December 31, 2012

2012: Books 28 - 33(ish)

Spook Country
William Gibson
The second in the trilogy started by Pattern Recognition and Zero History.  I read this after Zero History and it helped fill in the characters that seemed to appear without any background or fullness in Zero History.  Enjoyable, but not quite as enthralling as Zero History.  Tempting to go back and re-read Pattern Recognition.
Anita Shreve
A typical "National Bestseller" paperback airport purchase.  Fast read.  Tugs at your heartstrings in that predictable formulaic and occasionally brain-candy satisfying way: Good guy saves girl, they fall in love, problems and children ensue, they break up, time passes, it appears that they may make it in the end.
China in Ten Words
Yu Hua
10 essays on modern China, each centered on a theme of a particular word.  Very educational and unexpectedly funny.
Distrust That Particular Flavor
William Gibson
A collection of Gibson's non-fiction essays written from the mid 90s until today.  His insights are impressively unique and often make it obvious how he arrived at some of the more famous places and ideas of his fiction works.  His open discomfort with non-fiction writing as opposed to fiction is a bit too strong and occasionally distracts from what would otherwise be a great analysis and perspective.  Even so, I very much enjoyed his snapshot in time analysis of various technical and cultural memes over the last 2 decades.
Ghost In the Wires
Kevin Mitnick
A fascinating story told from the viewpoint of the hacker himself.  Obviously addicted to hacking and psychopathic about his life choices on his family and others, he makes believable claims that he never delved into any hacking activities that brought him any financial gain.  By far, the most interesting bits described just how effective social engineering can be if you have absolutely no concern about lying.
Mile Zero (half-finished)
Thomas Sanchez
This was a promising book.  I loved the transitive narration between characters with different dialects.  But, I accidentally left it on the plane on our way back from Key West (where it is set), and I didn't love the book so much that I had to order another copy.

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