September Reads

I didn't get to read as much this month as I would have liked; September's words were snatched between meetings and quickly devoured on flights.


Exhalation by Ted Chiang - A new favorite. This short-story collection explores what it means to be human, and challenges our perceptions. I immediately added it to my want to own shelf on Goodreads. Give it a try if you like sci-fi, software development, or existential questions.


Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy - After first picking up Jude the Obscure last month, I had to read more Hardy. I wouldn't recommend this as the first of his novels to read, but it was perfect for a few rainy afternoons.


Under the Skin by Michel Faber - Never pick up hitchhikers, they say. But what if it's the driver you have to worry about? And what if she's a woman, or not human at all? This sci-fi novel is less action-driven than most, but deals with a plethora of issues: sexism, assault, sustainability, consumption, class, etc.


Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell - Language is power. From Jamestown to Crossfit to Instagram, the words we use have massive influence. Montell explores how terminology and phrasing affect behaviour, and intersperses plenty of antidotes throughout. The book could use some organization, as she jumps around quite a bit, but it was still an interesting read.


The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden - This book was recommended to me as a great intro to information architecture (IA). I'm currently working on creating a software dictionary, so this had some great resources and tips; however, the book is somewhat dated, and could benefit from some additional editing.


Consider Phlebus by Iain Banks - This is one of those modern-day classics that's been on my to-read for some time, but the sheer size and expectation of it has kept me away til now. I get why it's popular: it's fun, but in a way that makes you think. I had a hard time sticking with it, mostly because the protagonist is snarky and the dialog wasn't as engaging as the plot.


This is the Country by William Wall - I picked this one up from a little free library in Germany. It explores the struggles of climbing out of poverty, as well as the complexities of the Irish drug trade. It's not a book I would have normally picked up, but I'm glad I did; I love a good stream of consciousness novel, and I came to love the characters just a few pages in.

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