Reading

Here is a small collection summarizing some of the books and genres that I have read, with lists of some of my favorites for each genre. These lists are in no way exhaustive and leave out plenty of material that I have read and enjoyed over the years.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Five of my favorite books (in no particular order) I have read in the fantasy and sci-fi are as follows:

  1. Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
  2. My knowledge of the English language is not strong enough to praise this series properly. Luckily, my vocabulary has grown immensely by reading through these books. Malazan is an incredibly confusing, convulated and expansive epic that spans millenia and checks all the boxes in a fantasy series. Today, A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones as shown on HBO) is constantly heralded as a gut-punching series that is not afraid to kill off its characters. Malazan takes that to a-whole-nother level. It is hard to make it through any of the ten novels without feeling the need to punch a whole in the wall at some point. Word to the wise, do not grow attached to any one character.

  3. The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
  4. Isaac Asimov is one of the greats in science fiction. The Foundation Series is a unique story that spans generations, following the downfall and rise of civilization in the future. In particular, it is the idea of psychohistory and the work of Hari Seldon that is what is truly engrossing about the books.

  5. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
  6. A magnificent series that turns the traditional fantasy tropes on their head. It is clear from book one that this is not your typical fantasy series. Mr. Martin paints an ugly truth about a medieval society where good does not always win and where honesty and morals are more of a hindrance than a help. It has the usual kings, queens, magic, dragons and such, but it is the scheming politics and devestation of war that makes these books truly worth reading. Few series have as much character development and devolvement as these offer.

  7. The Tower of Babel by Josiah Bancroft
  8. A fun and exciting read by a self-published author. The Tower of Babel is a story following one man's seemingly hopeless search for his lost wife in the confusing and decieving world of the Tower of Babel. The interesting story structure and setting makes these books a fun read with hidden meanings and metaphors aplenty.

  9. Dune by Frank Herbert
  10. Quite possibly the single greatest science fiction book of all time. Seriously, it is that good. A book that has inspired science fiction and fantasy authors for generations, Dune is an author's masterpiece. A near-perfect blend of politics, loss, war, struggle and mystery, Dune sucks readers into the desert world of Arrakis. It is too bad that none of its video adaptations have lived up to the lofty standard set by Frank Herbert.

Here are some other books that I have read in the genre and greatly enjoyed:

  • Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Classics

Five of my favorite books (in no particular order) I have read in the Classics genre are as follows:

  1. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  2. Tale of Two Cities just might be my favorite book of all time. At a minimum, it has my favorite beginning and ending lines in literature. Dickens was a master of his craft, and Tale of Two Cities is his mastercraft. Set in the time of the French Revolution, Tale of Two Cities follows one "family" and their experiences in Paris and London.

  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  4. Wuthering Heights is a book with no protaganists, just antagonists. Seriously, every character in this book is either petty, spiteful or cruel. I rooted against each and every character and in the end I greatly enjoyed the story. It is a story of love, but one that is quite twisted.

  5. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  6. Another Dickens! Honestly, I could make this whole list Dickens, he is just that good of an author. My only thought when finishing this book was, please sir, can I have s'more. A tragic and triumphant story about an orphaned boy's difficult upbringing and life, set in England.

  7. 1984 by George Orwell
  8. The book 1984 is often quoted in politics it seems. An even more poignant reference in the modern age of technology, as now everything can be watched, recorded and saved. Internet traffic, CCTV, even laptop cameras. A sobering reminder of where extreme surveillance and thought control can lead. The concept of double speak is also prominent in today's society.

  9. I Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves
  10. I absolutely loved these books. Robert Graves paints the picture of the stumbling, bumbling, stuttering "fool" that is Claudius Augustus. Although not necessarily perfectly historically accurate, these two books paint the picture of Rome after Julius Caeser's death. It was a lot of fun to learn more about the original Caeser dynasty in Rome and its many failings. "A radish may know no Greek but I do," says Caeser Augustus. I really hope that was a real quote, but either way it was hysterical to read. These books were especially great as I read them shortly before my trip to Italy and Rome.

Some other books that I have read in the genre and greatly enjoyed are shown below:

  • The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James F. Cooper
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Ramayana by Valmiki

Educational

Five of my favorite books (in no particular order) I have read to further my studies outside of shcool are as follows:

  1. Accelerated C++ by Andrew Koenig
  2. A quick and easy breakdown of C++ that helped me get started on the many projects I have worked. A great read for those who already have a strong understanding of programming concepts.

  3. Algorthmic Trading by E.P. Chan
  4. E.P. Chan does a great job in his two book series of breaking down quantitative trading. He discusses the pros, cons and the many methods used by him and others in the market. It will not tell you how to become a millionaire overnight, but it will teach important concepts and techniques to get you started on the path to becoming an algorthmic trader.

  5. Data Structures and Algorithms in Python by Michael T. Goodrich
  6. Linked lists, queues, deques, stacks, trees oh my! A great breakdown of the many data structures used in programming and how they can be applied in Python.

  7. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  8. Just a brief history of the evolution of humans. A great read that offers interesting insights into the path of humanity through history.

  9. Introduction to Linux: A Beginners Guide by Machtelt Garrels
  10. The book I originally read to switch from a Windows desktop at home to a Linux one. It teaches all the basics and helps you set up your Linux distribution for home use (and may I recommend Arch/Manjaro).

Some other books that I have read in the genre and greatly enjoyed are shown below:

  • Think Python by Allen B. Downey
  • Think Stats by Allen B. Downey
  • Quantitative Trading by E.P. Chan

Miscellaneous

Five of my favorite books (in no particular order) I have read that do not fit into any clear genre listed are as follows:

  1. South by Ernest Shackleton
  2. South is a harrowing story of survival and perseverance as Ernest Shackleton and his crew are stranded in Antarctica after their boat is crushed by pack ice. This is one of the greatest stories of survival as Shackleton and his crew fight through terrible luck to rescue themselves from what appeared to be certain doom.

  3. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  4. I read The Sympathizer while traveling through Asia on a recommendation from a friend. Let me be your friend and recommend you this book. Possibly in my top five books of all time, this book covers the story of a communist double agent vietnamese soldier hidden among the refugees of the Southern Vietnamese army. It is a interesting look into the societal struggles being raised mixed race in both Vietnam and after coming to America. A truly heart-wrenching story, with many hard experiences and even harder choices to make along the way. It is definitely not a feel good story, but you will feel good that you read it.

  5. Surely You Must be Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynamn
  6. As a physics major, I was really able to relate to this book. Not to his level of genius or abilities, but to some of the personality quarks, life experiences and frustrations. An easy read regarding the life of one of the brightest minds of the 20th century and probably the greatest American physicist in history.

  7. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  8. A sorrowful and horrifying story mixed within an interesting tale of the Chicago's World Fair of 1892. There is a lot of random trivia in this book (like who invented the Ferris Wheel), but what is really intriguing is the story of H.H. Holmes, the so-called first serial killer in America. Not a book for the faint of heart, it covers Mr. Holmes brutal and clinical murder of dozens of people in his "Murder Castle".

  9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  10. A story set in WWII Europe following the tales of a bright young boy in Nazi Germany and a sweet young blind girl in France. A truly tragic tale of the suffering dealt to the lives of the commonfolk by the aggression and cruelty of war and the Nazis.

Some other books that I have read in the genre and greatly enjoyed are shown below:

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer