📚Noisy Deadlines

readinglist

  1. Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1) by Brandon Sanderson, 656p: This was my first time reading Sanderson and it’s clear he is a great storyteller. It felt a little YA to me, which is not a bad thing, but sometimes it seemed like the book didn't know if it was going to be an adult or a YA story. Nice world-building: the author really takes time to develop the world and bring it to life, without making it boring. The high point of this book was the Magic System based on colors and Breaths. It's intricate and interesting. I like it when magic has rules, restrictions, and costs to the user. There are some good plot twists that caught me totally by surprise.

  2. 100 Things We've Lost to the Internet by Pamela Paul, 288p: I listened to the audiobook and it’s basically a journey through things we used to do before the Internet. It’s funny and light. But I felt it got a little repetitive towards the end.

  3. The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency #2) by John Scalzi, 320p: The second book of the series and very enjoyable, like all Scalzi’s books. We learn lots of secrets about how The Interdependency was created and the Memory Room. There are cool AIs, conspirators, palace intrigues, plot twists, and people getting arrested. It ends in a cliffhanger so I had to jump to the third book right away.

  4. The Last Emperox (The Interdependency #3) John Scalzi, 336p: I thought it was a satisfying end to the trilogy. Discoveries are made, very important people get killed, and more plot twists making the story super engaging. I loved the characters in this series, and also the sci-fi ideas: with star systems risking being disconnected from the rest of the world, how to save everybody? How to save millions of people from a natural disaster? How to avoid the ones in power from being selfish and only saving themselves? I had lots of fun with this series.

  5. The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars) by G.L. Carriger, 222p: A cozy murder mystery in a spaceship with humans trying to understand aliens and vice-versa. And a romance between a queer detective and a lavender alien with hair tentacles. It plays with the idea of gender and sexual diversity. It’s cute and light-hearted. Warning: It has explicit sexual content.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull, 286p: I wanted to have enjoyed this book more, but there was something about it that threw me off. It is unique because the story takes place on St. Thomas Island in our current time. An alien ship lands on the island in 2019. But we don't get to know much about them, only that they want to do some research on the island, they live among the humans peacefully but can become extremely violent if someone annoys them in any way. The aliens are used as an allegory of colonialism, racism, and slavery. And it is all portrayed through the lens of characters, with their personal struggles and thoughts. This book had an eerie feel to it, where I couldn't trust the character’s points of view, it all seemed too surreal to me sometimes. So, I was hoping for more sci-fi alien explorations and this is more like a social commentary on power and occupied territory.

  2. The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman #1) by Neil Gaiman, 192p: I've heard a lot about this series over the years, but I’ve never actually read it. I gave it a try, and it didn't really catch me. It's probably too dark for my taste as it clearly has horror elements. I didn't like seeing people suffering because of the cruelty of deities, it's not really my thing. The art is beautiful, though.

  3. Heirs of the Blade (Shadows of the Apt #7) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 622p: In this book, we go to the Commonweal, the land of the Dragonfly-kinden. It is a vast far-away land with mostly inapt inhabitants, and they were partially conquered by the Wasp Empire, but still somewhat kept their ways creating an interesting mix of small Monarchies (Principalities) and Wasp-occupied provinces. There is an epic Weaponmaster duel, featuring Tynisa, the Spider. The first half of the book focuses on Tynisa's explorations in the Commonweal. Through her experience, we can see the duality of the Apt and Inapt worlds, and manifestations of arcane magic. This whole series is an exploration of this duality: the arcane versus technology/science. It seems the Wasp Empire wants to rule with both magic and technology, combining them into a powerful weapon to take over the world. We'll see how that goes.

  4. How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price, 192p: Very practical, it presents daily exercises to be done in 30 days, so the chapters are grouped by week, with one activity per day. I enjoyed the activities and they really gave me another level of awareness of my relationship with my phone. Sometimes the exercises were just a few questions that made me reflect on my feelings and physical reactions when I use my phone. It was very interesting. The final exercise is to spend 24 hours without a phone and that was also very enriching. I wrote about some of my takeaways here.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

This month I tried some magical realism, continued on the Dresden Files series (it only gets better), read a short urban fantasy and some light non-fiction. I realized books about minimalism aren’t that interesting to me anymore because I already read a lot of them (so I’ll keep that in mind).

  1. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, 468p: I was curious to explore some magical realism, and it's probably not my cup of tea. It was very slow and too “dreamy” for me.  The premise is intriguing and what kept me going was the mystery about the lost finger and the weretigers. Lots of people losing fingers on this one. It brings interesting cultural elements, with references to mythology and folklore of Malaysia. I feel Magical realism is not my thing. Everything happens in the real world (1930s colonial Malaysia), real places, real cultural references, but at the same time there is this uncanny mysticism and I don’t trust any of the characters. I think my suspension of disbelief doesn’t work well while reading this genre.

  2. Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) by Ilona Andrews, 225p: A fun quick read. I liked the idea of a Victorian Bed and Breakfast being a cosmic outpost with its own powers. It's a good urban fantasy mixing up space vampires, werewolves, and a badass protagonist (Dina) who is this powerful Innkeeper trying to look normal.

  3. Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) by Jim Butcher, 517p: Have I mentioned that I love the titles of this book series? This one has necromancers who want to put their hands on an old lost book that contains forbidden magic powers, so, lots of zombies. Also, vampires because, why not? Harry Dresden finally gets a job with the White Council and starts getting regular income. I hope he is not broke all the time anymore, he deserves it, he's a good guy. Oh, and did I mention zombie dinosaurs?

  4. The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors by Brian King, 256p: Light and fun read about stress management with touches of personal memoir. The author uses some simplified explanations of how our brain works under stress, as the  “bears vs traffic” argument. I got the analogy, but sometimes traffic is not as harmless as he describes (I think he never had to drive during heavy snowstorm or freezing rain conditions). I had fun, it is humorous and not intended to be an in-depth guide to fight depression or anxiety.

  5. Love People Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works by Ryan Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn, 320p: I didn't enjoy this book as much as their previous books. Maybe it's because this one didn't bring anything new to me. It has some more personal anecdotes and even childhood pictures from Joshua Millburn. It tries to focus more on relationships and at the end of the chapters, there are some suggested exercises for the reader. And again, since I'm familiar with their work there was nothing fresh for me. But I think it's a good read for people who aren't familiar with minimalism.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Last year I started using The Storygraph to track my reading.

The Storygraph is a new-ish service and what I like about it is the simple-clean interface, no ads, no annoying notifications, the “next-up'“ feature, and the team developing it.

For every year we get a Reading Wrap-Up, similar to the “My Year in Books” from Goodreads.

It was interesting to see that 26 books were part of a series. I’m getting more and more into series and I’m enjoying “spending time” with the same characters in their worlds. They become good old friends. My favorite series from last year were:

Another cool piece of information was to know the average time I spent with each book, which was 12 days. Not bad, I think.

And I love seeing all the covers of the books read at a glimpse. You can see the whole list here.

So far I’m enjoying The Storygraph!

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

New year!

I’m trying to read as much as I can. And by that I mean replacing all the other “reading” I do on the internet with reading… books. Some books were more challenging than others, but I was able to sit down for long periods to focus on reading. It’s a good mental exercise.

1. The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 698p: This is probably my least favorite book of the series so far because it starts slow and introduces a whole new world (under the sea) and lots of new characters. It was heavy on worldbuilding for the first half and I wasn’t that interested in this new city, with its politics and economy. But in the end, it was a fantastic read, the last part of the book compensates for the slow start. It was nice to follow closely Stenwold Maker and his exceptional strategic skills to avoid an unprecedented war between sea and land peoples.

2. Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke, 304p: Super interesting, it’s an explainer on how dopamine works in our brains and the duality between pleasure and pain. It’s a good introductory book to the subject. A takeaway for me was that a good strategy to break an addiction pattern might be total avoidance of the thing I’m addicted to for at least 3 weeks. It might not work for everybody and not for every intensity of addiction, but for me, it works.

3. Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey, 536p: I read this book after seeing the TV series, which is very unlike me. I remember the TV adaptation was great, and the book is even better. This might be my favorite book in the series. The pace of the book is just perfect with POV chapters for each one of the Rocinante crew members: Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos. It’s a different setting as well because they are not inside Rocinante for a change, and they are not even in the same places for most of the time and that just shows how good these characters are.

4. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty, 400p: I loved the premise of this story: 6 astronauts that wake up in a generation ship to find their past clones dead and must investigate who is the murderer. So it is a good mix of closed room thriller/mystery and sci-fi. I liked the format: chapters alternating and revealing the background of each character. And with every chapter, you discover new things, and the characters’ past and motives get more complex as you go. It was interesting, it got me engaged to the end. I didn't want to put down this book. The ending felt a little bit too rushed and convenient, but the ride was super fun.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Record of Blood (Ravenwood Mysteries #3) by Sabrina Flynn, 522p: This one gets into Ravenwood and Atticus Riot's past with flashbacks and we find out more about the death of Zephaniah  Ravenwood. The background is a mystery revolving around a series of slave girls murders, sex trafficking, and the underground of 1900's San Francisco. The best about this series is the characters.

  2. Wild Seed (Patternmaster #1) by Octavia E. Butler, 306p: A hard read, not because of the writing style, but the theme and the underlying metaphors: slavery, discrimination, power abuse. It's weird and disturbing, there weren't any lovable characters for me. I wasn't sure if it was sci-fi, magical realism, or something in between. I was hoping the main character, Anyanwu, to have more active powers. She was powerful but at the same time powerless to deal with Doro's influence. It was a disturbing read at many moments for me, not really my cup of tea. The writing is excellent, tho.

  3. Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6) by Jim Butcher, 464p: I had lots of fun, Harry Dresden faces impossible situations and deals with vampires and succubus. There is a family reunion, and dogs and weird things happening to Dresden's powers. I want to continue reading to see what happens.

  4. Effortless: Make It Easy to Do What Matters by Greg McKeown, 256p (AUDIO): This one was a good read for the end of the year. It's a very light read putting together various ideas to make our lives effortless. My main takeaway was asking myself: “How am I making this harder than it needs to be?” or “How this could be easier?”. It was a nice reminder that it's possible to turn around our mindset and see the bright side of everything.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt #5) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 692p: I thought the first half of it dragged on a little. I wasn't too interested in what was going on with the Refek agents and their mobilization to have the Scorpions attack Khanaphes. The interactions between Thalric and Che are what interested me the most. Thoto was so annoying. I almost wish he was killed at some point. The mystery of the Masters in Khanaphes kept me engaged with the story, but in the end, I didn't get Ethmet, the First Minister. Was he really in touch with the Masters at all? He seemed just like a puppet, repeating old sayings. And why the Masters were dormant? And why after they woke up, found Che, let her go, and then went back to sleep? What was their goal? It seems like this mystery is the backdrop of what this series is really about.

  2. From the Ashes (Ravenwood Mysteries #1) by Sabrina Flynn, 233p: I was longing to read a good detective's story and this was perfect. It has that Sherlock Holmes feel but in San Francisco in the 1900s and with an ex-gambler-turned detective (Atticus) and a strong and fearless female character (Bel) who defies everything about society's norm. And it was very cool to know the author was inspired by real people and news published back then. It's a great mystery with amazing descriptions about life in San Francisco in the early 20th century.

  3. A Bitter Draught (Ravenwood Mysteries #2) by Sabrina Flynn, 376p: More mysterious deaths and this one starts with Bel investigating a strange case of an apparent suicide. Atticus is also investigating a series of murders and then the plot becomes more complicated and the two investigations intertwine. Atticus and Bel form a great duo, it was a delight seeing them join forces to solve the mystery. I will read the next in the series.

  4. I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel, 160p: I liked the first few chapters but then at some point, it felt too focused on the joys of storing and organizing physical books rather than reading itself. It had some fun moments but I wanted it to end soon because, yeah, I’d rather be reading something else.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross, 272p (AUDIO): A good advice I got from this book is to use the third person voice to address my thoughts: “Hey, do you think worrying like that is useful at all? It’s better to focus on the here and now.”

  2. Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt #4) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 459p: It’s war. The Wasp Empire advances, some win some lose. This book is full of action, dramatic battles and has the best romantic duo fight ever.

  3. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry, 416p (AUDIO): Excellent audiobook! Stephen Fry did a great job putting all those myths together and his storytelling is great. It was a delight to listen to it.

  4. Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells, 168p: this series is so cozy to my brain. I enjoy following this artificial construct thought process. And this one has a murder mystery. How not to love?

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet, 441p: A kind of “enemies-to-lovers” romance where the heroine isn’t helpless (for the most part). The magic doesn’t follow too many rules or limitations making the heroine unbelievable powerful. I had fun!

  2. Death Masks (The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher, 432p: I think this one was more self-contained with fewer plot lines going on at the same time (as usually was the case with previous books). I love this series and will keep on reading.

  3. Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles #1) by Kate Elliott, 528p: The idea/premise seemed good (Female Alexander the Great in Space!) but I think the execution lacked focus. There were 2 major points of view: Sun was third person and Persephone was first person. Each chapter had a different POV and sometimes I had a hard time discerning which character was talking. Although Sun was the main character, Persephone (in the first-person narrative) was way more interesting. The book felt a bit longer than it should be and the amount of world-building info dump bothered me at times. I was not excited to continue reading the series.

  4. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, 400p: As always, full of interesting insights. We are doomed!

  5. The Complete Maus (Maus #1-2) by Art Spiegelman, 296p: I wanted to read a Graphic Novel and my partner told me about this one. It’s really good! But it’s sad. I caught myself in tears in many moments while I was reading. It’s not an easy topic (Nazism and the story of a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz concentration camp). Extremely touching. We cant’ forget this horror as to not repeat it again, ever.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

For some reason, August was a hard month for reading. I try to find time for reading in the morning, before work, or after work. Sometimes I can read a little during my lunch break. But on some days I was too exhausted to read before bed. Or I was too distracted. It was hard to read this month! I started an audiobook (Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry), and even that was hard for me to focus on (it is a long audiobook about Greek mythology, so I’ll take my time).

Also, I’ve decided to leave Amazon’s e-book empire and did some research on other e-reading devices/systems. I chose to get a Kobo e-reader and I’m loving it so far. It integrates seamlessly with the Ottawa Public Library system, so cool! And since I’m abandoning Amazon, Goodreads will probably be the next one to go… More on that in a future post…🧐

The two books I read this month were part of my local Book Club discussions. Two opposites, I loved one and the other one was “bleh…”, but I’m glad I experienced it. I almost finished Book #5 of The Dresden files, so that will go on the next month’s list.

  1. Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt #3) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 429p: This series keeps getting better. It was nice to follow the characters to different places. We get to know Solarno (in Spiderlands), Jerez (a black market city, with a mysterious lake), and Szar (a Bee-Kinden city). I loved the  Pilots of the Exalsee, a type of aviators club/group with their own code of honor and obviously against The Empire. The plot revolves around the search for the Shadow Box and who gets it. Now that I know who got it, I gotta keep on reading the series to find out what the box actually does! (hint: obviously some evil things)

  2. The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford, 368p: This is a complicated book. I know some people who loved it, some people who didn’t. I can see why it is loved because of the historical references and it has become a classic. It's an alternate history with vampires (written in the '80s), and maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was a little more knowledgeable about the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. To be honest, I lost interest in the characters at about 60%. There were random scenes happening here and there that seemed to be out of place to me. It was hard to follow the passage of time in this book. The writing is very polished, and the author leaves a lot of action and descriptions to the reader's imagination. using metaphors. Even actions are only hinted at, so it's a book that you gotta work it in your brain to get it, I guess.

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Thoughts? Discuss...


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.