This month was all about The Witcher books. I will definitely go through all the books in the series because: 1) I love the characters; 2) I like the writing style and 3) It’s classic D&D with a twist.
Baptism of Fire (The Witcher, #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski, 378p: This book has that vibe of a good old Dungeons and Dragons adventure. It has the best group of characters travelling together: Milva (a hunter and bad-ass archer), Dandelion (the curious and talented bard), Regis (a weird druid), Zoltan Chivay and his group (a resourceful dwarf who is leading other dwarves and gnome) and Cahir from Nilfgaard (although he says he isn’t). It was exciting, it had some gore, violence, but also friendship and happy moments.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: I finally read the book behind the System 1 / System 2 thinking idea. The research on this book was cited so many times in other books I read before this one so it was good to go to the source. Fascinating with lots of examples.
Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4) by Terry Pratchett: This was a fun read for the Holidays! Terry Pratchett is a genius about criticizing without being offensive or mean about anything. He just slaps the ridiculousness of things in our faces and laughs about it.
A very enjoyable read with a more focused plot. The action is basically in one place, surrounding a group of people and three ships orbiting everything.
A new planet with a breathable atmosphere: who doesn’t want to give it a try? And who owns it? Who can have the right to explore its resources? Who can research it? Who can give it a name? How to use its natural resources to feed everybody? How to build civilization from scratch in a an unknown territory, with unknown fauna and flora?
All these questions are intertwined in this story in a masterful way inspired by the old known power struggles of colonization and its dangers. But in space!
James Holden and the Rocinante crew are sent to try to solve escalating tensions between the original settlers of this new planet and RCE (Royal Charter Energy), a research company who claims the planet’s ownership. On top of the local tensions, bigger issues of an extraterrestrial nature begins to create an impossible life and death situation for everybody.
Naomi and Amos are badass as always, Alex is the best pilot in the universe and Elvi Okoye gives fascinating observations about microbiology.
“Apocalyptic explosions, dead reactors, terrorists, mass murder, death-slugs, and now a blindness plague. This is a terrible planet. We should not have come here.” ― James S.A. Corey, Cibola Burn
One of my favourite books in the series because it has the perfect balance between action, plot and character struggles.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen: I first read this book in 2012 and it changed my life. GTD is a method that helps me organize myself and reflect on my goals, values and purpose. This the 4th time I read this book. Every time I feel like I lost perspective and/or overwhelm dominates me, I go back to this book to make sense of it all. And it helps!
Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1): A nice urban fantasy. It’s got magic and gory murder scenes with a sense of humour. I want to know more about the wizard Harry Dresden.
Medusa Uploaded (The Medusa Cycle, #1) by EmilyDevenport , 317p: I loved the premise: a generation ship in a 100 years voyage to a new place, augmented humans, classical music references, lots of visits to airlocks, a rebellion, deep sleep units and awesome semi organic-semi synthetic artificial intelligent units, called Medusas.
An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) by by Sabaa Tahir, 446p : I felt there was a disproportionate level of violence on this one. And people being subdued by superior power structures. Impossibly dangerous trials that often result in death. But in the end it is a story about rebelling and destroying power structures, which gives a hint of hope when you get to the last chapters.