2021 Books

For 2021 I’ve adjusted my target back down to 24 books - better to aim low and shoot high like two years ago! Aiming high and failing to hit the target just feels bad…

Below you will find the hopefully monthly updates to this blog post with very brief notes or impressions on the books - full reviews (if any) will reside on Goodreads.

  • The cover is a crop of this interesting photograph by Laura Kapfer.
February 2021
Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The second book in the series is definitely an improvement over the first. Most of the characters remain paper thin, but the book does get a bit darker than the first in the series, helping to keep your attention to the sad end.

Asterix und Kleopatra by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo

I read this in German and then in English to see how well I understood… I think I definitely missed much of the subtler humor in German. It also took me 2-3 hours in German (looking up words all the while), versus 30-60 minutes in English. Interestingly this is the 2nd book in the German series, but is actually the 6th book in the English series - there’s some plot continuity issue with that - the pirates know about Asterix & Obelix though the German reader has never seen them before?!

Still a fun read! I need to go find a place to order more Asterix and Obelix in German now…

January 2021
Asterix der Gallier by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo

Reading a 50 page comic in German is quite challenging in spite of just having written the A2-level German! I used to only include serious books with a minimum of 200-300 pages on this list, but to hell with that! I’m counting these this year - if it’s on Goodreads, it’s a book - who am I to argue?!

Grokking Artificial Intelligence Algorithms by Rishal Hurbans

This was a great introduction to a wide variety of algorithms - good job Rishal! I suffered from not doing practical code-along exercises, but it did open my eyes to a number of algorithms that can be useful for turn-based strategy games that I would love to try out… So slowly but surely I’m working up the courage to jump back into my game development hobby after my resounding failure to finish Mayhem last year (due to struggling with AI in PICO-8, no less).

The Twelve-Factor App by Adam Wiggins

At 40 pages this barely counts as a book, but it has some useful tips for how to build modern cloud-friendly applications, so worth a read if you’re in that field - it won’t take you very long!

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

I fondly remember this series from my teenage years, when I read the bits and pieces I could find in the public library. Turns out that unlike Deathgate Cycle which I assume was one of their later works, this is quite bad! Nonetheless I’ve pushed through, because I remember the characters fondly… That said though, this is basically as some reviewers on Goodreads put it: like someone wrote down their D&D adventures. I’m pushing onwards through book two to see if it gets better.

Finished reading


goodreads.com
Author

Matt Van Der Westhuizen

Back-end service developer at Ubisoft Blue Byte by day - wannabe game designer & developer by night.