One of my new year’s resolutions for 2019 is to read more books. I read a lot every day, but it ends up being a lot of articles rather than books. Some of the articles have good depth, but most are effectively just time-wasters, like most things in life. Books can also be time-wasters, but I usually feel like I got more out of the experience.
So, as a base line, here’s what I finished in 2018:
- The Stand by Stephen King – I first read this in about 1989 when I was fully into his books. I read the extended version this time. I technically finished this in the last few days of 2017, but I want to include it as part of 2018 anyway.
- Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier – The newest book from the “godfather of virtual reality”. This is a fun book for anyone, but especially good if you are interested in tech history or VR.
- Porcelain: A Memoir by Moby – A sort of techno version of one of those “rock n roll memoirs”. Pretty good read with a lot of cool history of the early days of the techno DJ scene in NYC.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – Non-fiction and partly memoir, but mostly focused on the amount of work and focus it takes to write professionally. I love Stephen King’s way with words and got a lot out of this. I’m not a writer, generally, but this applies to pretty much any creative work I think.
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel – I finally got around to reading this, years after it was cool. The best compliment I can give it is it was better than I expected. None of the ideas are mind-blowing these days, but it’s pretty quick and has some good ones.
- Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5) by Brandon Sanderson – I love the Mistborn books and this is one of the “Old West meets Victorian England” ones. Not as good as the original three, but fun.
- Burn by James Patrick Kelly – One I picked up in the Humble Book Bundle: Super Nebula Author Showcase. I’ve been wanting to explore a wider variety of Sci-Fi and this is one of the ones I’ve read from it. It has some really cool ideas about the nature of life in the future, and what makes people happy.
- Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller – A marketing book I ran across with some straight forward ideas. The premise is that people are the hero in their own stories and they are looking for a guide to help them on their way. It uses examples from movies and seems like a reasonable way to think about messaging. I actually only read it about 85%, and feel like I got it.
I’m also currently reading a few:
- Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge – A novel set in the future where wearable computing, augmented reality (AR), self-driving cars, and ubiquitous government surveillance are common place and almost everyone is continuously networked to everyone else. It’s far from utopian but it’s not really dystopian either. It presents all of this as just a setting for what’s ultimately a high tech heist sort of book.
- Better and Faster by Jeremy Gutsche – This was a recommendation from a friend a couple years ago and I’ve been reading it off and on. It has some good ideas.
- The VR Book: Human-Centered Design for Virtual Reality by Jason Jerald – A text book sort of format that aims to discuss all aspects of VR technology and design. If you haven’t guessed, I’m pretty into VR right now.
So, that’s not a very long list of books. It’s only 8 that I actually completed in the whole year. I’m pretty sure I can beat that in 2019 and my plan starts by converting some of my article reading time (mostly in Pocket) to book reading.
According to my Pocket reading stats, I read 2.9 million words, or the equivalent of 39 books, in 2018. I probably only skimmed some number of those, so maybe it’s only really 25 books worth. That’s still triple the amount of words I read in book form.
Any book recommendations to kick off my 2019?