Books of Summer 2016
Summers in Miami are fairly long — or at least that’s the excuse I’m using for procrastinating on so many reviews. Rather than wait until next year to catch up with them, here are some quick notes from the books I read/heard from July to October:
Grass by Sheri S. Tepper (★★★★☆)
A great example of Sci-Fi as an unobtrusive setting where a story takes place. Some interesting gender roles topics and religious discussions. A denser than normal book that made me think after closing it on many days.
Ringworld by Larry Niven (★★★★☆)
Classic Sci-Fi, which while enjoyable seemed a bit banal after reading Grass. Still, a fun ride in an amazing universe. Not sure I’ll come back for the sequels, but I may re-read it at some point.
Abomination by Gary Whitta (★★★★★)
Excellent. A page turner, but with a different twist on many fantasy stories. I felt for a few of the characters and will love to return to this world if follow-up books are published.
Red Rising (Book 1) by Pierce Brown (★★★☆☆)
If you like The Hunger Games as a genre, then you may really like this. It felt too similar for me, and I found myself struggling to finish it. It did leave me curious with the setup for the next book in the series, so I’ll likely read one more.
Steelheart (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson (★★★★☆)
Not a great story, but a fantastic world. Some cliché conflicts as a result of the its young adult target. I love the rules and restrictions the characters have, so I’ll read the next book for sure.
The Fold: A Novel by Peter Clines (★★★☆☆) A solid book with a very intriguing main character in a different setting. This could make a great movie. The story gets weird for the resolution, but it’s a good page-turner.
Changer (Book 1) by Matt Gemmell (★★☆☆☆)
I’m glad most reviewers don’t agree with me. I really wanted to love this book — since I’m a fan of @mattgemmell tech writing, but it was predictable without any strong characters.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (★★★☆☆)
This books has a very important message, but it suffers from booktitis. What could have been a short and to-the-point (essential?) booklet, gets inflated with stories that don’t add much and get repetitive. But if you’re interested in the topic, I’d still recommend it.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday (★★★☆☆)
I thought this book could go two directions: either summarizing stoic principles or bring up some insights from stoicism for today’s age. It rather goes somewhere in between, and it didn’t work that well for me. Still, if the topic is new for somebody, I’ll probably consider this book as a good gift.
Scrum by Jeff Sutherland, JJ Sutherland. (★★★★☆)
Sprints, backlog, scrum meetings — if you’ve heard any of these words a few times, I recommend this book. You won’t become a scrum master, or have to do exercises, but it’s a great overview of the reasoning behind the scrum process. Even you don’t practice it religiously, it has some good stories.
Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish, Sean Silcoff (★★★★★)
Very surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I thought I knew the RIM story, and how they messed up. But as usual with every topic, the more you dig in, the more you realize the complexity. It’s also a fun reminder of the last 20 years of gadgets.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes, Joe Layden, Rob Reiner (★★★★★)
This is a total feel good book. If you like the Princess Bride movie, and wanted to hear entertaining stories of how it was made, then have fun storming the castle. For even more fun, listen to the audiobook, is narrated by Cary Elwes, so it feels and an audio commentary.
If you’re curious of what I’m currently reading and plan to read, visit my Book List Trello board, which I keep up-to-date.