I've let my reading updates slide this year, and haven't been tracking things quite so well.
Nevertheless, here's what I've read since my last update
The Corporation Wars: Insurgence, Ken Macleod
Macleod continues to write sci-fi for nerds who like economics, politics, and AI. If that floats your boat, and then check these books out—I quite like them. If not, pass safely by.
The Truth, Terry Pratchett
I had never read this before. It follows the pattern of other "industrial technology comes Ankh-Morpork" books, but feels weirdly fresh and relevant in 2017.
The Delirium Brief, Charles Stross
Reading these books more out of habit now than anything.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Terry Pratchett
Young adult / children's book. I enjoyed reading it despite the moralising.
The Fifth Season, N. K. Jemisin
Absolutely bloody amazing. I read this book straight through, then bought the sequels (the two items below) and read those immediately.
Jemisin tells a story that's about the environment, race, power, loss and what comes after, living with pain, and what it means to treat others as human.
But, she does all of this while building up a complete, believable, complex world (helped by her masterful use of language) and while telling a tightly-paced action-filled story.
Easily the best fiction I've read this year.
The Obelisk Gate, N. K. Jemisin
The Stone Sky, N. K. Jemisin
Penric's Demon, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
The Penric novellas are all set in Bujold's world of the Five Gods. They are lovely, and quiet, and joyous, and occasionally Chestertonian (although I find Bujold more interesting & far far less smug than old Gilbert Keith).
I wish there were more authors who offered up such wholesome fare.
Penric and the Shaman, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
Penric's Fox, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
Penric's Mission, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
Mira's Last Dance, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
The Last Colony, John Scalzi
Scalzi's writing is consistently entertaining, this is no exception. Nowhere near as much meat as the other sci-fi books on this list. This is just an entertaining yarn in space—and there's nothing wrong with that.
Zoe's Tale, John Scalzi
It's The Last Colony, but from Zoe's point of view.
The Furthest Station, Ben Aaronovitch (novella)
Just enough of a fix to get me by until the next full-length novel. Really well written and lots of fun. I felt the central mystery lacked something.
Provenance, Ann Leckie
Very weird reading this after enjoying the Ancillary Justice (aka Imperial Radch) books so much. When you open up Ancillary Justice, it's obvious from the start that Breq is a total bad-ass. The protagonist of Provenance initially comes across as a bit of a gawd-help-us, and for a while I wondered whether I'd enjoy the book.
I should never have doubted. Very much enjoyed.
Persepolis Rising, James S. A. Corey
I love these books, and I love that I can just sit back and trust Corey to take me on a fun adventure ride.
The Urth of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
I don't think I have the mental capacity to grapple with Gene Wolfe at the level he deserves.
This book is way more religious and (I think?) way more direct than the original four volumes of the Book of the New Sun.
The Prisoner of Limnos, Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
Another one of the Penric novellas, and sequel to Mira's Last Dance.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F_ck, Mark Manson
Twenty-something white guy grows up.
The Management Myth, Matthew Stewart
Itamar recommended this to me when he found out I was going into management. I guess he wanted to completely destabilize my self-confidence? It's about how almost everything you'll ever read about management is rubbish.
The author was a management consultant, and before that was a philosophy PhD. The book interleaves personal anecdotes of his time in the consulting industry with chapters about measurement, feelings, strategy, and self-help books. For each topic, he explores the history, the motivating ideas, and then questions and critiques the assumptions.
His core thesis is that management really ought to be considered a sort of applied philosophy, and that it's a failing of both philosophy and business schools that it's not.
Very much recommend if you have ever read any other book on management.
Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
I read this over the Christmas break. Sharp prose, good story telling, and doesn't demand that much from the reader.
His points about the way science & empire grew hand-in-hand were pretty interesting.
I'm still forming opinions about it more generally. I think my main qualm is that the text gives the impression that the history of humanity really is very simple and just as Harari describes it, and my own feeling is that it's probably far more complicated than he likes to present it.
Solaris, Stanislaw Lem (narr. Alessandro Juliani)
Kafka... in SPACE. Really good.
No is Not Enough, Naomi Klein (narr. Brit Marling)
Klein draws on all her earlier work (including No Logo, Shock Doctrine, etc.) to analyze the Trump phenomenon and to sketch out a positive alternative.
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (narr. Ta-Nehisi Coates)
If The Fifth Season is the best fiction I've read this year, this is the best writing.
Coates presents a memoir of his own intellectual development, framed as an extended letter to his fifteen year old son, triggered by his son's reaction to a killer being exonerated. This memoir takes place in an America that I had not seen before.
Coates leans heavily on his own atheism as an axiom and a supporting argument for many of his conclusions about what is important and how to live. I found myself agreeing with many (although not all) of these conclusions, but disagreeing with the premise. Many times I wished I could sit across from him and have a discussion. I'd be outclassed, but I'm sure I'd learn something.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ryan North and Erica Henderson
So much fun. Squirrel Girl (it's funnier with a US accent) beats all foes through a combination of friendship, negotiation, computer science, and superpowers.
Northlanders, Brian Wood, various artists
Historical fiction following the vikings around Europe. Lots of violence and snow. Makes me glad to be alive in the twenty-first century.
The Coldest City, Antony Johnston, Sam Hart
Apparently this is what Atomic Blonde is based on? Fun Cold War thriller set in Berlin.
Fatale, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips
LA noir meets Lovecraft. Found it hard to engage emotionally with this one, even though it's a good story well told.
The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips
LA noir, straight up.