Jachin's Blog

2017's Best Books


I finished 25 books in 2017. Not bad. I got the number up from last year but I think it's mostly because I read lots of "fun" books. Lots of fantasy. Another factor is that now with 2 children I have less time for things like movies and TV shows, audiobooks and podcasts are what I have time and energy for these days.


Politics: The Dictator's Handbook by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith it great. I read it early in the year and the ideas in the book really have stuck with me and I've thought about them a lot.

I don't know if what I learned in the book really "matters" that much at this point in my life, or if it ever will ever lead to some sort of actionable item that I can take up. However it has shifted my perception in ways that make the bad political situations and home, and even more so, abroad in a much less stressful way. I'm much less shocked and aghast when I hear stories of political corruption and other bad behaviors.

I learned about the book from a great YouTube channel CGP Grey, specifically the excellent video "Rules for Rulers". If you find the video interesting you really should read the book, the book is even better.


Fantasy: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson was my most anticipated read of 2017. I've been looking forward to this book for years. I was not disappointed. Sure, it's not a perfect book, but for me it has a lot of entertainment value.

Science Fiction: I read a couple Science Fiction books and I think the one I want to highlight is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It's an old book, one of the original "dystopian" novels. It was a strange book, I have to say I'm not sure I got all of it, although I'm pretty sure that's part of the point of the book. It's told from the perspective of a man who doesn't really understand a lot of what's going on around him and his perspective is down right alien to mine.

At least part of my excitement with finishing it is that it means I've finally read all what I'm lead to believe are the 3 foundations of all the more recent dystopian literature, Brave New World, 1984 and We.


I do not usually take much time to reread books. I have recently read that, that may be because I do not read books that are worth rereading. I hope that's not the case. I'd like to think I retain so much that rereading a book does not have as much value for me as others, but I suspect in another decade or 2 a much bigger percentage of what I read will be reading a book for a second or third time.

I reread Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis, at least in part because my wife read it for the first time last year as part of a reading group and it had been a long time since I had a read it and I was hoping to talk with her about it. It is a great book. It has been close to 10 years since I read it the first time, so there were some important plot points I had forgotten about which made reading it again more interesting and fun than I thought it was going to be.