2014 in Books: Literature

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I love reading! You get to travel to faraway places, live adventures in wondrous worlds of magic, save the day, make amazing friends and watch them grow, learn, there’s few things that ignite slow, deep, reflective thinking as books do, borrow from the greates minds of all times, or from people that have invested years of experience and research to bring you that knowledge condensed in a few pages.Yeah… all that…and it’s fun :)

Anyway, here are some of the great (and not so great) books I read this year:

Fantasy

By far this is the genre of literature I dig the most, travel to foreign lands and universes, marvel at the creativity of the authors creating worlds from nothingness, follow the struggle of the hero and her companions as She saves the world…

Locke Lamora

The Lies Of Locke Lamora

The Locke Lamora series was my biggest surprise of the year. It was recommended by a fellow programmer and it was absolutely and unbelievable awesome (thanks Charlotta!).

What makes it so special? Aside from the main characters which are amazingly charming (Locke Lamora, Jean Tannen and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastards), and the pintoresque world of thieves, thugs, smugglers and con artists that it portrays, the greatest thing about these series of books is that you never know what the heck is going to happen next, any time you think that you know the book will surprise you. And that my friend is sooo rare and refreshing in today’s entertainment where the same plots are repeated over and over and you can see what’s going to happen and how everything’s going to end as clear as day.

There are, to this point in time, three books in the series:

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora where The Gentlemen Bastards are introduced in the native Camorr.
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies where the Gentlemen Bastards meet Pirates! Double the awesome since I am a huge fan of Patrick O’brian.
  • The Republic of Thieves where the Gentlemen Bastards travel to the ancient city of Karth to do the bidding of the powerful order of bondsmagi.

Go read them whenever you have some free time. You will not be dissapointed.

And Scott Lynch! Well played! Epic job!

Words of Radiance (The Way of Kings and other Brandon Sanderson Books)

Words of Radiance

When I read the last books of The Wheel of Time I instantly became a fan of Brandon Sanderson and I think I have read most of what he has written (which is harder than it sounds since he produces books at the speed of light :) ). This year it was time for the awesome continuation to The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive) with Words of Radiance.

The book transports us to the fantastic world of Roshar, a world eternally battered by storms where all natural life has adapted to those conditions and even the grass can hide underground to avoid the Highstorms. The book continues developing the main characters Kaladin Stormblessed and Shallan Davar, bringing us in and teaching much more about its Lore, its magic and the Knights Radiant. Pretty awesome all-round.

And I also read another shorter Brandon Sanderson’s books:

  • Steelheart. What would happen if from one day to the next, people started having superpowers? That’s the premise of this book, and it is not beautiful. I didn’t like it so much at first but it won me out towards the middle and to the end.
  • Infinity Blade. Yes XD he wrote a short book as a companion for the game. It’s not… too… bad.

Half a King

Half a King

Logen Ninefingers remains one of my favorite fantasy characters ever, if not the favorite, so, Of course!! I was going to read the new Joe Abercombrie series (Shattered Seas) that starts with Half A King.

Amazing book. It follows the Abercrombie style of reality, rawness, evil and anti-heroes, with a nordic flavor, a frenetic pace and a ton of surprises. Must Read.

The Legend of Drizzt

There are some classics from Fantasy that I feel like I have totally missed and I have thought about reading for some time. One of them were the Legend of Drizzt books, that revolve around the mythical fantasy cult figure of Drizzt Do’Urden, the drow ranger.

I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed with The Crystal Shard, but I got over it, and I enjoyed thoroughly the rest of the books that I read. These are, by far, the most classic fantasy I have read for a long time, like wildly fantastic fantasy, far removed from the sober fantasy from Joe Abercrombie or George R.R. Martin.

Sci-Fi

And Sci-Fi would be my close second choice of literature genre, perhaps predictable for a programmer, fantasy and sci-fi?

There’s a place where Fantasy hasn’t been able to reach, and that’s the vastness of space, the feeling evoqued by the comparison of the teeny tiny human being to that endless, unexplored, infinite blackness and the fear to the unknown and what lies beyond. That and the other thing that makes science fiction super interesting which is the fact that… it could happen. Those are the things that make fantasy+sci-fi such a good complementary literary bundle.

RailSea

Railsea

I do not know how to categorize Steam-Punk, if it is sci-fi or fantasy or a blend of both. This book is as steam-punk as it gets, super very interesting since I haven’t delved a lot in this genre. Imagine a Victorian Europe and Moby Dick, but there is no Europe, there is no sea, there is just railways, like an infinite number of railways and endless earth, and there is no water, so no whales, so Moby Dick is actually a mole of huge proportions called Mocker-Jack.

Try to imagine that. That’s the world of RailSea :)

Off to Be a Wizard (Magic 2.0 series)

Off to be a wizard

This book was made for programmers:

Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.

What could possibly go wrong?

An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin…and not, y’know, die or anything.

Hilarious, with tons of pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming references, I think that you will love it.

Other Sci-Fi Books

  • Enders Game: It was great to read this classic and see the movie at the same time.
  • Daemon: Where Sci-fi meets thriller:

When a designer of computer games dies, he leaves behind a program that unravels the Internet’s interconnected world. It corrupts, kills, and runs independent of human control.

It’s up to Detective Peter Sebeck to wrest the world from the malevolent virtual enemy before its ultimate purpose is realized: to dismantle society and bring about a new world order.

Other Books

  • Neverwhere. Beautiful short novel by Neil Gaiman, every time that I see a homeless person, a vagabond, a beggar I think about this book and the people that gets trapped in the cracks of society.
  • The Stand, as much as I love Stephen King, and his artful ways to make you feel pure fear and horror, this particular book was a tough one, a lot of times I just wanted to get over with it.
  • Cirkeln, my first book in Swedish! Teenage mutant ninja witches!!

And that’s all my friend. Did you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them as much as I did? Anyhow, I will soon get back to you with some of the programming, business, marketing and self-improvement books I read this year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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