It was a busy month for reading. Lots of good stuff!
Dracula Chronicles: Son of the Dragon by Victor
Foia. An interesting retelling of the life of Dracula. This book, the first of three, tracks Dracula in his teenage years as he makes his first kill. The book was really good, but I was looking for more fantasy.
Spellbound by Larry
Correia. Correia has the fantasy adventure
story down. Very entertaining. I look forward to finishing the series
(Grimnoir Chronicles) soon.
Alas, Babylon by Pat
Frank. A slice of life in the alternate reality
where the cold war ended with nuclear war. I could see this
book as the precursor to The Road by McCarthy. I liked it.
At the Mountains of Madness by H.P.
Lovecraft. Beware the elder
things buried in Antarctica.
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott
Adams. Scott Adams is the creator of the workplace comic, Dilbert. In this book Adams lays out his lessons on life. Some of the high points: eat well, exercise, get into a routine, optimize your personal energy, learn as many different skills as you can (because success is likely to come from some combination of your skills), and passion is just a fancy way for successful people to say they got lucky. I really liked the book; I thought it was funny and informative, and I loved the humility with which the story was told. Where many books and life stories rewrite history and show how one success begot another, Adams instead talks about how his failures lead to success. The anecdotes were modest and on-point, which I found refreshing and brave.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor
Frankl. A Jewish psychiatrist’s
Holocaust story helps explain his world view and motivate his
Logotherapy. I appreciated
that the book was honest without dwelling too much on the atrocities:
rather than recounting every terrible thing that happened, Frankl picks
a few key events that provide a broad understanding. Remarkably, Frankl
does something constructive with his grief. In the book he mentions that
Logotherapy might ask a patient why that patient does not commit
suicide because the answer reveals your meaning, which you can then work
with to heal. One of the most disturbing parts of the book for me was
Frankl’s account of returning home to a nation that ignored the
concentration camps or downplayed their significance; he writes that for
many survivors life after the camp was harder than life in the camp.
Futures and Frosting by Tara
Sivec. Futures and Frosting tells the
story of how a single-mother is reunited with the father of her child;
after a lot of confusion, the couple gets married and has another kid,
then lives happily ever after. Without the humor, it would read like
an angsty young adult love story.
Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Ade
This was probably the most accessible technical book I’ve read. The
application of pattern language to a career is really clever and worked
well. As with software patterns, it’s nice to see the path.