September 2020 Book Retrospective

In September I managend to read five books, and restrained myself to only buy an additional five books. So it was one of those rare moments when I broke even!

Completed Books

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Every night I lay in bed with this book past midnight agreeing with all the points it was making about how I should have been sleeping instead of staying awake reading…

If you read my previous post you will see that this book really had an effect on me, I have know that sleeping is important for years, and that I dont get enough. But reading this book has spurred me into action for the first time in order to try and address the problem.

I had heard a bunch about this book since it was released a few years back, and even though there was some concern about some of the science in it, most sources agree that the overall thrust of the book is worth listening to.

If you have ever been interested in sleep, or want that extra push to start tackling your own sleep problems, I highly recommend the read.

Falcon Helen by MacDonald

My late night reading buddy.

Everyone was raving about Helen Macdonald’s book ‘H is For Hawk’ a few years ago. I read it and was impressed, so when I saw this on sale I figured I would give it a go. Whereas H is For Hawk was a blend of a person dealing with grief, mixed with a history of hawking, this book deals simply with the subject of falcons. It gives an overview of the animals themselves, but then also analyses how they fit into human myths, society, and the world we have created. A quick read, but a satisfying one.

Plus it reminded me about this livened, which I frankly just love:

https://www.367collinsfalcons.com.au

The Body by Bill Bryson

A beer and a book; a winning combination!

I had only ever read a short Bill Bryson book about Shakespeare a year ago, but have always heard people rave about his more in-depth books. Amazon and Google’s algorithms were hammering me with ads for this book when it came out, but I managed to resist for ages because the Hardcover was frankly just too much for my wallet ($45!).

I was pretty proud of myself for not giving in, and subsequently went on my merry way.

Then the paperback was released for $16 from Big W….

I loved this book. It was chock full of facts and interesting stories, each chapter delving into a different part of the body and giving you a greater appreciation for the vessel that carries you through this life of ours. I would highly recommend this for anyone who is even remotely curious about the world. It isn’t overly technical, and is amazingly easy to read (I chewed through the 521 pages in one week).

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

More books, and more beer. You can’t quite tell, but it is The Prince I am reading.

This is one of those books that you always want to read, but never really get around to it. The word Machiavellian is well with popular realm, but where does it all come from. I wanted to know.

I bought this book for my son at the start of the year after a character in his book mentioned it. Whenever my son shows any interest in a book that I am interested in, I instantly use this as the best excuse ever to buy a new book.

Its for my son dammnit; I have to buy it!

He hasn’t read it yet (his pile of books to read is almost as big as mine), but I was amused when I asked to borrow it from him and he said something along the lines of, “Ah, wanting to learn how to manipulate people hey?”.

Brilliant!

As for the book itself, it was quite interesting. Surprisingly modern in the way it is written (though this may be the work of the translator, I dont know), and yet also gives you a nice understanding of the world it was written in. It reminds me of when I read Sun Tzu’s Art of War; you get a good understanding of some of the unchanging laws of strategy that transcend time and culture, but then you also get a bunch of irrelevant information, like how many goats to ransom people for, or what certain regions of Italy are talented in.

One of my mates also brought to my attention the interesting question of whether this book is a how to guide for a Prince, as it is presented, or whether it is written for the population, so they can understand how their leaders control them. This is part can explain why the language is so approachable; it was written in the common Italian of the day, not the more traditional Latin.

An interesting read, and definitely worth taking a look at, if only so you can add it to your list of classic texts.

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

I love a good Scalzi. My only criticism of them is that I read through them so damn quick! Two days is not long enough with these characters, in these worlds. I want more!

This book is a strange blend of court procedural, and alien first contact. A very approachable read, keeps you entertained, with enough to make you think, like any good science fiction should.

Started/In Progress:

  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

Purchased:

  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
  • The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
  • The Lives of Stoics by Ryan Holiday
  • Planetes by Makoto Yukimura
  • The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

On the Horizon:

  • The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Two Lost Mountains by Matthew Reilly

Holy crap; this month my two favourite authors release new books, on the same god damn day!

I can’t imagine a better problem to have these days, than the issue of deciding which new book to read; one by Australia’s best action author, or one by the best creator of hard science fiction currently plying the trade….

A lovely dilemma to have.

Not sure what else I will focus on, but I dont care; these two will keep me satisfied.

Peace out.

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