I plan on writing an entirely independent post on my 2019 reading plan (and how in 2018 I started tracking my Reading List using Notion), but here’s a look at four books that I thoroughly enjoyed this past year.
- The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Literally the only reason that John Scalzi didn’t make #1 for me over this past year (see below) is the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series. It’s one my all-time favorites. Seriously the best collection of books I’ve read in a decade. All three books are intellectual epics spanning generations and locations, with thought-provoking ideas across all disciplines of how we organize human society: politics, economics, and science. It’s fascinating, and without ruining the series, I’d recommend that you run out and pick it up as soon as possible. Ball Lightning was really good as well, and I look forward to Supernova Era coming out later this year.
- Lock In by John Scalzi. Along with Cixin, Scalzi was one of my great discoveries this year. To be honest, it was a great year for me reading-wise, particularly on the science fiction front (N.K. Jemisin didn’t make this list of top 4!), and Scalzi emerged as a favorite. After finishing the sci-fi forward crime thriller that is Lock In, I immediately ran to Head On, it’s sequel. And recently I finished Unlocked, a novella set in the same universe. I guess I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m reading everything the man has ever written, from Old Man’s War to The Collapsing Empire to his blog, Whatever. It’s worth it.
- The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers. For those that know me, you know I’m a coffee snob & addict. Seriously. Can’t enough. First name basis with the local baristas, I’ve been to international coffee farms, worked a counter, etc. Love the space. And this book, about the quest to bring Yemeni coffee to the world, was a fun read from a great writer. Made me appreciate the work of coffee entrepreneurs throughout the globe, as well as the value in legitimate fair trade, farmer-first economics when dealing with coffee.
- Chasing New Horizons by Alan Stern & David Grinspoon. Like many closeted nerds, I’m a space nut. I love it. For a while in my teens, I just knew I was going to be an aerospace engineer and work at JPL, APL, or NASA. While my career may have changed, my love for space never did. Picking up this book certainly reminded me of that, as I read the engineering and political challenges faced by the recent New Horizons probe in it’s quest to explore Pluto. Fascinating story. Plus, talk about a timely read! I finished this just a couple of days ago…right before the New Horizons spacecraft reached Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object, which has now been explored for the first time!