Best Books Read in 2011
5. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
For the first hundred or so pages of this book, I did a lot of complaining about the amount of math and the detail into which Stephenson goes about mathematical theory. Somewhere along the way, I managed to be drawn into this many layered story that is at times, humorous, at times tragic, and at times WTF. I ended up loving it.
6. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
7. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
8. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
9. A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Yevgeny Zamyatin described We as “my most jesting and most serious work.” Having read nothing else by the author I cannot completely concur with the statement, but serious and jesting it certainly is. We describes a supposedly utopian society based on mathematics and a petroleum based food substance. (If the latter seems an odd choice, keep in mind that the book was written in 1920.) This society is the result of a two hundred year war in which all but 0.2% of humanity is wiped out and the remainder go to live in a city surrounded by a glass wall where even the weather is rigidly controlled. Schedules are king, they have a Benefactor who is unanimously elected each year, and every aspect of life is controlled. We is the story of a mathematician who begins to realize, with the help of a woman he falls in love with, that perhaps all is not well in this alleged Eden.
Ultimately, while I enjoyed this book, I had some problems with the writing. It ended up being highly disjointed and frequently confusing. This is partially explained by the fact that it is written as a series of journal entries. Nevertheless, it could have been executed more skillfully, in my opinion.
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