Just finished The Human Division by John Scalzi and I love how this book series started as a snarky take on space war novels that hinted needless conflict was wrong to being an anti-xenophobic condemnation of war mongering, colonization, and violence based diplomacy. This book specifically showing how impactful diplomacy based on mutual interests and hopes for peace can be, while penalizing underhanded methods, is refreshing. Scalzi is not the only author do this in a war novel by any stretch but it feels important to note, especially with how little actual warfare happens in the last couple books in this military sci-fi series.
Cannery Row, or: The Visigoths
This is probably the most appropriate place for this. I’m a list keeper nerd-type and have been using StoryGraph for harnessing all of that and totally forgot that they did a wrapped. It’s interesting to see how the information is mapped more directly over the course of using it, so I’d recommend it if anyone is interested in/has that same tendency to map information.
Anyway, I weeded through and grabbed some of my faves from last year, if anyone is interested in new reading materials. I guess these would be my S-Tier recommendations? No particular order other than chronological as I read them, haha.
- Hayao Miyazaki, Shuna’s Journey
- Jamie Loftus, Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs
- Alex Custodio, Who Are You?: Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance Platform
- Paula D. Ashe, We Are Here To Hurt Each Other
- qntm, There Is No Antimemetics Division
- Hank Green, The Carls Saga
- Tom Doyle, Captain Fantastic
- Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction
- Tom O’Neill with Dan Piepenbring, CHAOS: Charles Manson, The CIA, and The Secret History of The Sixties
- Tsutomu Nihei, Wolverine: SNIKT!
- William Gibson, Neuromancer
This reminds me that I really should read The Incal.
My last read was American Prometheus, the Oppenheimer biography, and it was mostly what I expected after having seen the movie and perhaps more interesting to compare afterward what the movie chose to include and exclude.
Ah, that’s one on my list for this year! The film is probably one of the best films I saw last year.
Also, yes, the Incal is fantastic! I would recommend reading the volumes in order of publication rather than title; it’s fairly recursive as a story, but there are some elements that would get kind of confusing. If memory serves, it goes Incal, Before The Incal, and Final Incal.
Really! I read AART and thought it was the worst book I’ve finished in a long time. It felt like 10% was the interesting stuff and 90% fame-seeking, and I wanted it the other way around.
All the media/punditry biz just did not work for me. Did you enjoy those parts?
To each their own, I guess, haha.
The main character stretched likability in a lot of places, for sure. One of the reasons it made my recommendations is that it made me think of Childhood’s End for people raised on social media, if that makes sense?
The fame-seeking, media stuff does pay off in the sequel imo. I listed the both of them because it honestly would have been better as a larger, single work. The sequel has some faults (first person with multiple narrators really doesn’t work, for example) not present in the first one, but read together, I feel like it was probably one of the fresher sci fi works from the past few years?
Out of curiosity, what was the 10% that you did enjoy?
Yeah, that does. It’s been a number of years since I read CE but definitely yes.
Mysterious alien presence, exotic materials. Viral dreams.
Give me more of that! Not as interested in view counts ~_^
Ah gotcha! Since that’s what you were more interested in, I’d recommend reading the sequel and treating it as a single volume, in that case. I would highly recommend listening to audiobook for the sequel if you do decide to go that route; the multiple narrators are voiced differently, which doesn’t quite come across as well as you’d hope in text!
I appreciate the rec but I think that ship has sailed Probably hit my lifetime quota on Hank Green novels.
That’s fair. There’s something…idk, unsettling, I guess about the fandom around the Green brothers’ stuff that rubs me the wrong way. I would’ve never read this if it weren’t lent to me haha
After reading all the Incal stuff, you should check out the Metabarons if you haven’t already. Kind of messed-up Star Wars meets Dune.
Oh I have, haha. I actually read metabarons first and that turned me on to the Incal, so I went in backwards!
It seems to suggest there isn’t enough reading, and there isn’t. But I was actually surprised that way more people are reading than I thought. I was also surprised that history was the top category.
Anecdotally I’m not. Getting my Dad’s Club to pick anything nonfiction is a pain in the ass. However my wife in her Mom’s group reads nearly only fiction.
If people are reading so much history, why are we so doomed to repeat it? What histories are people reading? I looked at some list of best selling history books, and most of them seem legit.
We have people who see the worst parts of history and openly want to repeat them for one. People who advocate for segregation, apartheid, and genocide.
Those aren’t the history books topping the best seller list. Those people are clearly the ones not reading books.
I don’t imagine that those people read books.
One thing that really stood out from reading a detailed history of how Hitler came to power specifically in the Weimar was that infighting on the progressive left was one of the primary factors.
Another major factor was the general unwillingness of the center-left to meet violence with violence. They were still trying to pass laws at a time when those laws could be permanently blocked by the Nazi majority in government, and the courts were increasingly run by Nazi sympathizers.
We did a political book club a while back: