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Books of 2019

As previously (2018, 2017, 2016), here are the books I read this year, in chronological order.

The Worldly Philosophers - Robert L. Heilbroner

Super interesting, really enjoyed it.

Bite Me - Christopher Moore

Weird & funny, entertaining read.

The Productive Programmer - Neal Ford

Okay - interesting, sorta, but disagree with a lot. Very OOP & java-focused.

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

Re-read, fun.

The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisen

Read last year, forgot to write down.

Very fun series.

The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisen

Book two. Like this series – neat setting, good gradual reveal of premise.

To the Finland Station - Edmon Wilson

Great follup to Worldly. Real interesting; neat perspective of being written in the 1930’s.

The Rhetoric of Reaction - Albert Hirschman

Interesting analysis; kinda wish it was more actionable.

The High Mountains of Portugal - Yann Martel

Not what I expected, really great, sad.

The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisen

Last in the triology, good conclusion.

Unsettling Canada - Arthur Manuel

Great & inspirational primer on Indigenous resistance to Canada’s shittiness.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

Really good, really sad.

French Exit - Patrick DeWitt

Platte cleanser; weird & funny-ish, even it’s not exactly light subjects.

On Trails - Robert Moore

Saw him speak last year. Interesting book, enjoyable read.

No Impact Man - Colin Beavan

Interesting; very honest look at trying to be more sustainable.

How to Not Always Be Working - Marlee Grace

Short, inspiring, thought-provoking.

Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy - Joesph Schumpter

Real interesting; mix of prescient & great anysis & “wow, things have changed”

The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben

Light, informative, enjoyable.

Programming Erlang Joe Armstrong

I’ve had this book for a while, but had never read the whole thing before. Makes more sense after learning Prolog. Read in memory of Joe.

Marxism: For and Against - Robert Heilbroner

Short & cogent; excellent primer.

Notes From a Small Island - Bill Bryson

Read on planes while travelling. Funny, as Bill is.

A Pattern Language - Christopher Alexander et al

Awesome; instructive, plus a great tool for examining spaces.

The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte - Karl Marx

Short, good history. Upsetting how little we learn.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power - Robert A. Caro

Really gripping, need to get the rest of the series.

Turing’s Man - J David Bolter

Quite good; summed up some of the big philosphical problems with programmers.

Teaching Tech Together - Greg Wilson

Great (online) book about teaching tech. Lots to reflect on.

The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 1 - Abridgement by Colin Ronan of Joesph Needham

Follow-up to perspectives missing from Turing’s Man.

Thinking Forth - Leo Brodie

Weird look at a strange sort of programming.

Teachings from the Worldly Philosophers - Robert Heilbroner

Great follow-up to Worldly. Commentary on excerpts from the greats; very good.

The Theory of the Leisure Class - Thorstein Veblen

Real interesting economic/sociological analysis. Very thought-provoking.

Slicing Pie Handbook - Mike Moyer

Interesting approach to startup equity distribution. Repetitive book thought.

A Companion to Marx’s Capital: Complete Edition - David Harvey

Great summary of Capital & Marx in general. Illuminating, fascinating.

Eros and Civilization - Herbert Marcuse

Interesting fusion of Marx & Freud. Alienation as psychological repression.

Peopleware - Tom DeMarco & Timothy Cister

Short but good. Referenced A Pattern Language, good ideas.

War & Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Very enjoyable read – good story, moved well & covered a lot. Women in the book, not so great though.

The Best Software Writing I - Various

Bunch of blog entries that Joel Spolsky liked in 2004. Pretty meh.

Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf - Virginia Woolf

Very enjoyable. Funny, interesting. Makes me want to read her books & write more.

Notes on the Synthesis of Form - Christopher Alexander

Neat idea here.

Alexander proposes a structured approach for finding design solutions, based on set theory and mathematical processes. I quite like his attempt to systematize this sort of thing; this in particular seems like a great way of making a vastly more powerful version of mind mapping.

I really want to try building some sort of tool for this sort of planning & decision making.

A Room of One’s Own - Virginia Woolf

Great critique of patriarchy from a fantastic author. Very highly recommended.

Three Guineas - Virginia Woolf

A thorough and compelling argument for why an anti-war movement requires what we would call feminism in the modern era (although Woolf rails against that term here)