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What to Read This Holiday Season

It probably comes as no surprise to you that I’m a total bookworm. After all, storytelling – story enjoying – are my passions. If you need some recommendations for what to read when you finally have time to cozy up around the fire this holiday season, I’ve got you covered.

The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim
What it is: A parable about DevOps, IT, and business operations in the form of a novel that will have you cringing, laughing, and throwing your hands in the air (in exasperation and triumph by turns).
Why you should read it: You’ll learn a lot about process improvement and communication while enjoying an entertaining story. Plus, there’s a sequel, The Unicorn Project, which tells the same story from the Dev side. You can read them in either order without confusion.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning
What it is: A hilarious fantasy reimagining of your favorite British detective… who is also a demon. The books are episodic with future mysteries recalling events of the previous ones, so you’ll have natural stopping places to enjoy meals with the fam while still being able to enjoy a cohesive story.
Why you should read it: It’ll have you rolling, holding your sides, crying, and quoting aloud to those around you. It’s a fresh take on a classic, and it’s a series (with 5 books so far and more planned) so you won’t run out of entertainment.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
What it is: A fast-paced historical mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you reading under the covers with a flashlight like you did when you were a kid.
Why you should read it: It’ll have your heart and mind racing as you try to figure out the mystery, and you will never see the ending (which is amazing, by the way) coming.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
What it is: THE classic sci fi romp through the universe.
Why you should read it: If you haven’t read it, you need to, for cultural reasons. If you have read it, you need to read it again, for nostalgic reasons. I’m on my third copy of the “five volumes in one book” edition because it keeps falling apart because of how often I read it. At this point, it might be time for the Kindle copy because I’m costing the planet rainforests with how much I love this book.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
What it is: The first book in the Wheel of Time series, an epic fantasy with some incredible world-building right from the start.
Why you should read it: Aside from it being an amazing book, it was recently adapted into an amazing tv show, so if you’re like me and you have to read the book before you enjoy the story in another form you’d best get on it. Plus, there are 14 books in the series, so for those of us who like to get cozy with characters and enjoy lots of time and many adventures with them Robert Jordan is giving us a taste of heaven.

Shell Scripting by Jason Cannon
What it is: A quick read and basic intro to command line scripting.
Why you should read it: No matter what stack you work with, you’ll be benefitted by a basic understanding of shell scripting. Plus, you know, it’s crazy fun. Read it cover-to-cover first, than hang onto it as a handy reference. Bonus: Jason Cannon shares some of his own most-used scripts.

Hail Mary by Andy Weir
What it is: A science fiction novel that’s heavy on the science (and on the fiction). It’s exciting, educational, and will have you thinking deeply about the future of space travel.
Why you should read it: If you’ve read Weir’s other books (The Martian and Artemis) this is a perfect halfway point: the hyperrealistic science and math of The Martian coupled with the fantastic space adventure story elements you loved from Artemis. If this is your first Andy Weir book, it’s a great introduction to a fantastic author.

Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks
What it is: A fresh take on the childhood hero story: it’s been 30+ years, and our protagonist gets basically the opposite of the reception Harry Potter did when he rejoined the wizarding world.
Why you should read it: Three words: ancient pirate ghost. Do you really need more reason than that? Okay, I’ll give you more. For anyone struggling with the covid crazies and feeling like their middle-aged life has become hopelessly mundane, put down the scissors you were about to use to give yourself bangs and pick up this book instead. It will soothe your soul. Plus, the holiday setting will get you in the spirit!

Happy holidays and happy reading!

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[Photo credit: Valentin Antonini via Unsplash]


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