2023 has been a great year for reading for me. Early in the year I switched to reading on my Kindle Oasis, and the low friction has been great (amazon just needs to stop worring so much about preventing jailbreaking). I've also been catching up on some of the classics on my reading list, but as always the list is even longer now than it was at the start of the year. I hope you'll find something interesting, and if you have any recommendations for me, please let me know!
This year I planed to venture out of my comfort zone and read more non-fiction, but in the end allmost all of my favorite books still ended up being sci-fi.
A world you can easily get lost in, filled with intrigues, politics, and a very unique culture. A diverse cast of characters with their own motivations and goals, that doesn't feel forced or tokenized. Definitely one of my favorite series of all time, and I'm looking forward to more books set in this universe.
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
If you need something a bit more light-hearted, I can highly recommend the Murderbot Diaries. It's a series of novellas about a murderous robot that just wants to be left alone to watch TV. Even though he's not human, Martha Wells does a fantastic job of creating an empathetic character. While there's quite a few books already, most of them are pretty short and you won't be able to put them down. The latest book in the series came out at the end of 2023 and I'm looking forward to more books in the series.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The movie was never really my thing, but I'm glad I finally read the book. Douglas Adams's writing style is just so fun, but sometimes it can be a bit too much. It has something for everyone, but I recommend stopping after 'So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish', probably the best book in the series. A couple of days ago I've also started reading Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, and so far it's a very similar style of humor, without as much absurdity - I'm looking forward to reading more of Discworld.
Ra by Sam Hughes
A very unique and super creative take on "Magic Systems", but don't let that fool you, this is a hard sci-fi book. Most of the abstracts and summaries I've seen online don't do it justice, and it's worth to finish the book even if you're not sure about it at the start, great plot twists and a very satisfying ending. I also recommend Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories and There Is No Antimemetics Division by Qntm/Sam Hughes, they're both free on his website.
The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect by Roger Williams
I found this book from a recommendation on a Podcast about AI safety and AGI. It explores some interesting topics around the nature of consciousness, immortality, and Singularity but I definitely have to warn you that the book can be pretty dark and disturbing at times. It takes place in a world with no moral constraints and the author doesn't shy away from the darker sides of human nature.
A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace is a sequel to this book, kind of going more into a post-scarcity world, and if you liked the first book you should definitely also check his The Mortal Passage Trilogy. Most of his books are available for free on his website.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
I don't know how I've not read it or watched the movies until now, such well made and thought provoking world building. There's soo much of the same story on self aware robots, but PKD's somehow over 50 years old book still feels fresh. The most interesting part for me was the societies view on animals, and how they've become a symbol of status and empathy.
UNIX: A History and a Memoir by Brian W. Kernighan
A surprisingly inspiring book about the history of UNIX and the people behind it. Just makes you jealous the meeting all of these people working at Bell Labs and the early days of computing. The book goes a bit into the philosophy of UNIX and the design decisions that made it so successful, but it's more so focused on the people and the history of the project.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Essentially a children's book, but I still found it very enjoyable as an adult. It's just so clever and fun, definitely something that can make a bad day better, and I'm sure I'll be reading it again in the future. Helps you remember to slow down and enjoy the journey.
As a honorable mention I also want to mention some books that I read this year. These held up surprisingly well and all of them are worth a read (or re-read).
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
1984 by George Orwell
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Sidhartha by Hermann Hesse
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Oh, and a new post on my Rust OS series is coming soon, some great new things have happened in the Rust embedded space in the last couple of months.