Hitting the Books: The fall 2022 reading list

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WWelcome back, dear reader, to the second part of Hitting the Books Quarterly. This time we’ve got you covered with a seven-layered selection of delicious fiction, beginning with a harrowing investigation into the heart of California’s firestorms, followed by some sage advice on how best to burn your Facebook bridges, and then a chance to say goodbye to The Billionaire Class of earth as they set out for the stars and hopefully never return. But that’s not all, we also have some outstanding sci-fi titles to share The dawn of everything which Engadget senior editor Devindra Hardawar describes as “dense but definitely worth reading”.

California Burning cover


California is Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Power — and What It Means for America’s Electric Grid – Katherine Blunt (Amazon)

California’s wildfires caused an estimated $80 billion in property damage in 2021 alone, they’re getting worse, and the state’s utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, seems far from helping. After years of neglected maintenance, PG&E’s infrastructure has sparked numerous deadly fires in recent years, exacerbating an already existential climate crisis. in the California is burningPulitzer-nominated WSJ Journalist Katherine Blunt delves into the utility company’s sordid history of putting profits ahead of public safety. Decades of mismanagement have gotten California to this point, and Blunt’s well-researched narrative explains why. I was originally looking at this title for the regular excerpt column, but the damn thing reads like a Grisham novel. Make sure you reserve an afternoon as you won’t be able to put it down.

Guide to exiting the media

headline books

With the general level of sloppiness in today’s world, we could probably all laugh and get off the internet for a while – touch weed and so on. Comedian James Acaster’s latest book James Acaster’s Guide to Getting Off Social Media, Being the Best You Can Be and Avoiding Loneliness Volume 1, does both. You’ll (probably) laugh and get off the internet because you’ll be reading a book about how he got off social media in 2019 and how you can do the same while still saving yourself from loneliness. Brilliant.

Everything I need I get from you

FSG adult

Anything I need I’ll get from you – Kaitlyn Tiffany (Amazon)

Fans, stans and boy bands, oh my god. Everything I need I get from you is a fascinating look at the superfan subculture surrounding modern pop music acts Atlantic Associate Kaitlyn Tiffany. Fan clubs have been around since Roman times, but the advent of social media has enabled fandom on an amazingly granular scale. Today’s superfans know what foods the Jonas brothers are allergic to, have stories and inside jokes only other members of the BTS ARMY understand, and routinely indulge in slight subterfuges to feature their favorite stars on the gameplay charts. Tiffany also explores the impact these hyper-connected cadre of vivacious like-minded people are having on internet culture at large, such as why we spent weeks searching for Becky with the good hair.

survival of the richest

WW Norton

Survival of the Richest: Escape the Fantasies of Tech Billionaires – Douglas Rushkoff (Amazon)

Let’s not fool ourselves. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are not developing space travel for the benefit of mankind, Mark Zuckerberg is not promoting his vision of a metaverse with altruistic intentions. They only want a loophole when things really go downhill, argues theorist Douglas Rushkoff. In his new book survival of the richestRushkoff examines what he terms “the mindset” in which the world’s ultra-rich believe that they and their ilk will somehow be able to extricate themselves from the coming climate crisis – we plebs be damned – and discusses the rest, we do while those with the power to avert it are busy eyeing the exits.

you sexy thing

gate books

You sexy thing – Cat Rambo (Amazon)

I believe in miracles and so will you in this gritty space opera from sci-fi luminary Cat Rambo. Billed as “Farscape meets The Great British Bake Off,you sexy thing follows the exploits of Niko Larson, the Holy Hive Mind’s disgraced “10 Minute Admiral” as she struggles to keep her crew of retired soldiers-turned-kitchen and waitstaff safe, together, alive and off out of the Hive Mind, even as space stations explode around them, sentient bio-ships hijack them, and malevolent space pirates from Larson’s past seek revenge. Easily one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve read this year – tightly written with characters you can relate to and a pilot who grabs you by the short hairs straight away and doesn’t let up. There are also werelions.

Azura Ghost cover

Orbit Books

Azura Ghost – Essa Hansen (Amazon)

Emma Hansen just keeps writing absolute bangers. Following her phenomenal 2020 debut, the heartbreaking space opera, Nophek Shine (who was shortlisted for a stabby this year), Hansen returns to the Graven multiverse with Azura spirit. Their second effort catches up a decade after the events of the first book, in which our protagonist Caiden and his sentient starship are still being chased across the stars by the threi – as is usual when locking the group’s leadership in an impenetrable prison Pocket universe for 10 years. As the plot unfolds and events draw his two greatest enemies into a possible alliance, Caiden must reunite with his own family and a long-lost friend who is probably not to be trusted in order to escape.

The dawn of everything

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Mankind – David Graeber and David Wengrow (Amazon)

Long-held views of early civilizations as either gullible hippies or hulking brutes offer only a monochromatic and superficial understanding of history — one that grew out of a conservative backlash against brown people who asked no fewer questions — argue David Graeber and David Wengrow The dawn of everything. They then apparently spend the next 700 or so pages presenting their exhaustive list of evidence from their respective fields of archeology and anthropology in support of that position.

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Russell Falcon

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