I’ve sort of hit a wall with my energy to read a book a week. At the start of the challenge in April, it felt like no problem, spending a few minutes here and there during the week reading, and then finishing the book on the weekend. I had some momentum from the science fiction books (mainly William Gibson) that I was reading, so it felt effortless. Now my momentum has faded. It could be the books I was trying to read, but it could be just brain fatigue and general lack of attention span again. ☹️
Let me do a recap of the books I’ve read so far…
Leading up to the beginning of the challenge (which started in April), I was reading the “Blue Ant” trilogy by William Gibson — Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. Zero History was the first book I finished for the start of the challenge. I liked the premise of Pattern Recognition, but felt the ending was a little bit anticlimactic. Spook Country I didn’t really like, and took a while to finish. Zero History was a little better, with an interesting mystery about a “secret brand”.
I also read this short non-fiction book, Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, which was a very cool read. Though I don’t make much time for them, I like doing different creative, artsy projects. This book has a lot of good advice for people who want to make stuff, use their creativity, and be artists. It was on my backlog of books to read, and it was short enough that I could kinda pad the beginning of the challenge, heh.
I took a brief break from reading through the Gibson trilogies and read Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World, by Matt Alt, another book on my backlog. I love reading about tech history and Japanese culture, so this was a great combo. Very interesting topics!
From there I read the Bridge trilogy by Gibson — Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties. Since earlier this year I had finished the 2 books of Gibson’s latest, not yet finished, trilogy — The Peripheral and Agency — and kind of felt like I wanted to read more Gibson, I decided to read through his trilogies backwards, hence the Blue Ant trilogy, and then Bridge. There were some interesting ideas in Virtual Light, but I didn’t fully like the characters in the book. Idoru felt more like the kind of book I wanted to read, as it was set in Japan and was heavy on interesting tech. At first I was annoyed because it seemed like most of the characters and plot from Virtual Light didn’t seem to carry into Idoru, but when I started All Tomorrow’s Parties, VL characters and plot points started to figure in again. Looking back at my journal entries, it seems I really liked Idoru, and didn’t have any comments about All Tomorrow’s Parties… 🤷🏽♀️
It was after All Tomorrow’s Parties that I felt my momentum for reading a book a week start to falter. I wanted to take another break from Gibson trilogies and randomly picked In the Beginning…Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson. I thought about reading something else from Stephenson, like Snow Crash or The Diamond Age (both pretty great books), but I’d read those before, and figured I should read something I hadn’t yet. Cryptonomicon, which I’d tried to get through multiple times before, is way too long for me to realistically finish in a week, so I ended up with this short, non-fiction book about PC OSes. It was interesting enough, with some pretty big biases, but overall it was a fine read.
I couldn’t decide on what to read next, sampling these books (some of which had been published recently):
I actually had started reading Distrust That Particular Flavor before I decided to switch to the Stephenson book. Tried to continue reading it after finishing the Stephenson book, but got bogged down. It’s a book of various essays or articles Gibson wrote for different publications or events, so the topics vary wildly, along with my interest. Then I thought I was going to read Build by Tony Fadell since it’s like a mix of tech history and leadership/career advice. However, it made me think too much about work which I’ve been trying to get away from while reading, so I switched away from it.
In parallel, I started reading this web comic/graphic novel, Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman, via the Tapas app. I actually got pretty into it and the Netflix TV series based on the books, so that delayed me in finishing any books for the last couple weeks. Annoyingly, I cannot count Heartstopper as one of (or 4 of, since the web comic covers the already published volumes 1 – 4 of the graphic novels) my weekly books, since there’s that dumb rule that comics/graphic novels don’t count. 🙄 This author has several young adult novels published, but they haven’t been released in the US yet, annoyingly. Otherwise, they would’ve been on my short list for the challenge.
Anyway, after all of that, I think I’ll finally be finishing Distrust That Particular Flavor today. But I’m still not sure what to read next. I’ve noted a few other books that I came across in various places (magazines, news feeds, etc.), so we’ll see what I end up with.
I pledged to read 10 books across the months of April – June, so I’m not too far away from the goal. 12 would’ve been the better number to go for, since that’s closer to actually reading a book a week over 3 months, but I felt realistically my reading cadence might drop off, which it has. ☹️ I thought perhaps I had renewed my motivation to read regularly and would continue it from now on, but I’m not sure. I hope I will at least read more than I used to, perhaps more like once or twice a month, rather than once a week.
I’ve been enjoying getting through books that have been on my backlog for years. It’s just hard sometimes to compete with other activities that are less mentally involved. 😅 I’ve already read so many more books this year than I have in years past, though, so I’m proud of that accomplishment. I do also realize that most of the books I’ve read are by male authors, so I’ll be watching out for more books written by female authors going forward. I have several in my Kindle library, just haven’t felt in the mood to read them yet for whatever reasons.