Book Reviews 📚

Review - A Clockwork Orange 🔪

Great book. The liberal use of unique slang language, called Nadsat, was initially frustrating, as without a glossary the first few pages were only half comprehensible, but after reading the whole thing I’d say that the use of Nadsat elevates the book from good to great.

Review - Between The World And Me

I’ve been a huge fan of Ta-Nehisi Coates essays for years, so it was about time I read a book by him.

Review - Cat's Cradle

For context, Slaughterhouse Five is possibly my favourite novel, and Kurt Vonnegut is tied with George Orwell as my favourite writer (which makes some sense because Vonnegut called Orwell his favourite writer).

Review - Constructing The Political Spectacle

Of all the books I read this year, Goodreads tells me this book on politics was least read by others on the site. I have no idea why this ended up on my ‘To Read’ list, but I’m glad that it did.

Review - Designing Data Intensive Applications

This is a technical book on software engineering, so it won’t bother to review it beyond saying it’s the best educative software book I’ve ever read and I think it’s required reading for software engineers.

Review - Down Girl

Very well organized and written. Probably the first out-and-out ‘Feminist Theory’ book that I’ve read, so I won’t comment too much on whether it distinguishes itself within the genre, but I found it a really useful read.

Review - Dune

I’m one of the Dune newbies that picked up the book because they got hyped by the 2020 movie adaption trailer. “I better read this before the movie comes out in November 2020!” I thought. Well, COVID fucked that all up and now I’ve got time to read the whole series about ten times over before the film comes out. Anyways, reviewing the book…

Review - Dune Messiah 🏜

Dune Messiah is the 2nd book in the six-part Dune series by Frank Herbert. I planned to just read the first book in the Dune series,Dune, before watching the Denis Villeneuve film adaption that was going to arrive in November 2020. I figured that having read the book would help me enjoy the movie. Hell, I eventually found out that having read the book was essential for deriving any pleasure out of the mostly incomprehensible David Lynch adaption from 1984. The Villeneuve adaption never came out in November 2020 though thanks to COVID-19, and who knows now if it’ll ever hit cinemas.

Review - Evicted 🏚

My favourite podcast is The Ezra Klein Show, and at the end of each episode Klein gets his guest to give three books that they’d recommend to the audience. u/PossionsRevenge posted on Reddit a spreadsheet counting the mentioned books, and Evicted was easily the most recommended book from guests.

Review - Foundation 🪐

I had no idea what Foundation by Isaac Asimov would be like; I just knew it was regarded among the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Review - Heart of Darkness 🖤

This book's vibe is not like anything else I've read. I'd describe it as brooding and disturbed. The main character's journey is like a cursed pilgrimage or something. I've read that this book has been super influential, and I think I can see why.

Review - Liar's Poker 🃏

I wanted to read this because I’m a big fan of the movies adapted from Michael Lewis’s work (The Big Short, Moneyball) and because I really liked The Big Short (book) and thought it was important work. Liar’s Poker is the breakout first book by Lewis, and I definitely enjoyed it less than the three other books of his that I’ve read.

Review - Normal People

Read it basically in a single sitting. I don’t read too many love stories, but it was a nice read, and I particularly like how the author ends it.

Review - Tender Is The Night 🌃

The Great Gatsby (written earlier in 1925) is probably my favourite fiction novel. The only good piece of art I own depicts the Penguin Books cover of the novel. So I had high hopes for this last novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is The Night.

Review - The End of Policing 🙅‍♂️👮‍♂️

Somehow this book got on my ‘Want To Read’ list, and was then gifted to me for my birthday in 2019. It became a ‘must read’ during the June 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, and I eventually finished it later that year.

Review - The Innovator's Dilemma

This book is a business management classic, and I’d say has been incredibly influential in the corporate technology sector. I’d read the Wikipedia page for Clayton M. Christensen’s “Disruptive Innovation” which details breifly most of the ideas contained in The Innovator’s Dilemma but wanted to go to the primary source.

Review - The Manager's Path 🧗‍♂️

I approach the whole ‘how to be a better manager’ genre as if it’s going to bore me and maybe provoke an early mid-life crisis, but I’d just been given manager duties at my company so felt I had to read something or else accept the possibility of wilful ignorance.

Review - The Old Man and the Sea 🦈

I loved this Southpark bit about The Old Man And The Sea before I came to love this short novel, and the bit partly convinced me that I was old enough to read the novel. I can believe that if I had to read this book in school when I was around 13-15, I may have been like the Southpark kids who listened to the heartfelt recounting of the book’s plot by the Hispanic fisherman and said, “that it?”

Review - The Pearl

Not much to say about this one. I picked it up because I wanted a short read and I’d really liked Of Mice And Men. It was worth the ~90 pages, but I didn’t find it especially memorable.

Review - The Road 💀

This was very interestingly written and the subject matter was more dreadful and bleak than anything else I’ve read. By the end of it I felt like it had taught me a lesson about the fragility of our world and shown me that commonplace imaginings of personal and societal disaster are not even close to contemplating the full existential and psychological horror that’s possible. Living in the middle panel of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, it helps to be look at the right panel occasionally.

Review - The Undoing Project

Before I found this in the office of a place I was staying in, I’d seen reviews that this was Michael Lewis’s best book yet. After having read it, I wouldn’t disagree with them. I always put the book down wishing I could read another chapter, and felt that Lewis did an awesome job of making the lives and careers of two famous psychologists seem exciting and dynamic.

Review - The Uninhabitable Earth 🔥🌏🔥

What Wallace-Wells puts down in this non-fiction story about our climate future properly disturbed me. While reading it, and for a little while after finishing it, I was noticeably a little more stressed, pessimistic, and tense. Only a little, but it’s really the only book besides Understanding Power that’s produced any sort of similar reaction in me.

In The Guardian’s review subheading is:

Review - Why We're Polarized

Ezra Klein authored this book, and he hosts my favourite podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, in which he regularly discussed the ideas that appear in this book. A surprising amount of his podcast guests actually feature in the book, even those you’d think have little to do with USA politics.

Review - Zero To One

Being Trump’s most prominent billionaire booster in 2016 makes you a massive dickhead in my book, so it’s fair to say that I do not like Peter Thiel. Politically, he’s a right-liberatarian and is well known for his willingness to screw minorities and abandon democracy in the pursuit of capitalist profit-ventures.