What I read in April 2020

I wish I had read more this month! I think the COVID-19 pandemic has changed my reading habits. I’ve been way too much news articles and updates about. Ugh!

  1. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, 288p – A fun book about productivity techniques. It has lots of nice ideas on how to focus and achieve goals. One of the main messages is to choose the highlight of the day. It is valuable advice because the highlight can be something as ambitious as “finish that final report” or as simple as “enjoy a cup of tea after work”. It has lots of ideas to experiment with our habits and routines, not all of them will work for everybody. It is a lighthearted book about productivity with no pressure on being highly productive all the time. It’s more about doing what we enjoy 🙂
  1. The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz, 352p – Time travel, feminism, 90’s riot grrl punk rock scene, murder, abortion rights, geology, wormholes. Yes, all this together to form an exciting story of people wanting to make the world a better place. Lots of imagination and interesting historic facts that creates various alternate histories realities. A great read with lots of historical references related to the 1800’s social movements! I had to stop and do some Wikipedia research here and there. Fascinating!

What I read in March 2020

  1. The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley, 369p: A different flavor of time travel in a military sci-fi setting. I liked the way the author doesn’t emphasize gender differences, the characters are people and you can tell their gender when there is mention of a pronoun.
  2. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin, 336p: Really good book about how our brains like organized information. It even mentions the GTD methodology and how it works.
  3. Swordheart by T. Kingfisher, 419p: A fantasy of a fantasy. A man that lives in a sword and protects the wielder of the sword. So it’s kinda like the talking sword fantasy meeting the genie in the bottle. As I said, lots of fantasy! Oh, and romance.
  4. Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne, 206p: Another military sci-fi in a dystopian world from the point of view of an elite super soldier.
  5. Echo Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes by Kent Wayne, 298p: The continuation to Echo Volume 1. This one is like 200 pages of an action sequence non-stop. Very military and action packed.

What I read in December 2019

  1. 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.
  2. Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4) by James S.A. Corey: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible Of Bodyweight Exercises For Men And Women by Mark Lauren, Joshua Clark: Brings the fundamentals of bodyweight exercise and nutrition in an uncomplicated way. I wanted to have some basic information about these types of exercises and the book brings a good list of them with their variations.

#readinglist #books #reading

My thoughts on “Cibola Burn” [Expanse #04]

Cibola Burn

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.


Book info:

What I read in January 2019

What I read in January 2019
  1. The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu, 417
  • This was my first audio book ever. Although I got tired of the narrator’s voice, the book is a fascinating story of advertisements.
  1. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow, 272p
  • Another audio book and I must that this is probably better experienced with a written version. There were some tables and graphs descriptions that did not quite work while listening to it. But the book is great and convince us that almost everything is random and we don’t really have control of the outcomes. Just let it be.
  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, 224p
  • I am a huge fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson. His podcast StarTalk Radio is one of my favorites but curiously I’ve never read one of his books. And this one is narrated by himself and it’s excellent! It’s very accessible and it’s filled with fascinating facts about the Universe. I loved the chapter about the cosmic Periodic Table. The last chapter is absolutely beautiful giving us a brilliant cosmic perspective.
  1. enough by Patrick Rhone, 96p
  • This one is a collection of essays from the author’s blog that basically encourages us to think about what is enough in our lives. It’s a quick read full of interesting insights.
  1. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, 313p
  • Weird and interesting book. You can read my thought about it here.

Reading plans for February:

Loneliness is a state of mind

But I wasn’t lonely. Loneliness, I think, has very little to do with location. It’s a state of mind. In the center of every big, bustling city are some of the loneliest people in the world. I’ve never felt that way in space. If anything, because our whole planet was on display just outside the window, I felt even more aware of and connected to the seven billion other people who call it home.

– by Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Kindle Edition. pg. 218, loc. 2825-2827. Accessed: 3/7/2016

astronaut-chris-hadfield-earth-photo
Photo of Earth from space from the International Space Station during the Expedition 34 mission taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. The January 2013 photo shows Newfoundland and Labrador from orbit. Credit: Chris Hadfield/Canadian Space Agency via @Cmdr_Hadfield