Got my contributing editor’s copy of The Best Small Fictions 2017 in the mail the other day.
Nanoism had another finalist this year, to accompany our finalists and winners from 2015 and 2016. Great little collection of very short stories.
Standard Ebooks is an awesome long overdue idea:
Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.
Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.
What a great project.
The little one is a bit older and I had marginally less call this year, but I also had to take the boards in June, so reading time definitely benefitted from the flexibility of ebooks on the phone and the magical powers of Audible. Overall, it was a better reading year than 2015.
- The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (fun language romp)
- Stoner by John Williams (quiet, understated, lovely)
- The Buddha Walks into a Bar by Lodro Rinzler
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (of course I cried)
- Corsair by James L. Cambias
- The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (Pulitzer winner)
- The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein (1970s sci-fi, not the band)
- The Bogleheads Guide to Investing by Mel Lindauer, Taylor Larimore, and Michael LeBoeuf
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal
- Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners #3)
- Medical School 2.0 by David Larson
- Pay Yourself First by David Hurd and James Hemphill
- Changing Outcomes by David Hurd and James Hemphill
- The Cartel by Don Winslow (incredibly gruesome but so good)
- Physician Finance by KM Awad
- A Doctor’s Basic Business Handbook by Brandon Bushnell
- The Year They Tried to Kill Me by Salvatore Iaquinta (to me, the new House of God)
- So You Got Into Medical School…Now What? By Daniel Paull
- Why Medicine? By Sujay Kusagra
- Broadcasting Happiness by Michelle Gielan
- Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg
- The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (Wax & Wayne #1)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley (audiobook perfectly narrated by John Hodgman)
- The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman
- What They Don’t Teach You at Medical School by Dr. David Kashmer (still feel like that’s the wrong preposition in the title…)
- What if? by Randall Munroe
- Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (Wax & Wayne #2)
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (so depressing)
- A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton (this was surprisingly fun)
- The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart (apparently earthworms are really important)
- Drinking Water by James Salzman (really wanted this to be like Kurlansky’s Salt or Cod, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel
- Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald
- The Hunt for Vulcan by Thomas Levenson (long before we demoted Pluto, we used to think there was a hidden planet Vulcan. Weird!)
- Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang
- The House of Wigs by Joshua Allen
- The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (Wax & Wayne #3)
- The Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (well-deserved Pulitzer winner)
- Bricking It by Nick Spalding
- The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (between the two, Emperor is better)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling
- The Element by Ken Robinson
- The Thirteen Word Retirement Plan by Stephen Nelson
- Student Loan Debt 101 by Adam Minsky
- The 4 Percent Universe by Richard Panek
- Simple Sabotage by Robert M. Galford, Bob Frisch, and Cary Greene (the pdf of the CIA’s declassified original field manual that inspired it is better).
- As You Wish by Cary Elwes
- Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson
- The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Huge winner, great novella)
- The Medical Entrepreneur by Steven M. Hacker
- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
- Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (just lovely)
- Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson
- The Wealth of Humans by Ryan Avent (smart writing about technological innovation and societal change)
- TED Talks by Chris Anderson
- Medium Raw by Anthony Bordain
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (was really great as an audiobook)
- How to Think About Money by Jonathan Clements
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Ready Player One by Earnest Cline (fun homage to classic video games and 80s culture masquerading as a novel)
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Classics I visited included a Tale of Two Cities, The Jungle, and Animal Farm, which were all super depressing. I continue to wonder why I read any of the pop-psych/inspirational/self-help type books given that they are all approximately the same and should nearly always be an essay or two and not drawn out to book length. I also read a bunch of short finance, med student, and doctor books for research/blog purposes, which were almost all meh.
On the fun side, I did catch up on most of Brandon Sanderson’s books while waiting for Patrick Rothfuss and George RR Martin to finish their next books. Now I have to wait for Sanderson’s third Stormlight book as well, which won’t come out for another year (and the last book in Mistborn Era 2 is like two years away).
Did love The Alchemist though. Just a beautiful, lovely little story. And every doctor should read The Emperor of Maladies.
Rewind. Time for the Jedi Mind Trick. I held the films out. “This patient isn’t an operative candidate. I don’t know if you could even biopsy this mass. It’s really in there.” I prayed his ego would take the bait. The radiologist turned and snatched the films from me then threw them up on the lighted wall on his left. “Oh yeah, I can hit this, no problem. I’ll do it tomorrow, about 9.” And that, folks, is the Art of Medicine.
From Salvatore Iaquinta’s very funny internship memoir, The Year THEY Tried to Kill Me. The closest thing to a modern The House of God since…The House of God.
Very fun: Nanoism, a few tiny stories, and I made an appearance in the Washington Post yesterday in an article about Twitter’s planned/rumored character-limit change.
For what it’s worth, while the type of fiction I’ve purveyed is only fun within a predominantly constrained system, for people who write Twitter fiction differently, the ability to say more probably wouldn’t be much of an issue (say, those writing in the longitudinal first person like a digital diary of someone surviving a zombie apocalypse).