September Books

September books featured the really wonderful Anxious People, the really challenging Flights, and three non-fiction selections: An Abbreviated Life, High Output Management, and Reality Check.

Flights This book was hard work. A series of semi-connected essays that had some beautiful writing. I suspect it was not helped by being read a few pages at a time before bed — it probably benefits from longer stints with a more alert brain.

An Abbreviated Life — Ariel Leve’s memoir explores her childhood relationship with her parents. The book was a window into a kind of parental dysfunction I have trouble conceiving of, but Leve tells it journalistically, without much pathos. It feels wrong to call it an enjoyable read, but the style at least makes it an engaging one.

Anxious People — This is probably my favourite book of the year. I laughed, I cried. The underlying plot is absurd, with some scenes that seem written for their future enactment on some streaming service’s new show. But there’s such poignancy in the writing.

“Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?”

“No”

“You’re never more important than you are then.”

High Output Management — Andy Gove was the CEO of Intel, and this is his classic management book from 1983. It’s got a lot of insightful, tactical advice, although some of it is a bit dated by the onward march of office technology.

Reality Check — This was a pretty comprehensive, pretty dry survey of virtual reality technology, applications, and considerations for implementation. I read it to fill in some broader context around a specific project I was working on. It is serviceable if you’re in need of a just-the-facts rundown of virtual reality, but I would not recommend anyone read it for fun.

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