I enjoyed doing a post about all of the games I played last year, so I thought one on the books I’ve read would be equally fun. Here goes!
Best New Comic Series: Ms. Marvel
I don’t normally read long standing Marvel series (I’m much more of a self-contained 10 book series kind of person), but something about this comic called to me. Ms. Marvel is about a Muslim girl growing up and realizing that she has super powers. She fights the assortment of bad guys you’d expect, but it’s all new because of the different perspective it has. It’s definitely on the lighter side of comic books, so pick it up if you want typical super hero fare with a slightly different perspective.
Book that I enjoyed even though it made me feel dumb: A Brief History of Time
I’ve taken a number of physics classes over the year, but nothing in those classes prepared me for this deep dive of physics knowledge. It was a bit hard to follow when he was talking about quarks and their weird electrical charge and spin, but it still gave me a good basis for better understanding the theory of relativity and other physics peculiarities. It was also fascinating to see the history of physics research and how wrong (and right!) people were in the past.
Most enjoyable science book: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
This book is a series of silly questions like “How many AK-47s would it take to lift a person off the ground with the recoil caused by firing” and equally silly, but true answers. Both Ashley and I tore through this book because it was thoroughly entertaining and insightful. I can’t wait to pick up Munroe’s next book because this was one of my favorites this year. Highly recommended.
Most overrated book: The Road
Everyone I’ve talked to about this book has told me how much it would wreck me and make me sad. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve played so many survival horror games or watched a bunch of sad movies, but it didn’t do that to me. Sure, there was some sad stuff that happened in The Road, but it wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before. Maybe it’s one of those things similar to Citizen Kane where it was original and groundbreaking in its time, but if you experience it now, it doesn’t feel as impressive. Good book, but didn’t live up to the hype.
Most important book I read: Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
Becoming Nicole is a great book to read to start to understand the struggle for transgender rights. Nicole and Jonas are identical twins, but Nicole is transgender while Jonas is not. This book is the story of their family, their community, and how learn what being transgender is all about. It’s also a study in how people tend to be scared of things they don’t understand. Becoming Nicole is an easy, if frustrating read and I suggest everyone read it as soon as possible.
Favorite book of the last ten years: The Martian
If you haven’t read this book, click this link and buy this fucking book, NOW. The Martian is easily my favorite book that I’ve read in the past ten years and it’s not hard to understand why. Science. Explosions. MacGyvering things. Science. Space. Exploration. Did I mention Science? XKCD explains it perfectly in this comic. It’s a book about overcoming an environment that wants to kill you while being scientifically accurate and funnier than I ever expected. So fucking good.
Here’s all the books I read this year:
Alone on the Wall – Alex Honnold and David Roberts
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family – Amy Ellis Nutt
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference – Cordelia Fine
East of West, Volume 1: The Promise – Jonathan Kichman and Nick Dragotta
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt – Michael Lewis
Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission – Richard H. Graham
Footnotes in Gaza – Joe Sacco
iZombie: Dead to the World – Chris Roberson
Lumberjanes Vol. 1 – Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, Shannon Watters
Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed – G. Willow Wilson
My Beloved World – Sonia Sotomayor
Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo – Anjan Sundaram
The Hero of Ages: Book Three of Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson
The Martian – Andy Weir
The Mindfulness Survival Kit: Five Essential Practices – Thich Nhat Hanh
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Top 10 – Alan Moore, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Randall Munroe