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What's the Best Book You Read This Year? 338

The year is almost over. It's time we asked you about the books you read over the past few months. Which ones -- new or old -- were your favourite? Please share just one title name in the comments section (and if you would like, rest in parenthesis). Also, which books are you looking forward to reading in the coming weeks?
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What's the Best Book You Read This Year?

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  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:06PM (#53555943)
  • by chthon ( 580889 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:08PM (#53555949) Homepage Journal
    I only read good books, but Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" impressed me this year. Are there any good books left after the death of Terry Pratchett and Jack Vance? Luckily that Gaiman is still alive.
  • train-of-thought, but a good book

  • Life-changing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrntSpawn ( 217803 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:13PM (#53555981)

    Daring Greatly - Brene Brown

    Not just the best book I read this year, but one of the best I have read in my life.

  • Cuckoo's Egg. Cliff Stoll. It's excellent. Here's a link to the book on Amazon [amazon.co.uk]. If you're a sysadmin you should read this. It's set in the era of mainframe unix and you'll know why the editor wars exist after reading. You'll also gain an idea of just how hard it is tracking someone when they have weaved their way through different links to get onto your system. Although factual, Cliff Stoll does a good job of telling the story with some good humour.

  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:22PM (#53556019)

    "The Brilliant Disaster" by Jim Rasenberger is a fascinating account of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

  • The Dark Forest (Score:4, Informative)

    by enigma32 ( 128601 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:27PM (#53556037)

    The Dark Forest.
    I love the Cixin Liu books... refreshing sci-fi.

    • The Dark Forest.
      I love the Cixin Liu books... refreshing sci-fi.

      Second this. The translation can be a little clunky, but it's old-school hard sci-fi with a Chinese viewpoint. (For example, the importance of political officers in the military is taken as a given, but all of the characters think it's sort of weird that the Americans have chaplains instead.)

    • by gbnewby ( 74175 ) *

      +1. It's the best of the best, published in 2016.. third in a trilogy, so you need to read the other two first. They are also fantastic, but the third turned out to be my favorite. Should be strong candidates for the annual science fiction awards.

      • +1. It's the best of the best, published in 2016.. third in a trilogy, so you need to read the other two first. They are also fantastic, but the third turned out to be my favorite. Should be strong candidates for the annual science fiction awards.

        Dark Forest is second in the trilogy [wikipedia.org]. The third is Death's End [wikipedia.org].

        • by gbnewby ( 74175 ) *

          You are right, PvtVoid! Ok, well: Death's End is "the best of the best..." what I wrote above. All three books are fantastic, and surprisingly different from one another - even though they are related, and have several characters that persist throughout. Just read them all - they are science fiction at its best.

  • Theory of Moral Sentiments
  • IPv6 books (Score:2, Funny)

    by unixisc ( 2429386 )

    1. IPv6 Essentials

    2. Planning for IPv6

    3. IPv6 for Beginners

    4. Real World IPv6

    5. DNS and BIND on IPv6

    6. IPv6 Address Planning

  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World changed my view of Mongolia......Genghis Khan was actually kind of a good leader (which makes sense, since people were willing to follow him), and the book kind of changed how I saw history. That is, it helped me understand the broad trends and why things happened, all across the world, in the first half of the last millennium. Things aren't isolated, and the Mongols were the catalyst for communication throughout the world (including spreading plague, probably).
    • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @04:33PM (#53556901)

      Actually, he was a good leader. Problem is that much of the history about him has been transmitted by the Muslims, who in his day, were some of his biggest enemies. Incidentally, the Mongols, unlike the Muslims, were tolerant of religious minorities everywhere they went. Which explains that while much of west and central Asia was Islamized, all those places were not permanently converted to Tengrism (the native religion of the Mongols) despite the Mongols conquering and ransacking cities like Samarqand, Qonyeurgench, Herat, Baghdad, Aleppo, et al. While the Mongols did massacre cities, they did it to people who resisted them, but did not try stamping out their culture/religion. Which explains how 3 Mongol dynasties - the Chagtai, Ilkhanate and Golden Horde (unfortunately) became Islamized some 100 years later.

      One of the great achievements of the Mongols was stamping out the Assassin cult in Iran, which terrorized people. Also, when they started, they sent envoys to Khwarezm, and the sultan of that sultanate executed the envoy and sent his head back to Genghiz Khan on a platter. This happened 2 or 3 times, following which Genghiz Khan spent a year preparing for war and then started his invasion of Khwarezm which culminated in the ransacking of the above cities and expanding the Mongol empire into Khwarezm and the Abbasid Caliphate

    • Conn Iggulden's series dramatising his life is very enjoyable. There are some quite large historical inaccuracies and, for the sake of narrative, he condenses a lot of things that happen years apart, but the broad strokes are pretty accurate.
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:55PM (#53556187) Homepage

    Had this waiting to be read since i saw "The Pacific". Terrific book on what it was like to be a Pacific island hopping Marine rifleman in WWII.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      If you haven't yet read Leckie's book as well. Obviously the battles he was involved in are a lot more detailed than the rest of his book but it gives a really good bird's eye view of much of the Pacific Theater.
  • Silo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sandoval88419 ( 765880 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @01:58PM (#53556203)

    Hugh Howey's Silo post-apocalyptic series is really worth reading. I read the first part, Wool, in a few days : it's about people living in a one hundred forty-four stories silo buried in the ground and the reason why they survive like that. Very good.

    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      Absolutely, an amazing series.

      Between Hugh Howey and Cixin Liu, I've read some really good sci-fi this year, and that hasn't happened in a while.

    • Overrated trash with a go nowhere plot. But that's just my opinion.

  • I went from dicking around with Event Sockets for about a week to getting an ESL perl script going in a day. Now I'm refactoring it by referring to other ideas elsewhere in the same book. Money well spent.

  • I forget to mention your next year query. I will be rereading the entire Known Space series and related. It should let the pressure out of my brain. I shall start with Ringworld and Luis Wu with his motley crew.
  • Please share just one title name in the comments section (and if you would like, rest in parenthesis).

    You must be new here. Attempting to tell people how you want them to post won't work on Slashdot. At all.

    Best book I read this year was an old one, "Dangerous Visions", edited by Harlan Ellison. And Knuth's TAoCP, Volume 4 Fascicle 6, was also the best one. So was Hitchen's "god is not Great".
    None of the books that came out in 2016 that I read were even good enough to reach a top-500. Most new books these days are utter crap, with a quality akin to paint-by-numbers.

  • by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @02:10PM (#53556253)

    This year's books:
    1. Werner Munter 3x3 Lawinen (in German). A book on estimating the probability of an avalanche and how to reduce the avalanche risk while skiing)
    2. Yanis Varoufakis, And the weak suffer what they must? (in English). A book on the recent/ongoing European economic crisis. Very eye-opening. It strengthened my pessimism on the topic, although the book itself ends in a rather optimistic tone. It confirmed my suspicion that the former greek finance minister was more of an academic and less of a competent politician.
    3. Charles Bukowski, Post office. Finished it in a day. There are very few books that can be read so easily and be so multy faceted and insightful at the same time.

    I would be inclined to vote for Post Office, but the book on avalanches is already proving itself quite useful...

  • The Stoics (Score:4, Informative)

    by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @02:15PM (#53556287)

    Definitely The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Enchiridion by Epictetus, and various writings by Seneca the Younger. Anybody in the quest for philosophical insight would be well served by giving the Stoics a shot. Kind of a western analytical version of Zen Buddhism.

  • Becky Chambers "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" and it's sequel, "Closed & Common Orbit" come to mind. They're sci-fi with good plot and intrigue, but without being overly dark and heavy, as is the case with so much sci-fi and fantasy of late...

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @02:50PM (#53556465) Journal

    I'll tell you what, somebody left this book at my house back in April and I threw it in my pack on a road trip from Connecticut to Houston, Texas. Bored with motel TV, I started reading it sitting next to an empty pool not far from Gettysburg, PA and continued a bit every night. I had some Bo Crowder-looking dude give me the fisheye in a Waffle House in Tennessee when he saw what I was reading, and a Civil War buff in Virginia sat down and talked to me for like an hour in a diner since he had read the book and loved it.

    I'm not usually a Civil War history guy, and political biographies have never been my thing, but this dude... I highly recommend this book. I bet your local library has like a dozen copies, so you'll be able to read it for free right now.

    https://www.amazon.com/America... [amazon.com]

  • When Amazon had the ebook version of "Battlefield: Earth" by L. Ron Hubbard for a buck, I finally bought a copy to see if the book was as bad as the movie. Surprisingly, the book was very good. I'm now halfway through the "Mission Earth" decalogy (ten volume) series.
    • WTF?

      The movie was an improvement. _Incredibly_ bad book.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      I absolutely agree about "Battlefield Earth". A lot of people are turned off by the L. Ron Hubbard aspect. Most of the rest are turned off by the page count. I would really like to see another movie attempt. "One" of the places they went wrong with the first try was attempting to cram it into a single film. It at the very least needs to be a trilogy.
  • by thestuckmud ( 955767 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @03:00PM (#53556503)

    By E. O. Wilson, the myrmecologist/evolutionary biologist, explaining the evolutionary origins of humanity and the inherent conflict between self-promoting and group-benefiting pressures that make us what we are. Fascinating reading filled with tidbits about the variety of life on Earth, finishing with a rebuttal of scientific dogma that demonstrates the vibrant process of science. This book changed my view of the world.

    The chapters in The Meaning of Human Existence are collected from earlier writings, giving the book a choppy feel. A longer, more detailed, less anthropocentric, but (at least to me) equally fascinating treatment of the material by the same author is The Social Conquest of Earth.

  • The Grapes of Wrath, i seen the movie a few times and i knew the movie is based on a book so i decided to read the book, and the book is better and there are some differences, and the book is a lot more tragic than the movie, it is a great book i recommend it
  • Cuckservatives: How "Conservatives" Betrayed America [goodreads.com]

    Love it or hate it, the alt-right is growing in influence and most of us would be wise to learn more about what they think and what they want.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @04:31PM (#53556893)
    Reading the Face of Battle by John Keegan. A study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme. Only on the intro right now, but any book that spends the first 100 pages solely on the historiography of battlefield accounts has to be good.
  • By George McDonald Fraser. Nothing better. I reread them every few years, just to refresh my Victorian era history :-)

    • I've managed to pick up about half of them second hand - definitely recommended. Entertaining stories and one of the best historical fiction authors for putting the real history in the books (albeit with endnotes, which are a horrible invention). I'm a bit surprised that no one has turned them into a TV series.
  • They never learn (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @04:49PM (#53556981)
    The Mythical Man Month. Most people follow the antithesis of this book.
  • 11/22/63 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @04:49PM (#53556985)

    Light read, yes, but a surprisingly engaging novel.

  • Leatherman's Handbook II - Larry Townsend
    ISBN-13: 978-1881684206
    http://amzn.to/2i8uVZP [amzn.to]

    Next up is:

    The Complete leatherboy Handbook - Vincent L. Andrews
    ISBN-13: 978-0985900410
    http://amzn.to/2i0qbY1 [amzn.to]

  • Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan.
    Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

  • Although the SevenEves was a disappointment, REAMDE was not bad, and Anathem [wikipedia.org] was outright amazing...

    • by Thagg ( 9904 )

      SevenEves would have been better if it was half as long. Stephenson is a great writer, though, and I understand if he can't help himself on that!

      I agree than Anathem was incredibly good. A long book that you should really read twice to get everything.

      • SevenEves would have been better if it was half as long.

        This is what happens when an author gets too famous or popular and no longer listens to his editor, and the publisher can't threaten him.

    • Ugh...Anathem is garbage. I honestly don't understand how anyone could like it, and I've read most of his works.

  • by execthis ( 537150 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @06:10PM (#53557291)

    Starting Out with Java: From Control Structures through Objects 6th edition [pearsonhighered.com] by Tony Gaddis.

    I feel like this book more than any other is the one that really took me into the world of computer science in a clear, methodical, easy-to-follow way and has opened my mind to whole new realms of thinking. Another great book is "Starting out with Python" which is very similar, and I'm finding that reading them both together is helping me even more in understanding how different languages approach different things.

    Some may find the methodical approach to perhaps be tedious as some points, but it is exactly this kind of gradual building chapter after chapter that gives you a strong sense of deliberate progression and certainty about your increasing knowledge that is so necessary when undertaking the monumental task of learning computer science.

  • https://www.amazon.com/How-Win... [amazon.com]

    It taught me that anyone who says otherwise is a cuntwad and a Trump-U alumnus.

  • Loved the wool series by Hugh Howley. Also enjoyed The phantom of the earth series by Raeden Zen.
  • Command and Control - Eric Schlosser
    https://www.amazon.com/Command... [amazon.com]

  • The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command - and extended look at the evolution of tactical and communications doctrine from Trafalgar to Jutland, and it's effects on the Battle of Jutland.

  • We all know it is the future. http://www.os2world.com/wiki/i... [os2world.com] (looking for crazy open source developers to clone Presentation Manager)
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday December 26, 2016 @09:54PM (#53558051) Homepage

    I had my first science fiction novel [ghostthiefnovel.com] published this year and, while I love reading books, actually writing and publishing one has been an amazing process. (Now working on Book #2.)

  • Simple question, tons of answers that most moderators will have no interest in: it will be difficult to get an insightful answer here.
  • Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja. Sci-fi comedy. Easily the most entertaining and fun read of the year so far. Re-reading it now for fun. I read a lot of fiction as escapism, but I'm also ever so slowly working my way through 'the road to serfdom' by Friedrich Hayek. Its serious stuff, and takes focus to read, so Im taking it slow to be sure I get it all.
  • I went through the entire Robot/Empire/Foundation series and found Pebble in the Sky the best - but you have to read it first

  • I also re-read the 'A World Made By Hand' series, this time including the latest installment. Its a different take on the 'post-apocalypse' format. Less depressing, a little more hopeful, but still forboding and alarming in its own ways.

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.