Some of what I’ve read over the past quarter, and want to recommend each of the books below as worthy of your time.
- The Internet of Risky Things, Sean Smith. This was a surprisingly good short read. What I gained was an organized way of thinking and a nice reference for thinking through the issues of IOT. Also, the lovely phrase “cyber Love Canal.”
- American Spies, Jennifer Stisa Granick. Again, surprisingly good, laying out with the logical force that really good lawyers bring, explaining both sides of an issue and then explaining the frame in which you should understand it.
- Saving Bletchley Park, Sue Black. (Title links to publisher, who sells ebook & print, or you can go to Amazon, who only sells the hardback.) The really interesting story of the activism campaign to save Bletchley Park, which was falling apart 20 years ago. Dr. Black is explicit that she wrote the book to carry the feel of an internet campaign, with some stylistic bits that I found surprising. I was expecting a drier style. Don’t make my mistake, and do read the book. Also, visit Bletchley Park: it’s a great museum.
Nonfiction, not security
- Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do, Matthew Syed. Mr. Syed is a journalist, and has written a fantastic and highly readable account of how talking about mistakes helps prevent future problems.
- We have No Idea, Jorge Cham, Daniel Whiteson take on what modern physics doesn’t know about the world. Great education with enough fun to entertain, not distract. Except maybe the gravity puns. Those could have been spaced out more, so as to not crush the intervening ideas. Because I’ve updated my models of the universe while reading We Have No Idea, this news was easier to understand “Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found.”
- N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Series. Outstanding writing, interesting worldbuilding, and the first two books have both won Hugos. First book is “The Fifth Season.” Bump it up in your queue.
- The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. I’m not (yet) familiar with Galland’s work, much of which seems to be historical fiction. This fairly breezy and fun time travel read, much less dense than most of Stephenson’s recent books.