Fiction Read in March 2024

Liberty’s Daughter – Naomi Kritzer

Liberty’s Daughter follows Beck Garrison, who was kidnapped by her father to live on a techno-libertarian seastead. We get to follow Beck as she reunites with the mother she thought was dead, and finds “stuff” for people. Beck is at the center of a quest for power over the seastead, while her father is part of the group that’s looking to build a virus so that all the little workers happily work to keep this utopia for the rich functional.

I found the story compelling, if a bit fast. I would have enjoyed just a bit more time spent on developing the world and some of the characters.

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The Sunlit Man – Brandon Sanderson

We open up following Nomad (not his given name from other books) as he is deposited on the run on a world that has such intense sunlight and a short rotation and high energy needs, that people are staked to the ground as sacrifices so that they’re souls can be harvested later as a power source. It took me a while to figure out who exactly Nomad was, and then I realised I need to read Dawnshard again to put that part of Sanderson’s world back in my head.

As with every Sanderson book I’ve read, this was a great read in the fantasy genre.

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Beneath the Gods’ Tree – S Kaeth

I read my first book by S Kaeth in February, and enjoyed it. This book steps back to a time that was referred to in the development of Taunos, a lost love and a big adventure. Here we get to see Taunos operate away from his people on his mission to keep them safe from the bigger world that really doesn’t care that they live.

If I have one criticism of this book, it’s similar to my issue with the first book I read by S Kaeth, some of the dialogue is just a bit lacking. It’s not crazy bad, but feels like it sometimes misses a beat. Despite that, I’m still looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

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Heaven’s River – Dennis E Taylor

Heaven’s River is the fourth book in the Bobiverse series. Here we follow some “Bobs” as they travel to find the lost friend that disappeared earlier in the series. The entire Bobiverse series has been excellent as it asks what counts as “life” is it just the human bodies we know now, or does it encompass the digital people that exist in this future?

How should we treat the other species that are out there? Should they be “allowed” to flourish if that mean less interstellar real estate for humans? I’ve listened to these as audiobooks thus far, but owning copies in a physical form is also on my radar.

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Non-Fiction read in March 2024

Dark PR – Grant Ennis

I “enjoyed” this book, at least as much as you can enjoy a book that lays out how corporations frame media messages designed to save their profits at the expense of road safety, citizen health, and the climate crisis. Where I’ve often used mental models to help me make sense of ideas, I will now also be adding Grant’s frames before I apply mental models to help filter out the corporate bullshit we’re inundated with now.

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Ruined by Reading – Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Ruined by Reading was not quite the book I thought it was going to be. In fact a few pages into reading it I was sure that this would be a book that I quietly put down and took to the used bookstore for credit. But the deeper I got the more thought provoking the questions were that the book had me pondering.

Is reading too much a handicap because you never leave your mind free from others thoughts?

Being loud is not a sign of strength. Strength of character is shown by those that can quietly be unmoved in the face of the loud.

Are our pleasures once sanctioned less desirable?

I recommend this book.

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Never Enough – Jennifer Breheny Wallace

Never Enough takes a critical look at the achievement culture pushed on teenagers today, specifically teenagers with parents that can afford to get them into the “best” schools or send them to many activities so that they’re College/University applications look the most appealing. Unsurprisingly this push to perform harms kids, in many ways just as much as poverty harms kids that are barely getting by.

If there is one takeaway for parents, make sure that you kids know they matter to you regardless of how well they perform in school or sports. They should matter to you just because they exist. If you have other kids in your orbit as a coach or mentor, make sure these kids know they matter without reservations.

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Everything and Less – Mark McGurl

Everything and Less is an academic look at how Amazon has shaped the way literature is written. Specifically that which academics would refer to as “literature” instead of the “genre fiction” that most of us would normally be interested in. While I enjoyed the information, I’m sure there is much more depth to be had by someone that has read all the “literature” referred to by the author.

As it stands, this is a maybe read from me. If you’re into an academic discussion on the topic, then go for it. If you’re looking more for a book that deals with the economic impact of Amazon on the publishing industry then Book Wars is where you should be looking.

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