Mike Sampson

Linux Systems Administrator




01 Jan 2016

2015 Reading List Highlights

Here are most of the books I read in 2015.


Seveneves by Neal Stephenson would be my book of the year. Amazing story split over 5000 years. Some of the themes have been seen before though they are done well here.

Gathering Prey is the latest Lucas Davenport novel by John Sandford. I have read all the previous Davenport novels and enjoyed this one as well. Interesting ending.

Many people, including the author, have compared The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reily to Jurassic Park. There is a similarity there for sure though this books stands alone fine. This is classic Reily, non stop action.

I read two books by Lincoln Child. Death Match and Deep Storm. They were OK. The ending of Death Match was a little hard to read as a technical person.

While I have seen the movie many times I had never actually read Jaws by Peter Benchley. Now I have. I was surprised to see the book contains many sub plots that never made it into the movie. I really enjoyed it.

I love time travel stories and Time and Time Again by Ben Elton is one of the best I have ever read. Came across it by chance in a book store when I was killing time one day.

I'm a huge fan of Michael Connelly and read two of his books in 2015. The Crossing and The Burning Room. Connelly's books have a sense of realism that no other crime author gets.

I re-read Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. It's one of my all time favourite books. The movie is also great.

I have read all the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child. Make Me is the latest. This one is a little morbid though still a good read.

Read the book a couple of times and saw the movie. The Martian by Andy Weir is a unique book. If you only saw the movie and enjoyed it then read the book. There were some great scenes left out of the movie.

Non Fiction

My non fiction reading was often security or software/hardware engineering related.

I stumbled on Silence on the Wire by Michal Zalewski early in the year. An interesting book covering multiple security vulnerabilities some of which are fairly obvious in hindsight.

I had come across references to The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder several times. I really enjoyed it and was surprised how advanced the computers of the 70s were. For example the computer in question was 32 bit and used micro-code.

While the previous book was about hardware, Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg is about software. I wasn't familiar with Chandler and wasn't aware how strongly Mitch Kapor supported open source.

I had read some of the Wired and Gawker articles about the Silk Road and wanted to know more about this. Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby was a fantastic read and proved this whole story is complicated.

After reading Silk Road I wanted to know more about Bitcoin. I read Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies by Andreas M. Antonopoulos. It gave a clear description of what Bitcoin is and how it works. Most of this information would be available on the internet though it was nice to have it all in one place.

During uni I wrote an assignment about Conficker and was surprised at it's advanced construction. Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden covers Conficker in depth. Great story.

Spam Nation by Brian Krebs was an eye opener. Many of the assumptions I made about the spam industry were incorrect. This was an intriguing read.

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