Book Dump

As usual, it’s been quite a long while since I’ve had time to put up a post regarding what I’ve been reading, and the backlog is simply tremendous. I’ve got around 15 sets of notes on books I’ve read recently but haven’t gotten around to post yet because I just can’t find the time to finish the drafts, so here’s a random installment of the ones I’ve revised today.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ★★★★★

I actually got this a good while back, started reading it and then utterly forgot about it after a particularly busy weekend.

It’s apparently quite fashionable now, but forget about the hype - it’s well worth it (orders of magnitude above the original movie as well), and together with the rest of the trilogy it is an enthralling novel that starts out as your not-quite-conventional detective fare and quickly morphs into something else entirely.

The first volume is worthwhile reading on its own, but as a whole, the trilogy is a landmark opus that you just have to read.

Blue Remembered Earth ★★★

This is the first installment of a new Reynolds trilogy in the making, and it is enjoyable and original, but, in the end, rather lacking in terms of plot - I found it rather predictable overall, even considering that it aims to cover a bigger canvas.

Let’s see what he comes up with as a follow-up.

The Stars My Destination ★★★★★

I’ve read this time and again, and it’s never enough to point out I find Gully Foyle to be one of the most fascinating characters ever.


A while back there was some noise regarding REAMDE from the sort of people who lapped up the Baroque Cycle and yearned for another masterful piece of alternate history arcana, and I thought it odd because I had just read through the first two chapters and was enraptured by its snapshot of gun-toting America.

After finishing it, I’m glad it swapped diving into arcana for a convoluted but entertaining plot, oddball characters and the sort of fun I haven’t had since reading Cryptonomicon.

What The Face Reveals ★★★★

Don’t get this unless you understand it’s essentially a bound set of academic papers. I’ve taken up an interest in FACS as part of my decade-long fascination with applied psychology, and this explores a number of fascinating aspects of human facial expressions and their relation to neurology, cultural background, etc.

If you like that topic, you might find Emotions Revealed to be a lot easier going - it was popularized by the Lie to Me TV series and is a good introduction to facial expressions, but lacks the depth I crave in most of my intellectual pursuits and that I found in this book.

Ready Player One ★★★★★

This was an offhand suggestion I got some time ago, and as it turns out an excellent one - I share most middle-aged geeks’ passion for gaming and the simpler, headier era of the arcade (even though, bereft of the right degree of nostalgia, I view the boundless enthusiasm with which others attempt to faithfully replicate those games as somewhat overwrought), and this amazing romp through videogame culture threw in a nicely twisty plot, an amazing amount of detail, and enough references to the 1980s to make it poignantly familiar (even though, quite honestly, I’m rather partial to a number of other more enlightened decades).

As befits the subject matter, I read it in practically one sitting (insomnia and the luxury of a moderately leisurely weekend helped), and had an amazing time - which, in retrospect, kind of worries me…