The best decision I made in 2016: reading

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As the end of 2016 closes in I've been reflecting on the past year. My career -and life- trajectory has taken some odd turns. But I'm glad I decided to read more (mostly non-fiction). The past few years I barely averaged 2-3 books, despite being an avid reader when I was younger. In 2016 I finished 36 books and I'm partway through another 14(ADHD). I'm setting a new goal of reading 52 books in 2017. I don't think that's particularly impressive, or something everyone should strive towards but I do think reading more is worthwhile. Of course the types of books you choose to read make a difference.

It's had a tremendous effect on my outlook on my career goals and life in general. I would strongly encourage everyone to set aside the time to read more. Audible is also a great way of consuming more books.

Here are some of my favorite books that I read this year— and please feel free to share yours:

I hope this doesn't come across as bloggy or pointless, just trying to motivate you fellows to read more.


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  • Kyetja
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    Kyetja polygon
    Reading is something that is probably not for everyone on here, for me it is though.
    I enjoyed reading a load of books too since a young age, it's just so hella pricey! Shoe Dog is indeed a great book by the way.

    Last year I really enjoyed the following the most:
    The Filmmaker’s Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition by Gustavo Mercado, well written and full of theory but also practical examples on cinematography 
    Architectural Styles by Owen Hopkins, more of a "coffee table" book, but immensely fun to scroll trough, lots of great samples for modelling too
    Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, just a sublime fantasy book

  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    I think reading is something that is definitely for everyone - Like games, I believe that everyone can find a book they will enjoy. I don't care if you read one book a year or 20, or if you never finish a book you start, but I think reading can be brilliantly inspiring and mind opening. 

    I go through phases of reading 5 books at once then not reading for 5 months. But my two recommendations for Fiction from this year (and past years):

    China Mieville. So so creative and wonderful. It's kind of like fantasy but with every trope and existing fantasy elements missing because he's created something wierder. FZD cites him as a reference for designing unique concepts alot.

    Brandon Sanderson. I recommended these books to Lee/Gir and he read every one of them in like 3 months, and then I went and did the same thing lol. If you like world building and magic systems this guy has created an actual universe worth detailed magical systems and worlds that respect each other and share history. Really addictive.
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 3
    My top three books that I read this year were Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Barkskins by Annie Proulx, and REAMDE by Neal Stephenson. All of them are fantastically well-written, interesting reads in completely different ways.
  • gfelton
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    gfelton polycounter lvl 3
    I've always wanted to get into reading more but I find setting aside time to actually do it is a decently challenging task. I've considered purchasing audiobooks and playing them while I work, has anyone here tried that? I'm not entirely sure I would retain all of the information and I'm worried I may get distracted by doing so heh.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm greentooth
    I Must have read about 20 - 25 books this year, mostly novels though. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence was indeed a fun read. Finished Pierce Brown's "Red Rising Trilogy" - tip: read it before they turn it into a series or a movie. It's a real tour de force in writing. Probably some of the best sci-fi I've read in years. The themes are familiar, but if feels fresh and powerful and fast paced.
    Ian Kershaw's the End was also quite gripping, for a history book. Beats watching Bruno Ganz eating spaghetti in his bunker.
    I also picked up Mythology 101 somewhere on an airport. It's a really entertaining overview of all the Greek and Roman gods, heroes, their myths and their sources. It's definitely not dry and not too much to read. Recommended if you slept in history, or if you found the "Greek gods soap" too confusing in the past.
    Unfortunately not much else left a big impression. I plan to read more non-fiction in 2017. I got a couple of books on project management on the shelves which I wanted to read for quite a while.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 12
    I usually read right before bed, and tend to forget anything that doesn't have an ongoing narrative, so I'm all about the fiction.

    Of the pile of books of varying quality I've read in the last little while, I'd suggest Paolo Bacigalupi is doing the most interesting stuff. He writes near future sci fi, with worlds heavily affected by environmental destruction, poverty and war.

    Of those he's written, I'd most recommend: The Windup Girl - a story set in Bangkok segregated by the riding sea levels, revolving around the corporatisation of genetically engineered food once the planet has gotten too damaged for regular plant life to grow. Also has a sizeable dollop of Blade Runner in the mix.

    The Water Knife - Near future low sci-fi about fighting over water rights in drought stricken USA. 
  • Joost
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    Joost Polycount Sponsor

    fearian said:
    I think reading is something that is definitely for everyone - Like games, I believe that everyone can find a book they will enjoy. I don't care if you read one book a year or 20, or if you never finish a book you start, but I think reading can be brilliantly inspiring and mind opening.
     

    I wholeheartedly agree :smiley:
    gfelton said:
    I've always wanted to get into reading more but I find setting aside time to actually do it is a decently challenging task. I've considered purchasing audiobooks and playing them while I work, has anyone here tried that? I'm not entirely sure I would retain all of the information and I'm worried I may get distracted by doing so heh.
    I've tried it but personally I'm terrible at focusing on 2 things at the same time. It's especially difficult with non-fiction. I like listening to audiobooks when I do menial tasks, like commuting, going to the supermarket or doing the dishes. Or on the rare occasion that I go cycling.  And sometimes I'll listen to them before bed, on a timer (not great for retention though). Just keep in mind that every little bit adds up. 10 minutes a day is roughly 10 books a year. Or 20 if you listen at 2x speed!
  • mats effect
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    mats effect Polycount Sponsor
    Trying to get better at reading, have Tools of Titans on my kindle at the moment and enjoying it. I do listen to a ton of audio books though, get though about two books a month that way, all Fantasy and Sci-Fi stuff for the most part.
  • Grimwolf
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    Grimwolf polycounter lvl 3
    I've been thinking strongly about picking up Audible so I can listen to books while I work. I probably won't retain a lot of it, but the alternative would be not reading at all.  :*
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