Having only managed to finish a miserable five books in 2014, I hope to force myself to read a little more this year by jotting down a few remarks on each book:
- Franz Kafka’s “The Trail”
- Since Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s spying, sanctioned by a secret court, the word “Kafka-esque” is often dropped. The Trial is the chronicle of Joseph K.’s case, his struggles and encounters with the invisible Law and the untouchable Court. I liked the link with the contemporary surveillance news but it’s .
- Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs”
- Interesting to learn the back story of so many of the products we use every day. Jobs was no saint, and Isaacson does a good job displaying both sides of the visionary that Jobs was. I didn’t think I would like this one but it paints an interesting picture of the Homebrew Computer Club era.
- Cory Doctorow’s “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free”
- Doctorow explains how the entertainment industry manages to transform the copyright into a profit center for the middleman and he defines what it means to own a copy in the Digital Age. As always, Doctorow manages to hit a nerve and consolidates my efforts to keep fighting to own my own data.
Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you a key, they’re not doing it for your benefit. — Corry Doctorow
- David Seaman’s “The Bitcoin Primer”
- As the title indicates, it is a good introduction to the world of cryptocurrencies. It’s for those who have heard of Bitcoin but have never really dug into it. If you’ve purchased something with Bitcoin or have swapped a few satoshis with a friend, this book won’t go deep enough for you.
- Richard White’s “Encryption in Everyday Life”
- Having tried to learn a little more about Internet security and online privacy over the last two years, I had hoped that this book would have given me some more background knowledge, but it didn’t. The spelling and grammar mistakes make it hard to read and make it feel like an unfinished draft. The book talks about PGP but good luck finding the author’s public key. It’s not helpful. “Surveillance Self-Defense” does a better job and is easier to read. White does do a good job, however, of avoiding technical details and explaining the pros and cons of each technology in layman’s terms.
Here is to more book reading in 2015. Happy New Year!