Despite a hellish travel schedule this weekend, I managed to actually meet my book quota: mostly through reading 2.5 books on a very long plane flight to San Francisco. Most of this week’s reading was actually pretty depressing, and with the death of Aaron Swartz, who undertook similar projects, everything seemed to hit home a little harder than it would have otherwise.
What I read (sorry, no fancy picture):
Captive Audience by Susan Crawford
I had been waiting to read this for a while, and it didn’t disappoint. It feels a little disjoined, as the main part of the book is about the NBCUniversal/Comcast merger, but the intro and conclusion are far more broad. Still, Susan’s a great writer and can explain complicated topics like hot potato routing with ease.
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Also a book that had been on my list for a while. It is set in the same world as Oryx and Crake, which I read years ago. I enjoyed it - there’s a good religious element and some strong storytelling, but I wish I had read it closer to Oryx and Crake. I think a lot of the cross-book characters and messages were lost on me.
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
This was the most depressing (and also the best fiction) of the books this week - it’s a collection of near to mid-future scifi, with some broad anti-corporate, anti-genetic modification themes. Lots of stories centered on characters of color or with lead characters who were non-Western, which puts it in sharp contrast with much of the genre. Only two of the stories were set in the same world, which I didn’t actually mind - it felt very cohesive as a collection. It was occasionally very hard to read, with lots of graphic violence and very difficult topics. Came recommended from a good source and was a great book.
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Also a short story collection, also from an author I hadn’t read before, but very different than Pump Six. A lot of Kelly Link’s stories were fantastical, but also profoundly odd and strange. I often finished a story feeling like I had no idea what had happened, or what the story had meant. But the writing was fun, and I’m glad I took the time read the book all the way through.
The Forms and Functions of Tort Law by Kenneth S. Abraham
Shockingly, this book was for work. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it is, of course, a treatise on Torts, which focuses on the goals of tort law and some of the history of how it came to be. I found it a useful counterpart to the case reading I’d done - it gave a real sense of perspective.