Favorite Books Kirk Read, 2010-2019

January 6, 2020
My favorite reads on 2010-2019... I feel like this batch wasn't quite as memorable as last decade's list but still some great stuff. Roughly grouped by genre, but also "level of impact".
Other good reads
(in roughly chronological order)
First Half of Decade:
Julian Barnes' Nothing to Be Frightened Of might have snuck in between decades almost - really thoughtful musings on mortality. The Last Policeman - awesome classic noir in a just-per-apocalyptic setting. 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 was covering a tiny computer program from very many angles. Art Spiegelman's MetaMaus is great for anyone who wants an inside look in the craft of comics. David Byrne's How Music Work introduced me to many ideas including how musical forms tend to be shaped by their acoustic environments, the dance hall vs the drawing room. The Advanced Genius Theory gave such a good reason to enjoy things Advancedly not scorn them Overtly... The Spell of the Sensuous explores what we lost when we took on the phonetic alphabet, and how indigenous people weave their environment into their stories. I loved the multitude of styles in the scoff book Cloud Atlas - the movie was decent too, if a bit weirdly "yellowface".

Second Half of the Decade:
Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls was a fascinating psychological study - won't give away spoilers here. Axiomaticwas more sci-fi short stories: I've loved Egan's work ever since "Permutation City", explorations and extrapolations on quantum physics and consciousness and biotech. Bull Was a great sympathetic retelling of the story of the minotaur. Priestdaddy - I could resonate with the tale of being a preacher's kid, albeit not a catholic (!) one, by poet Patricia Lockwood. The Orange Girl - this book has an odd number of parallels with my life, from the late-revealed name of the titular character ("Veronika"), to a boy coping with the early death of his father, to a tendency to write letters for future reading of young people... Time's Arrow was a homonculus who rides along witnessing a Nazi doctor's life but played in reverse.... Love and Limerence taught me a lot about "infatuated love" and maybe not to sweat not feeling it so often, that it might just be a personality-based likelihood...
According to reports assassinating Soleimani was presented as the obviously too extreme throw-away option to make the other options look reasonable. Note to Pentagon officials: do NOT put in a "throw-away option" of using nukes, please.

And drones, man. Remember that Mirror, Mirror episode of Star Trek, where the evil universe Captain Kirk had a viewscreen in his quarters that could just make anyone it displayed stop existing? Drones are kind of like that, a tool that Obama started using (most infamously to kill a 16 year old US Citizen) and now it's in the hands of Trump.