Used to spend my commute reading, which obviously didn’t happen after March. I read a bit less fiction this year and hardly any re-reads.

  1. First Law: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. really well written, classic fantasy. Loved this and the direct sequel.
  2. The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. Interesting sci-fi, loved the human computer. follow ups less good and tread some sci fi tropes
  3. The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin. Second part of the trilogy
  4. Death’s End by Liu Cixin. Third party of the trilogy. The two follow-ups don’t quite live up to the first, there’s some retreading of sci-fi tropes, but are still definitely worth reading.
  5. Ra by Sam Hughes. Sci-fi around the premise that magic was discovered in the 1970s to be real and is now a respectable scientific and engineering discipline. I struggled to settle into the book at first but then really enjoyed it, perhaps until the ending/explanation. The book is littered with parallels of the history computing, right up to the dot-com boom / Silicon Valley start-up culture, which I enjoyed. One reference to the epoch was perhaps a tad heavy handed though.
  6. First Law 2: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie. Sequel to The Blade Itself, I really enjoyed this, some fantasy trope subverting.
  7. First Law 3: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. Really well written. Felt a bit depressed at some of character arcs though.
  8. Discworld: Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. Enjoyable, much better than the last death novel.
  9. Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. Solid book. Nice to think about these things, it’s a bit about bringing rigor to patterns of thought I have already. I’m sure there are many times when I don’t notice the system though.
  10. Last Kingdom: Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell. It’s more of the same really, fast paced and enjoyable though
  11. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink. Had to prepare a presentation on motivation as part of the leadership course I did. I watched a ted talk and decided to buy the book. The theories Pink espouses in this book really ring true to me.
  12. Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performance Technology Organisations by Nicole Forsgren et al. Some great ideas. Found that some of it was counter to received wisdom and some of it was completely obvious to me. That says more about me and my experiences perhaps than the books. It’s clearly based upon substantial research (which it goes on about in great detail). Ideas are all held elsewhere (and explained better in practical terms) but this is great as a convincing management book as to why these things are important. I did a brief presentation summarising it to my colleagues.
  13. The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden. Historical fiction based upon the Anabasis. Enjoyed this, it was adventurous.
  14. The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al. Is present fiction a thing? It’s about an IT ops department within a large organistion moving to a DevOps model. Worth a read for anyone making and running software. It’s a bit clunky and predictable in places, but some of this is oh so relatable. It’s a fairly quick read but on several occasions it caused me to stop and ponder similarities with situations I’ve been in. Shared whole passages of it with my colleagues saying doesn’t this remind you of when…
  15. The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim. Sidequel to the above, about development and QA it’s not quite so well written, or perhaps the concept has worn. Quick read though.
  16. The DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim et al. A bit closer to being hands-on than accelerate. It’s about principles and practices though rather than actually a hand book. It’s formatted in a very repetitive manner that perhaps diminishes it.
  17. The Last Emperorox by Jon Scalzi. Last part of the series. I didn’t see that solution coming. Really enjoyed it.
  18. Wardley Maps by Simon Wardley. About how to map and model your business and context as an aid to better strategy. I found this really insightful and exciting
  19. The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier. Loads and loads of really good insight, runs the gamut from individual engineers to CTO level, which means it’s galloped through quite quickly, perhaps this is just me being greedy and wanting more though. Glanced at my highlights months later and realised I’d passsed on some of the advice to others nearly verbatim without realising where it’s from.
  20. Writing for Software Developers by Philip Kiely. Kind of interesting in parts. Very focussed on pitching to publications etc which didn’t appeal to me. The ideation process sounds good.
  21. Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden
  22. Emperor: The Death of Kings by Conn Iggulden
  23. Emperor: The Field of Swords by Conn Iggulden
  24. Emperor: The Gods of War by Conn Iggulden
  25. Emperor: The Blood of Gods by Conn Iggulden. Five book historical fiction series on Caesar. It’s hard to go wrong with the subject matter of course but there’s a lot right with these novels. Found it interesting picturing the Rome I’ve seen with the events in the book.
  26. Clean code by Bob Martin. There’s a nice succinct list at the back, might as well read that and deep dive rather than the book cover to cover. Not sure I learned much new and disagreed with a chunk.
  27. Discworld: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. The best Rincewind book I’ve read, not that I’ve read them all. Was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it in comparison to other Discworld books.
  28. How to Win a Marginal Seat by Gavin Barwell. Interesting, not as much use of technology as I’d have hoped, stymied by lots of tory activists being too old for smartphones. Really quite readable.
  29. How to Be a Government Whip by Helen Jones. Interesting look behind the scenes. Definitely only interesting if you are a politics geek though.
  30. How to Be a Minister by Gerald Kaufman. As above, only more focused on practical advice.
  31. How to Be a Parliamentary Researcher by Robert Dale. Similar to above How to books, only even nicher.
  32. 14 Habits of Highly Productive Developers by Zeno Rocha. Some really good advice here, the habits are all solid ones. I found some of the habits I practised already but even those have good advice on how to practise more effectively
  33. The Martian by Andy Weir. I’d watched the film and it was very faithful to the book.
  34. Millenium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland. A good read about life between 750 and 1250 looking particularly at the relationships between leaders, kingdoms and religion. I found this was a period of history I had learned about only at a very surface level for a lot of continental Europe.
  35. The Body by Bill Bryson. Very much in the vein of a history of nearly everything, “random” facts, a bit of interesting history. Really enjoyed. Remembered nothing.
  36. Discworld: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. Good, funny witches novel.
  37. Discworld: Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Really good, I fell asleep watching the tv version some years ago.
  38. Discworld: Jingo by Terry Pratchett. Reread.
  39. Utterly Brilliant by Timmy Mallet. Kind of strange intertwining of an autobiography and cycling travelogue (the only one I’ve read this year!). Grew up watching Timmy Mallet on telly. There’s a lot of warmth and humour but running alongside that is the keen and touching sense of loss that Timmy Mallet feels for his brother.
  40. Discworld: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett. Didn’t really enjoy this Rincewind novel.
  41. Stormlight Archive: Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson.
  42. Stormlight Archive: The Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. I love this series, probably should have re-read some of the previous ones first though.
  43. Last Kingdom: Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell. I had wondered how long Uhtred could hobble on for but this makes for a good time to end.
  44. Leading Snowflakes by Oren Ellenbogen. It’s kind of short but has some good “lessons”.
  45. Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow. Follow-up to Little Brother and Homeland, this time from a more grey perspective. It’s still a Cory Doctorow novel though, technology, civil liberties and corruption.
  46. The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun. Interesting look at life behind the scenes at Automattic.
  47. Empire of Salt: Darien by Conn Iggulden. Fantasy rather than historical fiction. Didn’t see a lot of the twists coming.