Best Reads of April 2019

I read 9 books in April, for a total of 36 books so far in 2019. I managed to read 130 books in 2018, and my goal this year was for a more modest 100 books because some of the books I had in mind were longer than the average. So I am pretty pleased at my pace, although I would have read significantly more had I not been distracted by two TV series (Lucifer and Bosche).

Here are the books I read in April. The bold titles are the ones I’d recommend:

  • Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson
  • Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger
  • American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley
  • Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro
  • The Path To Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 1 by Robert A. Caro
  • The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner
  • The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
  • The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
  • White by Bret Easton Ellis

I’d say that my favorite book of April was Brinkley’s book American Moonshot. I have read many, many books on the Apollo program specifically and the U.S. space program generally. This is the first one I’ve read that took a political view point of the space race, and I found it very interesting and well-done.

A close second was Clive Thompson’s Coders. Much of what I read in that book described me. I discovered computer programming on a TRS-80 and Vic-20, and learned how to program by copying programs from computer magazines. It was a wonderfully nostalgic book from a tech writer I always enjoy.

I’d planned to read some of the Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly but the TV series got in the way. I’d also planned to read a biography of Cicero, but after re-reading The Dragons of Eden (I first read it in late 1996), I decided to re-read Carl Sagan’s Contact instead. Next week, David McCullough’s new book, The Pioneers comes out, and I’ll probably jump into that as soon as it appears.