Pierce Brown: Red Rising

The Red Rising cover

Red Rising is a trilogy about a slave uprising on Mars.  In the book, humanity colonized the solar system, but when doing so, they genetically engineered different people into different "colors," with golds at the top of the hierarchy and reds at the bottom.  I didn't like the start of the first book, but once I got into it, the trilogy was good.

Before I talk about what I liked, some things I didn't like:

The Three-Body Problem: Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem cover

The Three-Body Problem is a scientifically plausible book about human contact with aliens. It was a very good read.

The book is split between Maoist and modern China. It has some interesting historical vignettes about the cultural revolution, though if you're already familiar with the history, you probably won't learn much since the book doesn't go very deep.

Taylor Branch - Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63

Great story, but I don't like how it's written.  Before I speak to the things I learned, my criticisms:

Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

The cover of Stories of Your Life and Others

Since this is a collection of short stories that are very different, I will provide thoughts for each one separately.  That said, all of them were well written and interesting, so I would highly recommend this book.

Tower of Babylon

Magic 2.0 - Scott Meyer

The cover for Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

In Magic 2.0 (which starts with "Off to be the Wizard"), reality is a computer program and the protagonist finds a file that lets him edit the variables underlying everything, which lets him do magic.  I appreciate the premise because that could be the nature of reality, though I think Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson deals with the idea in a more interesting way.

David Foster Wallace - Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

The cover of Consider the Lobster

I hadn't read David Foster Wallace before this book.  I think that I don't like his writing style and disagree with many of his opinions, but he chooses very interesting topics to write about, so I enjoyed reading the book nonetheless.

A Fighting Chance - Elizabeth Warren

The cover for Elizabeth Warren's "A Fighting Chance"

"A Fighting Chance" is inspiring.  In it, Elizabeth Warren tells her story.  The writing is superb, and the stories are gripping.  She includes everything from learning about the power of her voice on the debate team to moving beyond the just world hypothesis (that poor people are poor because they don't work hard) to her research as an academic to her running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to her run for Senate.

Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan

The cover of Eye of the World, the first Wheel of Time novel

A lot of people like Wheel of Time.  I am not one of them.  

The series is 14 books long, but I could only get through 5 of them before realizing that I didn't care about the characters, the philosophy, or the action.  It was started by Robert Jordan and finished posthumously by Brandon Sanderson.  It is an epic fantasy novel where a bunch of kids and experienced advisors try to save the world and are repeatedly thwarted by their own stupidity.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality book cover

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a wonderful piece of Harry Potter fan fiction.  It's about 660,000 words (which is almost as long as the first 5 Harry Potter books), and it's available for free in a variety of formats, all of which you can find at

John Dies at the End - David Wong

John Dies at the End Cover

John Dies at the End is a Cthulu comedy.  It has all of the freaky monsters and stuff that messes with your mind, but the protagonists handle the situation with levity.  

The scary stuff wasn't too scary, which was good for me.  The jokes were reasonable.  There wasn't a ton of stuff that was thematically interesting.  So, an enjoyable read, but not amazing.


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