Books and book-a-likes thread for 2020 ⬇

1/ The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone by Steven Sloman. Useful discussion of knowledge scope and storage: We think in groups, and we store information in our surroundings and in others. Changed how I think about information and about grief.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/the

2/ Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers. Good collection of Lord Peter Wimsey short stories, including some very intense ones, and one that is hilariously playful.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/lor

3/ The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Alien life is discovered, and the Jesuits make First Contact because they have their shit together. Well-told with strong characters. Humanoid aliens 🙄 and anything re:sexuality was predictably disappointing.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/the

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4/ Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers. Another Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. As always, meh plot, but brilliant character writing. This one introduces Harriet, leading up to several books of fun.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/str

5/ HTTP/3 explained by Daniel Stenberg. An overview over HTTP/3 by the developer of curl. Fairly short and informative, and includes a helpful amount of history and reasoning. A good way to find out if and where you want to dive deeper into the topic.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/htt

6/ Clouds Cannot Cover Us by Jay Hulme. A collection of modern poems. Some were not for me at all, but one or two dropkicked me in the feelings. Imo the best possible outcome of reading a selection of poems.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/clo

7/ The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers. The tedious Lord Peter mystery – focused on a very boring plot, little in terms of dialogue and characters. Only people fishing and painting, forever.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/the

8/ Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers. I went on a bit of a mystery streak here. This one is mostly character building for Peter and Harriet and their interactions. Good to read through a historian's lens, because holy gender role batman.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/hav

9/ The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. A calm, optimistic story of the last humans leaving Earth, visiting another human settlement. Infuriatingly it left out everything I wanted to hear more about, and was lovely nevertheless.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/the

10/ Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler. Short story that could not be more Octavia Butler: Aliens and humans being wildly different, but cohabitating, in a functional yet gross way.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/blo

11/ Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Excellent dystopian storytelling. Not loud, not ostentatious, not yelling "THIS IS A DYSTOPIA, GETIT?!". Strong narration, slow burn. Didn't feel depressing despite the bleak theme.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/nev

12/ Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. I want to like the Wayward Children series more than I actually like them. This one felt just a bit too formulaic, too quippy, too designed to be quotable.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/com

13/ Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher. Excuse me, a ninja assassin and an anti-stereotype paladin? Light cost, but fun, with good dialogue and more than decent characters in a well-rounded world and an extremely over-the-top plot.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/clo

14/ How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. I didn't finish this book. Extreme tech pessimism ("kids these days don't talk to each other" basically) is not something I'm ever in the mood for.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/how

15/ Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers. Short story collection. Very mixed bag, rather skippable.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/han

16/ SSH Mastery: OpenSSH, PuTTY, Tunnels and Keys by Michael W. Lucas. Teaches both implicit cultural knowledge and exciting obscure details about OpenSSH in a concise and fun way. I rewrote many configs after reading this.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/ssh

17/ Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. Objectively, this book is around 3.5-4 stars, but the romance broke my heart and the banter moved me to tears. 5/5, and I probably won't shut up about this one for a while.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/gau

18/ Tiamat's Wrath by James S.A. Corey. Another easy 5/5 rating. There's no way I can describe this book without spoilers, so I'll just say that despite all odds and fears, the Expanse series just keeps improving.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/tia

19/ Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers. At some point, Dorothy Sayers figured out that her forte was characters and dialogue, not plot, and this book delivers. It's a honeymoon with a murder, and who even cares about plot beyond that.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/bus

20/ A Time to Reap by Lynne M. Thomas. Very solid time travel short story, probably even better for people from the rural US. Extremely strong on the atmosphere.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/a-t

21/ For He Can Creep by Siobhan Carroll. This short story is for the cat lovers. Lovingly combining stereotypes and then going just a bit beyond.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/for

22/ I (28M) created a deepfake girlfriend and now my parents think we’re getting married by Fonda Lee. Exactly what's on the tin.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/i-2

23/ Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Hm. The first third was slow and muddled, and while it got MUCH better, it feels like Grimdark Flippant Protagonist no 23 has been done to death. It's a good setting, but setting isn't everything.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/gid

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5/ I Sexually Identify As An Attack Helicopter by Isabel Fall. Brutal-yet-touching scifi take on gender. Loved the story, hated the aftermath – it got taken down, and is only available via some archives now.
books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/i-s

@rixx Good news! There's a second edition now! Even comes in a fantastic hardcover edition. :flan_book:​

@rixx Still on my list 😞 At this point I'm even considering re-reading all the previous books simply because I've completely lost track of what happened when, where, why, and how 🤪

@zerok Huh, I found Expanse one of the series that was really easy to keep track of. Some more generic series I completely forget and then just play guessing games, but the Expanse characters and plot felt unique and real enough that I never really let go of them.

@rixx Absolutely, if only there weren't always like 2 years between me reading the entries 😅

@zerok I don't think I've managed 2 years. I had gaps of 8 months earlier in the series, and then a full year before reading Tiamat's Wrath. I don't think I could've kept away from it much longer tbh.

@rixx I get distracted quite easily by simply putting far too much on my to-read list too easily 🤪 That and I'm really, really bad at remembering names and therefore normally have to write them down even for short books 😅

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@rixx thansk for that, started reading it. I wish there was documentation/summarization in that format available for a lot more technologies. No unnecessary chat, no deep dive, but short overview over topics for those that are kinda knowledgeable in that area.

@xpac Yeah, definitely. I particularly liked that it included reasoning and discussion from the working groups. The generally best source for things like that is lwn.net, I believe.

@rixx your books page is so perfect! And interesting to read. Got some ideas for presents and by own reading list, thank you so much for sharing.

@TQ Thank you, happy to hear that! I'm working on adding more lists/tags that could be useful. I don't really like the big ones, like scifi/fantasy/kids, and would like to have more like enemies-into-friends, or stuff like that. Plus, I have an ongoing process of adding reviews to the earliest books I've read, because I now have Opinions.

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