I read a lot. I've been ramping up on the reading the past half a year and I always have at least one book being read and another queued up to start right after I finish the last one.
Reading is not just entertainment or a means of escaping the every day world. Really good books have challenged the way I perceive the world, how I define morality, and sometimes even force me to think more about my own mortality.
Science fiction is my favorite genre because it explores how technology touches everything in our lives from social interactions to economics. I'm fascinated when an author describes the details of how interplanetary travel affects a character's day to day living, or how a the presence of a certain technology becomes the foundation for political forces.
Here are some recent reads that I thoroughly enjoyed:
- Hyperion, by Dan Simmons - Absolutely incredible storytelling. Despite being published before I was born, this book does not feel out of date at all. Very detailed and thoughtful explorations on how technological evolution impacts all aspects of human civilization from the military to politics, daily life, mass population shifts, and interactions with computers and AI.
- Embassytown, by China Mieville - This was a challenging one. It was the first book I've read in a long time where I had to pull up a dictionary probably every other page. Mieville uses some very esoteric vocabulary to describe an alien landscape and ecosystem that is miles away from the rest of mainstream science fiction. "Innovative" is the best way to describe the world building that happens here. Very different... it is an elaborate examination of how language and power are intertwined.
- Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell - The book is 100x better than the movie! Out of the multiple storylines, my favorite is that of Sonmi's. It is a cautionary tale about consumerism and how that might look if humanity keeps on heading down the road it is today.