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. In more recent years, I’ve generally tried to read 3 per month which works great with a Kindle app and a ton of travel.
Anyway, here are my top four in order:
- House of Assassins from Larry Correia (Note: this is book 2 of the series)
- Habeas Data from Cyrus Farviar
- The Four Horsemen Universe, the overall story not a single book
- Repercussions from Marion G Harmon
I hit my goal this year but there was way too much fiction in the mix. For 2020, I’ve decided to try to stay under half fiction.
And here are the 43 books I completed in 2019, sorted by author:
I sincerely enjoy the Dresden Files universe and most of the characters in it. When I saw these books of short stories, I picked them up and enjoyed it. While we expect to read more about Harry, this adds some great stories around Molly Carpenter, Butters, and even Mouse. This fills in the world and gives some great background but but make sure you’ve read up through Skin Game first.
This one is a zombie story. The wrinkle is that since Earth has run out of space to bury people, everyone is shipped to the Moon so it’s Moooooon zombies! While this was amusing for a bit, I’d recommend skipping this one and reading his Ex-series instead. I covered those in 2016.
I’ve loved Correia’s Monster Hunter series so I thought to give this one a shot. I expected a relatively blunt sword and sorcery adventure but I there’s so much more here. In this world, there’s a strict caste system that defines all aspects of life and it works out well until it doesn’t. Then things go off the rails with swords, sorcery, and intrigue. In the second book, the intrigue and layers go deeper and become even better. Read this series.
I love Vox and basically everything he’s written. This one addresses how far so many companies are going off mission and how they’re suffering as a result.
- Corporate Cancer: How to Work Miracles and Save Millions by Curing Your Company
Jon Del Arroz
I came across one of Jon’s comic book campaigns and after reading some of his stuff, picked up the first of his “Adventures of Baron von Monocle” series. To be blunt, I hate the main character Zaira to the point where I wasn’t going to continue this series. She’s 16 and has a level of understanding and resolve that no one has, some based out of foolishness but some based in.. luck? Regardless, I completely fell in love with the world he’s created and enjoy these overall.
- For Steam and Country (The Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, Book 1)
- The Blood of Giants (The Adventures of Baron Von Monocle, Book 2)
- Knight Training (The Steam Knight, Book 1)
To mix things up a bit, I picked up Jon’s scifi short stories. This was a good range of lighthearted to absurd to deeply thoughtful. Regardless, my favorite ended up being a story revolving around baseball where the science was an afterthought. Great characters get me every time.
This series is a thinly veiled Christian allegory but layers in personal struggles and the interactions that people drive people forward. It’s set in an overall universe where two great races are at war and more and more groups are pulled in on either side.
- Justified (The Saga of the Nano Templar, Book 1)
- Sanctified (The Saga of the Nano Templar, Book 2)
- Glorified (The Saga of the Nano Templar, Book 3)
If you want to understand modern privacy law and what constrains/powers the US government here, this is the book for you. He starts by covering the cases and principles that have scoped and expanded the 4th Amendment (“unreasonable searches and seizures”) and what the modern implications are. My only criticism is that according to his timelines, there was little government overreach from 2009 through 2016.
Fundamentally, we have to realize that the world we live in and have to work in has become far too complex for one person or team to manage. Pilots, doctors, and engineers are most of Gawande’s examples but if you think about it, most CI/CD systems are build on the same premise. This one is useful if you’re just starting to think about shifting your mindset from habits to practices for your team.
Marion G Harmon
This series is one of my guilty pleasures. At this point, she’s established herself, has led a team for years, has made massive mistakes, and now has to deal with them. Fundamentally, think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer set as a superhero and you’ll recognize some of the themes and interactions.
- Repercussions (Wearing the Cape Book 8)
The Four Horsemen Universe
After finding this series in 2018, I’ve been devouring it book by book. Despite being by a variety of authors, they range from good to excellent. While not every single short story in the anthologies plug into the main storyline, enough do that I recommend that you read all of them.
My only nit here is that if you read them in series order, you end up missing a few “side” stories that fill critical holes or you get spoilers. I’d love to see the dozen+ authors put together a recommended reading order.
Update: Chris Kennedy (publisher of these series) shared the 4HU Suggested Reading Order.
- For a Few Credits More (The Revelations Cycle, Book 7)
- A Fiery Sunset (The Omega War Book 1)
- The Midnight Sun (The Omega War Book 2)
- Dark Moon Arisen (The Omega War Book 3)
- The Good, the Bad, and the Merc (The Revelations Cycle Book 8)
- Alpha Contracts (The Revelations Cycle Book 10)
- Assassin (The Revelations Cycle Book 11)
- Honor the Threat (The Revelations Cycle Book 12)
- Stand or Fall (The Omega War Book 4)
- Sinclair’s Scorpions (The Omega War Book 5)
- Dirty Deeds (The Omega War Book 6)
- When the Axe Falls (The Omega War Book 7)
- A Pale Dawn (The Omega War Book 8)
- Do No Harm (The Omega War Book 9)
- Deathangel (The Omega War Book 10)
- Sons of the Lion (The Omega War Book 11)
- Alabaster Noon (The Omega War Book 12)
- CASPer Alamo (The Revelations Cycle Book 9)
Jonathan Maberry & others
While reading “Urban Enemies” above, I came across Maberry’s universe where a vampire virus appears in the world. Unlike most vampire stories, this one is unique in that there are numerous types of vampires, each of which stems from an ethnic tradition. Therefore, their weaknesses, strengths, and behaviors are all different and some view them as an evolutionary jump. This is a dark series but well written and creepy.
Also in reading the “Urban Enemies” short stories, I was introduced to characters from the Joe Ledger series. While this one included zombies (a theme around here?), it was less about the specific virus and more around huge forces manipulating the world behind the scenes and the groups who counter them. It’s a good read and looking forward to reading more.
This is another superhero book but unlike most of them, it’s told from the point of view of an efficiency consultant who works with villains. It’s silly and fun at times but still a good story.
This series is the follow on from The Remaining series that I covered back in 2017. This series is dark. At this point, Lee Harden is a broken man who has lost everything and (almost) everyone he’s ever loved and now he’s in the thick of it.
It’s a rough story of the Christian apocalypse but diverges in weird places and comes back in weird places. The inconsistencies drove me nuts and made for an uneven story. I’ve sincerely enjoyed his A New World series but skip this one.
- Lifting the Veil: Emergence (Book 3)
John C. Wright
I can never tell if Wright is either a genius or a madman. He throws out wild concepts and situations that make no sense and then backs into the reasoning which not only make them plausible but logical. It’s great but drives me absolutely nuts which keeps me hooked.
This series specifically starts from the premise that the Earth discovers a massive source of power left by a higher species. More importantly, the species has left the secrets of the universe for anyone to discover.
- Count to a Trillion (Book One of the Eschaton Sequence)
In this one, the mythological is real and lurking just under the surface in fascinating ways. He tells the story through a boy learning his heritage and the politics of this secret world.
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If you think I missed something great, drop me a note and let me know!