3 Books Weekly #7: Featuring Jeremy Keith
09.00, Friday 15 Apr 2016 Link to this post
The following was first posted on the 3 Books Weekly email newsletter and has since been archived here.
Featured in 3 Books Weekly #7 is maker-of-great-web-things Jeremy Keith a.k.a. @adactio. You may recognise Jeremy from his many speaking gigs, his podcast assistant Huffduffer, or many other places. You get it, he’s prolific.
I’m super pleased to be able to share three book recommendations from Jeremy today. And not just because the ones he’s picked also happen to be favourites of mine…
Bookshop news! The residency at Campus London continues, come visit before it moves on at the end of April! I’m up for meeting folks who would like to host Machine Supply in London for a month or more. Lobbies, cafes and cultural spaces, etc, all worth a chat. I’m 80% locked down on a location for May, but June is wide open.
A few ‘Sold Out’ signs are visible this week. That’s what we like to see :) Get the books while you can, there’s a new selection on Monday or Tuesday next week.
A call for recommendations! The Machine Supply vending machine is stocked with books recommended by real humans. (That’s you.) I’d love to stock your picks. Fill in this online form to join in.
#1. The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage
A book about the history of telegraphy might not sound like the most riveting read, but The Victorian Internet is both fascinating and entertaining. Techno-utopianism, moral panic, entirely new ways of working, and a world that has been utterly transformed: the parallels between the telegraph and the internet are laid bare. In fact, this book made me realise that while the internet has been a great accelerator, the telegraph was one of the few instances where a technology could truly be described as “disruptive.”
#2. Ancillary Justice: 1 (Imperial Radch), by Ann Leckie
After I finished reading the final Iain M. Banks novel I was craving more galaxy-spanning space opera. The premise of Ancillary Justice with its description of “ship minds” led me to believe that this could be picking up the baton from the Culture series. It isn’t. This is an entirely different civilisation, one where song-collecting and tea ceremonies have as much value as weapons and spacecraft. Ancillary Justice probes at the deepest questions of identity, both cultural and personal. As well as being beautifully written, it’s also a rollicking good revenge thriller.
#3. The City & The City, by China Miéville
China Miéville’s books are hit-and-miss for me, but this one is a direct hit. The central premise of this noir-ish tale defies easy description, so I won’t even try. In fact, one of the great pleasures of this book is to feel the way your mind is subtly contorted by the author to accept a conceit that should be completely unacceptable. Usually when a book is described as “mind-altering” it’s a way of saying it has drug-like properties, but The City & The City is mind-altering in an entirely different and wholly unique way. If Borges and Calvino teamed up to find The Maltese Falcon, the result would be something like this.