After college, I resolved to read one book a month. It can be fiction, non-fiction, technical, business-oriented, or whatever as the goal was to always be absorbing and digesting new ideas and information, even just for fun. At Clarify.io, we had a bi-weekly bookclub based on the same idea.
I should note that I was heavy on fiction this year. When I start a new job – which I did at Okta in June 2016 – and getting up to speed on new concepts, products, and people, I tend to look for books that are unrelated to work and real life.
So here are the books I completed in 2016:
Clarify Book Club
- The Brothers Vonnegut: Science and Fiction in the House of Magic by Ginger Strand – This one was particularly fun because the author is a friend of a friend so she joined us via video conference to chat on her research, what she learned, and the overall perspective.
- In this world, superpowers manifest weeks before the zombie apocalypse begins. While some powered people become heroes and some become warlords, this story picks up months after society has collapsed and a small group of heroes protect a much larger group of civilians in Los Angeles.
- After I enjoyed that series, I picked up two of Clines’ other books. If you like scifi adventure with a little intrigue/mystery, I suggest these two in this order. I loved them.
- I have to admit that after reading most of the Monster Hunter series in 2015, I started reading basically everything Correia wrote and have enjoyed all of it.
- This first set is military/scifi with a streak of espionage thrown in. They’re good and I enjoyed the story and characters. There were some rough spots but they were individual scenes, not the storyline or the underlying goals.
- This other series is something else entirely and I loved it. It’s set in the 1930s where magic manifested worldwide in the mid/late 1800s. As a result, World War 1 was a horror show and bloodbath that still terrifies the world and it started a different semi-Cold War decades earlier. Even when you think you have a handle on what’s going on, there are a few twists that fill in details and explain how things really work. I sincerely enjoyed it.
- Next up, I was looking for something similar to Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series so I picked up this one. It feels like a similar world with various factions but not nearly as fleshed out or considered. While they were okay and engaging at times, it felt very episodic.
- Middletown Apocalypse by assorted authors – This was unexpectedly good and I enjoyed it. The editors contacted a bunch of scifi/fantasy authors and asked them for a short story starting from the same simple premise of a zombie outbreak at a rural college. Each author took it in completely different directions and made it their own.
- Outcasts by Alan Janney – Another superhero series where powers manifest via a disease and while some use their powers for good, the rest decide to conquer and try to wipe out everyone. At this point in the series, things are going very bad for everyone. Yes, this is technically Young Adult but it’s a good story and compelling characters. So sue me.
- Darknet by Matthew Mather – This was okay. I wouldn’t reread it.
- The War of the Supers by Logan Rutherford – This is another superhero book and while the first in the series was amusing, this one (the third) is just dragging. It feels like the author has no clue where it’s going. I recommend skipping.
- The Last Firewall by William Hertling – The first book of this series (Avogadro Corp) was excellent and well worth the read. Unfortunately, this sequel (4th in series?) is not up there. He was onto a few great concepts in the first book but he’s trying to push further and further into uncharted territory and the results are mediocre.
- Day by Day Armageddon and Day by DayArmageddon: Beyond Exile by J.L. Borne – This is a journal accounting of the zombie apocalypse and while it’s okay, it’s not particularly compelling. Since you read everything after the fact, it doesn’t pull you into the tension of the moment because you know the author made it out.. after all, he’s writing in his journal. If you’re really looking for a zombie story from a military point of view, check out John O’Brien’s A New World series.