2000

    This is a long, brilliant, and exhausting account of the 2000 Republican primary by the late novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace (DFW). As a political outsider, DFW travelled with the McCain campaign and reported on the exhausting and bizarre world of the campaign trail during the period in which McCain was making waves as the “maverick candidate”. DFW is hardly a traditional journalist, and this is hardly a traditional profile. It’s full of fun quirks — George W. Bush is referred to as “the Shrub” throughout, for instance — but it also provides an excellent behind-the-scenes look at the strategy and process of running a campaign. It is also a profound meditation on politics as advertisement and the challenge of determining when candidates are being honest and when they are being strategic. Finally it is a surprisingly human portrayal of McCain, who the otherwise progressive DFW seems to develop a healthy respect for. Highly recommended.

  • Adam Gopnik, The Caging of America, The New Yorker, Jan. 2012

    The U.S. puts a larger fraction of its population in prison than any other country and this is a travesty just about any way you look at it. Gopnik surveys the problem and makes some interesting connections to the surprising drop in urban crime since the 80s.

  • Matt Chaban, Terminal Condition: How New York’s Airports Crashed and
    Burned Can They Soar Again?
    , New York Observer, Jan. 2012

    New York is one of the most important cities in the world, but its airports are old, crowded, and inefficient. Much of this is due to the dramatic increase in air travel since they were built, but some is also due to the effects of 9/11 and increased security. For example, transit between terminals that requires you to exit security is now much less useful than it was in the decades prior to 2001, leading to the unpleasant necessity of inter-terminal shuttles. This was an nice followup to Aerotropolis, which I read last year, and should be of interest to anyone who has to travel to or through any of NYC’s airports.