Qt3 2019 Reading Challenge


@ineffablebob – The Fifth Risk was my other main option for P&R this month, so I switched over and joined you in reading it.

So, every month when picking out choices to queue up for each prompt, my starting point is my “want to read” shelf on Goodreads. This time, the prompts are so wide-ranging that it seemed like half my list would work for one of them. However, true to stereotypes, history books do include a high preponderance of 900-page monster tomes, and I doubt my ability to get through four of those in a month. So I picked both a weighty book and a more digestible short backup novel for each prompt. I’ll start with the heavy stuff and see how long I can last before switching over to stay on track.


Progress: 11/52

Equal parts amusing and depressing. Well written; clearly argues for the value of the work done by the generally anonymous federal bureaucracy, as well as the dangers of putting them in the hands of ignorant, apathetic, or actively hostile overseers. 4/5


Progress: 12/52

I had very much the same reaction as @Thraeg to this one. To quote my own review:


Progress: 12/52

A book about the love life of a movie star is well outside my normal wheelhouse and seemed like it could easily descend into insubstantial Hollywood glamor wish fulfillment. But beyond that surface level, this is full of well-realized, relatable characters, and has some substance on topics of fame, love, and discrimination. Other than a few predictable twists and a somewhat weaker framing story, there’s not much I can take issue with. 4/5


Found my games book:

Heard a couple interviews with Harris about this book and it seems pretty interesting. Don’t have an Oculus (or any VR hardware) myself but I’ve certainly heard plenty about it.


Progress: 13/52

For someone who is already interested in tech startup culture, the growth of virtual reality as a technology available to consumers, and how the business of big tech works…The History of the Future is a good read. If you don’t share one or more of those interests, it’s probably not for you, because it’s really long and the detail will probably bog you down.

I only rated it middling for several reasons. I felt the story could have been told in about half the pages - there’s a lot of interesting stories along the way, but were they all really necessary? I felt like the book tells only one side of the story in the later portion, when Palmer Luckey was being let go from Oculus. That may not be the author’s fault…he says early on that not everyone was accessible to him…but it still felt incomplete to me. And, as I said above, you need a pretty specific set of interests to stay engaged through all 500 pages. I have those interests, it worked for me, but it may not for others.


I’m going to try a couple of Deepak Chopra’s books for the first two.

Not sure about the other two yet, will figure those out later.


I am completely out of step with the challenge at this point, but I did in fact finish a book. Children of Time which of course has its own thread. I enjoyed the thematic parallels between the fall of humanity and the rise of the spiders. I thought the use of naming individual spiders across generations was a very clever way of trying to keep them relatable across species and time challenges, but it didn’t quite fully work for me. And although I somewhat flagged in the middle I really enjoyed the ending. I’m not sure I want a sequel but apparently we’re getting one anyway.