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.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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