2018/01/10

Annual Book Post

Continuing the tradition that began 10 years ago and then never occurred again until now, here are the best books that I read for the first time last year. The books are in alphabetical order, not ranked order.
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
    This is Weir's follow up (not a sequel) to The Martian. A heist novel set on a colony on the moon. The science is better than the characterization, but it was a fun read.
  • A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
    Made into a movie that came out last year, this is a novel that tells the story of a dog and his attempt to find his purpose. It made me tear up several times.
  • Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion by Ronald L. Numbers
    A very interesting collection of essays, each written by a different scholar, that look beyond the myths about science and religion that we have all been taught and examines the much more interesting truth of each of these cases.
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
    A fascinating and fun history of how six drinks (namely beer, wine, liquors, coffee, tea, and Coca-cola) have both reflected and change the societies that drank them.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    The story of a grumpy old man who is dealing with the loss of his wife, who now finds himself without purpose in a rapidly changing world. Has a lot of similarities to Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood movie of 2008.
  • The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver
    A scary look at what could happen if the US budget deficit continues to grow, seen through one extended family that is trying to deal with the repercussions. Does a really good job of explaining the economics of what is happening while still being a great read.
  • Meditations Marcus Aurelius
    The classic stoic writings of the Roman emperor.
  • Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right by Ken Stern
    Stern, a former CEO of National Public Radio, became concerned about the growing rift between Republicans and Democrats in the US, and what he viewed as the intolerance for dissent among his liberal neighbors, spent a year visiting conservative states in the wake of the 2016 election.
  • The Road to Serfdom Friedrich A. Hayek
    The classic anti-statist/libertarian essay.
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
    Ronson looks at people who have been shamed on social media for making jokes or comments.
As a bonus, the three worst books I read:
  • Thor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron
    What would happen if Thor was no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir and instead it was a woman who took it up instead? You would get this, which starts off interesting, but then turns into the worst sort of liberal feminist posturing and hectoring, including a story where the female villain lets Thor win, because "Girl Power!"
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    It begins as a moderately interesting adventure story and then quickly devolves into terrible pseudo-profound BS.
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
    A purported history of how the modern world emerged from the middle ages. It is full of the types of myths that are debunked in Galileo Goes to Jail.

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