Books: Some of What I Read in 2017
I should keep an ongoing list of the books I read; I know that I’m missing most of the non-fiction books that I read this year. At the moment I only have my kindle on hand which is where I read my fiction. Due to this selection bias the list is massively skewed towards fiction - especially science-fiction.
The Philosopher and the Wolf
The Moral Landscape
The Malaise of Modernity
Reviewed in seperate posts
The Master and his Emissary by Iain McGilchrist
Good, if sometimes simplistic treatment, of lateral differences in the brain. Very important discussions of holistic vs selective awareness.
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstaedter
An enjoyable romp
The Bodhisattva’s Brain by Owen Flanagan
This book is an excellent philisophical analysis of the intersection of Buddhism, meditation, and neuroscience. Pays attention to many under discussed details and issues with neuroimaging, and the philisophical implications of eudaimonia in a Buddhist context.
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum
An account by a journalist of the physical substrate of the internet. Would have been more interesting with more technical details. The book might be more interesting to a general audience who is completely unfamiliar with networks.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
When he sticks to physics, the essays are interesting. Rovelli isn’t a philosopher his musings on the philosophy of science and art are lame.
True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna
Hilarious book where McKenna doesn’t take himself or his claims too seriously. Highly recommended.
The Back Country by Gary Snyder
Great collection of poems as usual by Snyder.
Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Absolutely phenomenal stories. Amazingly, Chiang’s previous writing experience has been largely in technical computer books. The stories are tight, well-written and thought provoking. The stories not included in this collection are also fantastic.
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick
Dissapointing having read a lot of Dick’s other work. Unsure of why it has received such high praise (compared to his other work).
Valis by Philip K Dick
Phenomenal book. Significant because of it’s explication of Dick’s schizophrenia-philosophy.
Blindsight by Peter Watts
Watts synthesizes many interesting ideas, but doesn’t spend enough time on them. This book is interesting if one is not already familiar with the ideas he utilizes - otherwise, overrated.
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K Le Guin
Great little story by a master.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Excellent sci-fi classic. Highly recommended.
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
You have to read this to reach a proper ending, although it’s far inferior to the first.
The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
Priest wrote The Prestige (which the Christopher Nolan film is based on). The Inverted World was his first, great sci-fi novel. It’s great in many ways, and a tad drawn-out in others (it could use a tighter narrative structure).
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Classic. Should have read far sooner. Also, short.
The Vorrh by B. Catling
The book has positive blurbs from Alan Moore, Terry Gilliam, and others. And yet, the book seemed like a symbolist’s fantasy with no deeper intent or meaning beyond symbolic camoflauging.
Drown by Junot Diaz
Fantastic book with gripping yet different stories with Latin-American protagonists.
The Incal by Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky
Amazing comic by a legendary illustrator and author.
Prophet by Brandon Graham
This comic book series will split your min in half. So imaginative and well illustrated, I was a complete junkie while I burned through the whole series.
Orc Stain by James Stokoe
Amazing illustrations and hilarious writing - excellent comic.
The Humans Vol. I and II by Keenan Marshall
To quote, “THE HUMANS is a high-octane, no-holds-barred, ape-biker-gang chopper ride into ’70s exploitation genre bliss”. ‘Nuff said.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Excellent popular fiction!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I haven’t read a Neil Gaiman book since I was a kid. A fun, short read (with pictures)!
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
One of the best books that I’ve read this year. I will definitely be reading more of his books. Only slight critique, is that some of the character’s serve as obvious mouth pieces / proxies for McEwan’s views (luckily his views are well thought out).
The Big Book of Science Fiction edited by Jeff Vandermeer
An excellent collection of sci-fi from both classic and underrated authors.
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Culture Novels by Iain Banks:
(seperate post forthcoming on The Culture)
Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Look to Windward