Cake
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    • I’m listening to Children of Dune by Frank Herbert and reading The System of the World by Neal Stephenson. Both are definitely a bit more obscure Sci Fi but I’m enjoying them!

      Neither are on my bookshelf.

    • I do love me some Neil Stephenson, not many writers can produce an 800+ page book that is interesting and engaging. Still haven't gotten around to Baroque Cycle (it's not a light decision to dive in there), but loved Seveneves and Cryptonomicon, well, it should be compulsory reading.

      Right now, I'm in the middle of Redemption Ark, and have Autonomous lined up to go next, with working further through Culture series after that.

      On non-fiction side, just last week I got "Millions, Billions, Zillions: Defending Yourself in a World of Too Many Numbers" by Brian W. Kernighan (THE programming OG who, among other things, named Unix).

    • Have you read Anathem by Neal Stephenson? I couldn't stomach finishing Crytonomicon (too long and tangential) and I slogged through Seveneves (kept waiting for a payoff that got skipped).

      Overall, I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about Neal. Anathem was my first Stephenson book and it was so amazing that I tried reading a few of his other books and was left disappointed.

    • I haven't ready Anathem yet but the ones I've read (or reading) are Seveneves, Snow Crash, Baroque Cycle, Cryptonomicon. I've liked everthing so far, but I like the tangents and minutiae probably more than the main storylines 🙂. Planning on reading all of his novels over time, though they are all pretty long so it will take a while.

    • Welcome to Cake, luhem. 🎂 I don't know what it was about Cryptonomicon and Seveneves, but you make me feel better about myself because I felt the same. I had several people tell me I HAD to read Cryptonomicon because it was so amazing, and somehow it didn't grab me despite his other amazing books. I've felt like something was wrong with me ever since.

    • This was recommended by a friend, (previous) boss, and mentor, a current read for me. So far I'm finding it interesting.

    • I used to be a regular reader of his Study Hacks blog. He fundamentally believes that the ability to engage in deep work is a differentiator for career success. Curious to see what you think of Digital Minimalism: I just placed on hold a copy of his previous book.

    • I read Deep Work a loved it. His thesis seems to be the brain adapts to stimulus just like the body does. A runner comes to look different than a weight lifter. When the brain trains to focus, it learns how. If it has to context switch constantly due to interruptions, it learns to do that at the expense of concentrating on one thing.

      And the thing is I know how the sausage is made. Young engineers do all the interrupting on social media because they need to generate engagement for Twitter and Facebook, so they deliver the alerts that grab your attention — things that generate outrage like young men in MAGA hats confronting a native American Elder or a gymnast's perfect 10 just now. Those things are so stimulating, you won't be concentrating on deep work anytime soon.

    • Yep, loved Anthem. I get that some people find Stephenson hard to get through, but he packs so much research and ideas into those 'side-quests' that I really don't mind them at all. Cryptonomicon, goes in detail into how cryptocurrencies might work (10 years before Bitcoin). Not to mention working with top crypto minds (Bruce Schneier) to develop a working, usable cryptography algorithm that works with a pack of playing cards. I'm a sucker for things like that.

      While we're at it, here's a challenge: Lady of Mazes. Fewer than 300 pages, but with enough ideas to fill a dense trilogy. ;-)

    • I'm reading The Night Land: A Story Retold by James Stoddard and William Hope Hodgson. Hodgson's 1912 novel was an early cosmic horror, epic fantasy and romance (?) tale loved by H.P. Lovecraft. It's filled with otherworldly imagery, unfathomable mysteries and is incredibly evocative. It's also terribly overwritten in an archaic style (17th century I think), also plodding, repetitive and all but unreadable. James Stoddard did a hero's work by rewriting the novel into a much more readable style and is fantastic. I'm breezing though this edition.

    • I sometimes choose a yearly goal for my reading: this year it's to read a bunch of 2019 releases in my genre(s), science fiction and fantasy. So I'd already bought the audiobook of Marlon James's sprawling, African-inflected dark fantasy Black Leopard, Red Wolf when this terrifying review came out. Notable pull quote: "Reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf was like being slowly eaten by a bear, one inviting me to feel every pressure of tooth and claw tearing into me." Amal, the reviewer, is someone I trust! And I was going to pour this into my poor defenseless EARS?

      I forged on regardless. It's thick and challenging and a lot like a gory fever dream, but it's very well written and interesting. It's only ripped out my heart and jumped on it once so far. However, it's early days: I have only been one-fifth eaten by this bear.

    • I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire and I watched up to the fifth movie.