What I read in April 2023
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett, 503p: I enjoyed the magic system of giving the power of sentience to objects. It adds a whimsical feel to the story. I loved the main character, Sancia: she's a rogue/thief, living in the outskirts of society getting by as best she can. She is smart and independent. She has a dark past, being a victim of unmentionable experiments that left her with uncomfortable (but useful) abilities. One of her goals is to get enough money to cure herself. The world building is cool with an everyday magic aspect based on using ancient alphabet to imbue commands to objects and convince them to behave in certain ways. This process is called “scriving”. For example, a sword can be “scrived” to believe it is as sharp as ten blades in one, capable of cutting through nearly anything. The last third of the book dragged a little bit, but overall, it was very interesting with a main character that I sympathised with.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax, 304p: It's an interesting account of some analog technology that came back after the phase of digitisation that started with the first computers in the 60's and 70's. My favorite chapters were the ones about the revenge of Vinyl and Moleskine notebooks. After the music industry distribution went digital, culminating in music streaming services, there was a movement to get back to vinyl. Records pressing plants were restored and put into operation again. Moleskine started a designer trend towards nice and beautiful paper notebooks. Film directors helped the movement for analog film movies again, film producing factories were re-opened and it's possible to get new Polaroid and Instax cameras nowadays. It also touches on board games, meditation sessions in the workplace, high-end analog wristwatches, print books: all things that are contrasting with the digital environment we live in today. The author praises these analog experiences, reasoning on why we need them more than ever and points out these markets tend to grow even more. Sometimes I found the tone of the arguments too geared towards consumerism and these non-digital options were just creating a market for wealthier people to consume more things. I've been reading digital books for years and I don't plan on going back to paper books (the irony of reading a book about non-digital things in an e-reader).
Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) by Emma Newman, 320p: This book takes place 6 months after the events of Planetfall #2 (“After Atlas”). We have Dee as our main character and she gets unknowingly involved in a suspected murder inside the colony ship. As we know from the previous book, Dee is an avid gamer, and she soon joins elite game servers, or “leets” where the gamers real life abilities are represented in game, making these games extremely challenging. This is another unputdownable book by Emma Newman with virtual reality immersive games, discussions about AI and consciousness, corporate indenture, social justice and revenge. It's all intertwined with the main character's journey confronting her traumatic past while she investigates and plans for the future. It's intense, thrilling and the ending was breathtaking.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab, 282p: This is a light read on the topic, offering practical examples on phrases to express verbally our boundaries. I had the impression the topic was over simplified. The author mentions a lot of “results” from polls she conducted in her Instagram account with her followers and that took away some of the credibility of the facts presented.
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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.