Also check out: recommended reading 2018
As the new year rolls in we all have another great chance to read a lot of fantastic books and broaden our knowledge and understanding about the world.
This year I’ll be publishing my in-progress list of recommended reading separated into months.
I read and listened to 5 books in January 2019, which is the best reading month I have ever had.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
This is the perfect book for anyone curious about some of the big questions about sleep. Most interesting of all is this idea that when we are sleep deprived we actually so impaired by a lack of sleep that we don’t even know we are underperforming in almost every part of our life.
This book could literally save your life and then take your life to the next level. This is already a very good early contender for best book of 2019.
SAS Training Manual by Chris McNab
This book is a fascinating inside look into what it takes to become an elite SAS soldier. SAS is one of the most well trained, disciplined and feared military units in the world. This book runs through what it takes to pass selection and what skills are required including rather detailed descriptions of the survival skills needed such as how to find food and set traps.
What it mentally and physically takes to become an elite solider was extremely inspiring and I believe it would be for anyone who is trying to reach their peak in a different field of expertise.
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I love to mix my reading between non-fiction and fiction because I believe it makes me a more well-rounded reader. After all, fiction comes from real life experience and can help us go a ways to predicting the future.
The Eye of the World is a good epic high fantasy novel, a large book but has some amazing world building and a narrative that keeps driving forward at a relentless pace. I had this book in my collection for around 6 months before I started it and once I started I found myself finishing the book in less than a week.
Overall, really worth the time investment, even if it did feel like it was heavily inspired by The Lord Of The Rings.
The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin
I combine these two books for brevity but they are both amazing books on their own. The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky are books 2 and 3 of the Broken Earth Trilogy by triple Hugo Award winning NK Jemisin who is one of the greatest female science fiction writers of the 21st century.
Since I couldn’t put down the first book, I had to finish the series, which ends in a very suitably epic and memorable way.
This series is maybe best described as a post apocalyptic global warming warning with extremely well crafted, flawed and loveable main characters.
I have been off to a great start in February, finishing an epic novel written by one of science fiction’s most loved authors.
The Player of Games by Iain Banks
Iain Banks is a huge name in science fiction and last year I loved reading Consider Phlebas so this year I decided to read the next book in the Culture Series.
The Player of Games is fantastic Iain Banks novel. It is a short and focused story set inside the huge Culture universe. I absolutely love the way Banks’ introduces people to his Culture universe in short slices like this. It allows him to explore his universe in detail.
For those that don’t know, “The Culture” is this all knowing, all powerful post-everything society far in the future. The Player of Games has the protagonist interacting with a futuristic Empire that has similar political ideas to our own recent history.
The story ends up giving this amazing view into what could be our future. I always finish Iain Banks’ novels with a broader view about what we should do in our own future.
The World’s Fittest Book by Ross Edgley
Ross Edgley is one of the fittest men alive and was the first person to swim around the mainland UK covering 3,200km of ocean swimming in 5 months without touching land.
Ross is also not a natural swimmer by build, being average height and build more like a weightlifter. I was amazed with his story and wanted to learn all I could from him about how to achieve an elite level of performance.
In this book Ross breaks down a lot of his thoughts on training, myth busting a lot of common thinking such as the notion that you can be only fast or strong and going into an insane amount of detail.
Overall this is a really good book which builds a really great foundation for anyone looking to perform better.
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
Rich Roll is a former US college swimmer, turned alcoholic, turned vegan endurance athlete.
On his 40th birthday Rich realised he was out of shape and struggling to climb the stairs.
Instead of ignoring the problem Rich decided to make a massive change to his life, becoming a vegan and training as an endurance athlete over the next few years. Rich eventually completed the invite-only Ultraman 500km swim/bike/run endurance event among others.
I really loved this story because Rich dives deep into the specific steps he took to get to this elite level of fitness (I love actionable books) and his story is very interested and resonates well. I managed to finish this whole book in one sitting during a long haul flight.
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
I have a few favourite authors from last year that I really wanted to follow up on and read more of. Alastair Reynolds was not one of those authors. I found his original Revelation Space novel to be too much of a vessel for his big ideas and anything resembling a good plot or good characters were 100% a backseat to those ideas.
I decided to give Chasm City a try because I had read that Reynolds had evolved a lot as a writer between these books.
I was glad I decided to give Chasm City a try because its definitely a lot better than the original Revelation Space. I would almost not recognise that this was the same author.
Chasm City has a real Blade Runner feel to it set in a dystopian future city, but I found it to be much more well crafted and realistic than its likeness. The massive plot twists at the end of the book were well crafted and not just an afterthought. The characters were better, though not perfect. Every part of this book was genuinely better than the original Revelation Space novel.
Another great thing about this book is that it is essentially a standalone story so this is a great jumping in point for lovers of great hard science fiction.
Overall I could not stop reading this book and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on another Reynolds book later this year.
Those are all the books I have reviewed this year so far. Stay tuned for more of February 2019 coming up over the next few weeks. Don’t forget to subscribe below to get the updates when they come out.