What do the books Infinite, Interference, Bandwidth, and Constance have in common?
Give up? It’s not obvious.
They’re all books that I discovered through Amazon’s First Reads program. If you’re an Amazon Prime member and like to read, I highly recommend this program. It’s a great way to find new authors and build out your reading list, which is why I like it so much. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve discovered my share of great books (and authors) through it.
Oh, and the other thing these books have in common is that they’re all science fiction books based on hard science fiction. In the case of Constance by Matthew Fitzsimmons, the plot of the story is built around cloning, specifically mind uploading and replication into another human body.
There are books on my reading list that have languished there for years. I’ve been trying to do a better job prioritizing these older books over the latest, shiny new object. However, there are times when a book looks to good to bury on my list. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but I add those books and put them at or near the top of the list. Usually, the book is either highly recommended by friends, by an author I like, or getting really good reviews.
Such was the case with Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I kept seeing the book near the top of the charts on Goodreads, and it was continually appearing in my Amazon recommendations. Plus, it was a little outside the types of books I normally read, and I figured it would be worth stretching my boundaries a bit.
If an extra-terrestrial being were to arrive on our planet, what would they think of humans? What would be their reaction to what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, the music we listen to, the concept of love, and how we interact with our pets? Would they embrace the way we live, or would they be repulsed by it.
It’s an interesting thought experiment, and one that author Matt Haig explores in his book The Humans: A Novel.
A few years back (9 to be exact), I read The Circle by Dave Eggers. In that book, Eggers painted a future where a dominant technology company encourages users to embrace total transparency. People aren’t forced to give up their privacy, they willingly do so for greater good. When I read the book, it reminded so much of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where people willingly submit to government surveillance.
Last year, when I saw that Eggers wrote a follow-up to The Circle, I knew I would have to read it. I was curious to see where Eggers would take things in The Every.
As much as I joke about Amazon being my arch-nemesis, they offer good services for book readers. One of the services I follow is their First Reads program. The program provides early access to new books. Since I enjoy discovering new authors, the First Reads program provides one such avenue.
What’s the biggest bonus of the program? If you’re a Prime member, you can select at least one and sometimes two books off each month’s list for free. It’s how I discovered the book Interference by Brad Parks, which I doubt I would have otherwise stumbled upon.
Humans have an infatuation with time travel. How do I know? I’ve read my fair share of time travel stories, and I’m sure that I’ve just scratched the surface.
When I started The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, I didn’t realize I was going to be reading yet another book around time travel. Fortunately, this version of the time travel story had an interesting twist to it.
When I think of great storytellers, Hugh Howey and Blake Crouch are two authors that would be at the top of my list. They have a way of writing a story that draws you in immediately, keeps your attention, and captivates your imagination.
Another one of my favorite authors who I would put right up there with them is A.G. Riddle. I’ve been a fan of his starting with the The Atlantis Gene, which is the first book in The Origin Mystery trilogy.
I usually make it a point to have an A.G. Riddle novel on my reading list every year or two. The Extinction Trials was the book I chose to put on this year’s reading list.
For my latest foray into the short story genre, I decided on the Nameless series by Dean Koontz. I found about it through an Amazon email when Season 2 was released, but I figured that I would start with Season 1 to see if I liked the story arc.
It was also a good chance to gain exposure to Koontz’ writing. He’s a prolific author who has written dozens of books. Instead of starting out with one of his long form novels, I figured a few of his short stories would give me a good feel for his other books.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve read a few books where the main plot has been related to quantum physics, especially traveling across space and time. Some of the books include Dark Matter, Recursion, and Pennsylvania. There have been others where traveling across space and time supported the story but wasn’t the main attraction. You’d think I would tire of this theme, but I’m finding there’s always room for one more on my reading list.
I knew going in that The Fold by Peter Clines would involve bending space and time as the main attraction. I was interested in Clines take on the topics and the story he built around the concept.
Are you living the life you want? If you could make different choices in your life, would you? If you could see how your choices turned out, would you want to experience your ‘alternate’ life to see if it was everything you thought it would be?
That’s the premise of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Here’s the summary as written on his website:
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?