in Reading Notes

Books Read in May ’15

In order to gain a better understanding of how I choose what to read, I’ll be doing monthly recaps of the fiction and non-fiction books I finished, and why.

As was expected, reading becomes more difficult when you have less time to read. But not impossible! So while I wondered whether my reading would bend or break at the end of last month, I’m happy that the answer turned out positive. The time required to read denser books and also a work schedule that occasionally spills onto weeknights and weekends will necessarily reduce the sheer number, but that’s fine. Make that brain muscle sweat, right?

Onto June, with a measured optimism, as I now have daily chats with international developers for Connect A Book in the morning, in addition to the standing commitments. That said, if the books continue to be as great as they were last month, I won’t have a problem finding even more time. I heartily recommend all five below, to just about everyone.


Redeployment by Phil Klay – This was recommended to me by a new co-worker, and it’s one I’d hoped our book club would read. It’s a collection of incredible short stories from soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It’s at times funny and disgusting and terrifying and heartbreaking.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – The Martian kickstarted a bit of an interest in the science fiction / thriller genre, and TGWATG came up in an Audible search. It’s compelling and fast-paced and ruthless, with an ending on par with that of Ex Machina.


Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance – A well-researched, even look at a hard-charging, groundbreaking changer of worlds. For anyone interested in the future of … technology? space? humanity? this is necessary reading.

Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty by James Austin – An examination from a neurologist of how we get lucky, and the four types of Chance. Marc Andreessen references this in his series of articles “Luck and the Entrepreneur.”

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson – A book all about connections, which I’m naturally predisposed to, from history to technology to ethnography, all presented in a coherent and thoughtful way.

If you have any recommendations of books to read, either based on the books above, or on your own experience, please let me know.

Write a Comment


  1. My recs:
    And one more thing / BJ NOVAK
    Revival / Stephen King
    Silver Screen Fiend / Patton Oswalt

    (Sure, 1 & 3 are from comedians, but they both write really well)

  2. Four books I’ve read this spring with some connectedness: “Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul,” by Stuart Brown, Christopher Vaughan; “Being Mortal,” by Atul Gawande; “The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” by David Morris; and “On the Move: A Life,” by Oliver Sacks.