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Books I read in 2022 January

Date: 2022-02-04

This year I started a big book reading project, in which my goal is to read 52 books in 52 weeks. Here are the books I read in January, and my experience for the first month.

One thing I experienced during my reading is that I liked to read paper-based books much better, and found reading on my ebook reader was a chore. It maybe the material I chose (non-fiction, psychology book), but it felt like I could never finish it. With paperbook, I had no problem with progression. In fact it succesfully served as a distraction while I waited for my doctor and my medical results.

I always thought that ebook readers are the future, because it is so convenient to have your whole library with you. But it looks like even a fairly good ereader can't replace the touch of the physical books.

Philip K. Dick: Solar Lottery

While I am a fan of PKD, I never read most of his stories, so when I went into a local bookstore to pick up some Christmas gifts, I found a whole lot of his novels, and I choose this one. This is his first published novel, and other than being the first I found the story interesting, and that's what made it attractive to me.

Here is the summary:

"In 2203 anyone can become the ruler of the solar system. There are no elections, no interviews, no prerequisites whatsoever—it all comes down to the random turns of a giant wheel. But when a new Quizmaster takes over, the old one still keeps some rights, namely the right to hire an unending stream of assassins to attempt to kill the new leader.

In the wake of the most recent change in leadership, employees of the former ruler scurry to find an assassin who can get past telepathic guards. But when one employee switches sides, troubling facts about the lottery system come to light, and it just might not be possible for anyone to win."

The novel is from 1955, and it has the traditional sci-fi elements of hi-tech (even telepathy), and space travel, the curiosity of man. I can't even imagine how it felt for people to read this in the mid 20th century.

A society that largely depends on chance (they believe and wear all kinds of talismans to boost their luck), pretty much out of order.

Joost A.M. Meerlo: The Rape of the Mind

I choose this after I watched a video about mass psychosis, and Meerloo was quoted in it.

This is a heavy, non-fiction book about brainwashing, by a psychologist who studied people in captivity after WW II. A fascinating read about human psyche, and how even the strongest person can be manipulated, broke into his their mind.

Interestingly, this book is from 1955 and Meerloo writes about "the screen", as an addictive technique of brainwashing. Back then it was only the TV, and while he read the likes of Orwell or Huxley, I doubt he would imagine that we will have screens everywhere. Personally if you have less, it's better.

Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

I needed something short, and lighter and I choose to follow the rabbit. It's the classic tale of curiosity, as one day Alice, a little girl, sees a weird rabbit, and decides to follow him. She stumbles upon a lot of weird creatures, and places and her curiosity drives her forward in the story.

I haven't read the sequel, but that's on my list too.

Isaac Asimov: Foundation

Far in the distant future, thousands of years from now, a big Galactic Empire rule, and flourish. However there is a man, called Hari Seldon, who is psychohistorian, and has a model to predict the Empire's fall. But he also has a plan to shorten the suffering times ahead, and to prepare for these times.

Honestly this is one of the weirdest book I have ever read. There are timejumps many times during the story, sometimes even in the chapters, 20-50 years, without problem.

Read like more of a history book, and while the author was inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire, it also connects with our present history. Atomic energy plays key role in the story, for example.

Literally there is no protagonist in this story, altough we could say it is the time and the whole human collective what's in the center. As we go through time, we can read about the problems each era had and the potential solution for the people who lived in those times. Asimov always made sure to connect each era to the previous one, mentioning some of the key leaders, or citing the "Encyclopedia", or writing about the progression of technology and society.

It's not a page turner, in a sense that it's full of actions, but because it makes you curious, how will the next decades or hundred years will go.

It also made me think about our current situation, our problems in life, politics and in culture. How can we make life better not for us, but for the next generation?

What's next for February?

I will continue to read the Foundation series, and will finish the original trilogy. After that I will be probably read some non-fiction, which I haven't decided on yet.

This is post #9 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge, where we write 100 posts in a year. If you are interested in this event, check out the official website: Happy writing everybody! :)

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