Summer 2017 Reading List

written on 21 Jul 2017 by Andrew Dai

This is a living document (for the duration of the Summer 2017) to track what I have read and what I plan on reading. Yes, it is a bit late in the summer to be writing a summer reading list. But then again, this is really more for me than for you isn’t it?

Update 8/19/2017: Flying back to Atlanta means that Summer 2017 has officially come to an end. The “Up Next” list will be punted for a little while to make time for HackGT, the job search (hire me!), and school generally.

It all started on the first day of onboarding at Square when all new-hires received John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir about the Civil Rights movement. After that, I got a library card at the San Francisco Public Library and here we are…

Although many of the books are technology and computer science focused, there is no real concerted effort to organize a focused reading list on any topic. This is an aspirational list, started as a subset of a longer list of books I eventually intend on reading. I have no real intention on actually reading all of the following titles this summer. Books and materials are added haphazardly and at anytime. Without further ado:

Books I’ve Read

March (Trilogy) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

I had been intending to read this graphic novel for several years but never got around to it (and wasn’t reading that much anyway). But then as fate would have it, Square was distributing copies of the first book in their onboarding process. It was a quick, gripping read and purchasing and reading the remaining parts was a no-brainer.

Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham

Another long-awaited read. I read a couple of Graham’s essays online a while back and they really caught my attention. Hackers and Painters is a collection of essays, most/all of which have been published on his website. They cover a variety of topics including society and the nature of technology and work. I highly recommend reading his essays, in particular: Beating the Average, Design and Research, and Say.

I read the chapters/essays out of order but mostly came away with the following conclusions:

  1. learn Lisp
  2. languages are very interesting (learn Lisp) and
  3. Graham is a libertarian.

It has inspired me to learn Racket (a Lisp).

The Holy or the Broken by Alan Light

This is an entire book about the song Hallelujah, written and initially performed by Leonard Cohen and rerecorded, adapted, and reimaged by dozens of artists. I read half of this book. It was pretty good but a lot about just one song.

The American Census: A Social History by Margo J. Anderson

(Only read the first third - time ran out!). The American Census is arranged chronologically, starting with the founding of our nation and telling the history of the census and the nation through the unique perspective of a relatively novel institution.

Having only read the first third of the book, I learned about the role the census played in shaping the country from its founding through Reconstruction. Readers are given a first row seat to the debates about who should be counted, how they are counted, who does the counting, and why this is all important in the first place as the nation grows, expands, and struggles with the complexities of self-governance.

I hope to resume reading this book and catch up to current day - the 2010 census - to get a background on what is about to happen with the 2020 census (it’s not looking good - look it up…).

Currently reading - in hiatus

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