As we do every month, let’s take a look at the books I read in February 2024. Overall I “read” 9 books, 3 fiction and 6 non-fiction. I also added 3 fiction books on Audible this month for a total of 12 books. Unfortunately my current system of recording books read doesn’t have a way to cover dates for a second reading, so in my yearly statistics I’ll leave out the 3 Bobiverse books.


Bobiverse 1, 2, 3

Looking at Audible I realized that Heaven’s River, Bobiverse book 4, was out and I had a credit coming up so I listened to all three of the initial books in the Bobiverse series before I got my credit and could enjoy the 4th book in the series.

While trying to avoid spoilers, Bob is a normal guy that gets hit by a car but he had already signed on to a company that would freeze his body to store him until such time as the medical technology advanced far enough that he could be saved. Unfortunately for Bob, politics changed and a religious government came into power that didn’t think these wealthy dead people had souls and thus had no rights. That left them free to copy Bob’s brain and turn him into a space ship that should go help colonize the stars.

Well, Bob has other ideas and does become a space ship to survive, but does a whole bunch more. Androids are made that resemble the alien races the ships encounter. Clones are made of Bob, and eventually they talk about replicative drift and make suppositions about the soul of a computerized entity.

I enjoyed this series just as much as the first time and while I don’t include Heaven’s River in the books I finished in February, I did finish it yesterday and it’s excellent just like the other books in the series.

Highly recommended series if you’re into science fiction.

Changer – Matt Gemmell

I’ve enjoyed Matt’s writing on his site, and a number of his short stories so I picked up book one of his Kestrel series expecting a decent read. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The dialogue is stilted, and while I don’t expect a deep story from a thriller book like this, it was far to unbelievable to get past about 10%.

I count this book as read because I’ve read as much as I’m going to read of the series. I don’t recommend it.

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Between Starfalls – S. Kaeth

The law says that you never leave the path because if you do you won’t come back. But when your son goes missing you throw the rules out the window and you rescue your son. This story follows 4 main characters as the first chases down her son, and the others try to find both of them to help with whatever rescue is needed.

I did find the language a bit stilted at times, particularly with the Kamalti. They’re supposed to be a very formal race under the mountains, so I get what the author was trying to achieve, but it fell a bit flat sometimes.

Overall, the story was good and I’m already into another book in the world that S. Kaeth is building.

Purchase Between Starfalls on Amazon.

Quill and Still – Aaron Sofaer

Like many books out there, Quill and Still, starts with our protagonist getting magically whisked to a new world, but the similarities with other stories stops there. We don’t find out that we’re the chosen one or some long awaited hero. We don’t pick up a sword and fight our way out of anything.

We slowly are overwhelmed by a society that simply wants the best for us. No we don’t have to work if we don’t want to, and yes we still get nice housing and meals. Yes we can get a free loan to start a business, and if the business doesn’t start turning a profit to pay back the loan after a year they send someone to help with the business because they simply want happy productive citizens. If the whole thing falls apart, they sell the stuff from the business and you owe nothing after.

You still get a home and food no matter what.

The most emotional parts for me came as the main character realized that they were valued simply because they were there, without thought to the economic value they brought to the city daily. It very much made me long for a society that could treat everyone with the same dignity.

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Read Write Own – Chris Dixon

This is a tech-bro techno-utopian book that’s trying to sell us on how the “blockchain” will democratize ownership in a way that previous technology never could. Dixon has long tone-deaf rants on how tech giants has taken far too much ownership of life and then brings up blockchain tech as the solution. I say this is tone-deaf because Dixon is part of a16z, who helps fund lots of these types of tech companies as they try to become the next platform that sucks up our lives.

The book was decently written, but it was hard to buy into his main premise that we should ignore all the crypto-scams that make the news and instead dispassionately evaluate the technology of blockchains without emotional baggage from the billions stolen from people that were funnelled into crime and the already rich techno-bros.

I’ll likely do a longer review of this once I’ve gone through some of the critiques of the Read Write Own.

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DevOps with Kubernetes – Stephen Fleming

If you’re a manager with no technical background of any kind then maybe DevOps with Kubernetes is for you. The first chunk of the book is a very high-lever overview of what DevOps is, and the second part tackles Kubernetes in the same manner.

Really these should have been blog posts. At least in blog post form you could fix all the spelling mistakes easily, because there are a number of them in the book. I found the overview so high-level as to be almost entirely useless.

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Foreverism – Grafton Taylor

This is an exploration of nostalgia and how it influences society today. Tanner defines foreverism as the tendency for society to continue to look back at the past as some golden age, and then try to recapture that age today.

I was continually struck by Tanner’s insightful commentary on how we never want anything to end now. We continue to reboot the same old ideas instead of creating new properties. Media companies do this because a new property is a greater financial risk than rebooting some old series. This is part of the Theory Redux series, and a number of those other books also look interesting.

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Breaking Busy – Alli Worthington

Breaking busy is a typical productivity book that gives you some well trod advice about how to stop being busy. Compared to the other books I’ve read in this genre, the only thing that Worthington adds is a bunch of exhortations about how God doesn’t want you to be busy and that you should follow the God-given life that he wants for you.

On top of the strong Christian themes, we have themes of hustle-culture, both of which turn me off. It’s not a bad book that will harm you, it’s just a predictable book that delves into mysticism as justification for your actions. I’d recommend anything from Cal Newport as strongly superior to this book.

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Duly Noted – Jorge Arango

If you’re looking to get started on taking notes then this is a decent book. Arango covers the basics of how to take good notes, and how writing/notes don’t simply influence your thinking, they are where thinking happens. I wouldn’t say that this is a ground-breaking book in the space, but it’s a decent entry if you’ve read nothing about how to take notes.

If you’ve read a few other books, or chased down all the videos/online writing you find then little will be new here. You may pick up a tip or two, as I did, but don’t expect the book to revolutionize your thinking on notes.

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The Apple II Age – Laine Nooney

This book takes a look at how the Apple II lead the way in taking computers and making them practical for home use. Nooney walks through the software ecosystem at the time and shows how Apple place no restrictions on developers, which meant that the platform gained lots of momentum in the software space.

My biggest takeaway is that Apple does the exact opposite now, which makes me sad.

Purchase The Apple II Age on Amazon

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