• James Hewlett

2017 Books


For the past few years, since starting my current job and having an audible account I’ve used Goodreads reading challenge as a way of tracking what I’ve been reading each year. I only put novels on there, not any of the comics I read, though this year I’ve probably read the fewest amount of new comics in the past twenty years.

I’m not going ti talk about everything I’ve read this year, I’m sure you’d get bored of hearing about every Star Wars book that came out. Instead I’m going to pick out some highlights and talk about them a little.

The cover art for these books is so retro sci fi! I really like it but I don't think they represent the books at all!

  • Persepolis Rising - James S.A. Corey. The latest book in The Expanse and the most recent thing I’ve read, at the time of writing this I haven’t actually finished the book but by the time this is published I will have. I have also written about this one a few weeks ago so won’t go long. I love this series and this book feels very fresh despite being the seventh main novel. I believe they have a nine book series planned, I can’t wait to see what next years brings!

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck - Mark Manson. I guess this technically would be classified as a self help book, which is not something I would normally read, but the title was catching and it sounded interesting so thought I’d give it a go. For a while this year I was alternating between fiction and non-fiction and this fell in the latter. What an enlightening book! I definitely got some useful stuff out of it even if it wasn’t exactly all relevant to me or my personal situation. I recommended it to Sara too as it talks about coping with anxiety and depression which she suffers with, she hasn’t finished it yet but was finding it very accurate and helpful last time we talked about it. The biggest thing with this book for me though was how scarily accurate it described my brother, Jon, and all his problems. It was so spot on that I had to stop at one point and google the author to see if it was someone Jon knew who had been writing a case study on him. So much of what Manson describes and explains about OCD and the other issues Jon suffers with was extremely enlightening and helpful for me as someone who wants nothing more than for my brother to get better.

  • Columbus Day - Craig Alanson. What a find this book was! I believe it is self published on amazon for kindle devices but I listened to the audiobook narrated by the great R.C Bray. It is a militaristic sci fi novel set in present day. An alien invasion takes place and small militias form to fight back until a separate alien race comes and fights off the original invaders and offers humanity tech and support in exchange for troops in their intergalactic war. From there the world greatly expands and we discover a lot of political intrigue and betrayals from all sides. The story follows one lowly grunt on the ground throughout but he becomes one of the most important figures for humanity. I was amazed at the pace the story moves and how invested I was in the conflict. It may sound like a lot of sci fi nonsense but I do think it would appeal to anyone who enjoys conflict, military style stories or espionage tales. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  • The Upstarts - Brad Stone. “How Uber, Airbnb, and the killer companies of the new Silicon Valley are changing the world.” This non fiction case study on Uber and Airbnb is a fascinating insight into the corporate structure and history of two of the biggest new companies of the past ten years. It is definitely biased in their favour when it comes to some topics but it also doesn’t hold back when it comes to some of their problems and downfalls. Since the books publication Uber in particular has come under a lot more fire and certain people at the head of that company have had to step back. I feel that these problems were only a matter of time and have been present since inception. I have a lot of respect for and use both companies whenever possible but I feel like I can be more objective about my opinions having read this one.

  • Star Wars books. I’ve read a bunch this year just to quickly listen them and give a quick opinion I’ll put them all under one bullet point. Rogue One novelisation, good, adds depth to characters. Aftermath Empires End, fine, finishes up that story without killing Wedge so bonus points. Ahsoka, nice story about what happened between Clone Wars and Rebels overall forgettable. Thrawn, great, letting Zahn bring back his character is awesome and he gets to rewrite the history in the new canon. Phasma, interesting, lots of depth given to character that really does nothing to deserve it and confirms that she is a total cunt, adds some depth the Hux too. From A Certain Point Of View, mixed, as with any short story collection, the highs are high and the lows are low, overall its pretty fun though.

  • Business for Punks - James Watt. The story of Brewdog by one of the founders of the scottish brewery. I found it really interesting in the same way that I find Steve Jobs really interesting. It will definitely make a lot of people cringe and dislike the guy but I enjoyed it and found it quite inspiring. It is very self congratulatory but in a knowing and unapologetic way.

  • The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve been meaning to read this for years as I’ve heard nothing but good things but knowing that it is a, a very long and dense novel and b, he’s very slow at finishing books and the third one has no release in sight both kept delaying me from reading it. It was only finding out that Lin Manuel Miranda is working on an adaption that made me finally start. It is a bit of a slog to get into as I find with a lot of new fantasy worlds you’re not already familiar with but once you do it is very satisfying. I’m really enjoying the structure of the novel being a story within a story and am looking forward to reading the rest of Kvothe’s tale.

  • Artemis - Andy Weir. The guy who wrote The Martian, I was looking forward to this one for a while, I really enjoyed his first book and I think for people who did this one won’t disappoint either. This time it is set in a small Moon base instead of a lonely Mars hab. It has all the trappings of a small town heist story and a spunky protagonist who is just trying to make a buck. As in all great heist stories though nothing goes to plan and she has to put together an Ocean’s Eleven style team of misfits to help out not just herself but the entire Luna colony. The film rights were sold before the book was even finished so look for this one to be a blockbuster hit in a couple of years. Hopefully they can cast Rosario Dawson in the lead as she killed it narrating the book.

I love that due to the nature of my job I have a lot of time to listen to audiobooks and can compliment it with reading in bed too. There is a few books I didn’t write about but would definitely recommend like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch which is a really fun dimension shifting book and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson which I just couldn’t get on with but I think thats enough for today. Come back tomorrow for another listicle, they do well on the internet right!?

#books #reading #hobbies #fiction #selfimprovement #starwars

©2017 by James Hewlett.