January 4, 2023


Year of the doing.

Shamelessly inspired by Lex Fridman, I have decided to attempt to read a book a week in the Year of doing. I just so happened to catch this goal of his after recently starting to read again. I find myself in the middle of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, while in the same position of the first week of the new year. I'm more confident about a personal goal than I've been in a long time, as well. I assume it's because I have yet to, and plan not to tell anyone about said goal.

Progress can be tracked here, where things are being added quite slowly. I'm amending this post regularly, as I read my books and work up the desire to track my thoughts or notes about them. In this particular edit, in the early morning of Saturday, January 28th, I'm realizing that I'm not remotely close to Lex pace. I mean, I realized this about one week after finishing Book 1.

I suppose I lack the discipline at this moment in my life to read a book a week. Alternatively, or in a compounding way, I'm just bored with Book 2. See the notes there for additional context. I'll keep trudging on, however. I'm happy this post exists in any capacity. My brain needed it. I needed it.

Book 1: The Man in the High Castle

Author: Philip K. Dick

Why: I began reading Philip K. Dick in the summer of 2022. I stumbled upon a recounting of a funny concept from another of his novels, Ubik, in the form of a HackerNews comment. The concept was simply the humor in Dick's take on capitalism in the form of apartment dwellers being required to pay their front door to let them into their own abode. In some twisted irony, this does not far off from where we are today in 2023, where you might be one of the lucky forward-thinking dweebs who pays a subscription to a company that allows you to unlock your door from your favorite mobile device.

But I digress...

Really, Why: After finishing Ubik in once sitting on a flight, I was enamored by Dick's writing style and ideas. I made it throught Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and his collection of short stories, Electric Dreams. I simply moved on to the next classic within his body of work.

New vocabulary words:

  • ingratiating: intended to get approval or favor; sycophantic
  • hegemony: leadership or dominance, usually with respect to one country's power or influence over another or others
  • adroitly: in a clever or skillful way
  • ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement
  • libidinous: showing excessive sexual drive; lustful
  • extant: surviving, or, still in existence
  • vitiation: a reduction in the value, or an impairment in the quality of something
  • puerile: childishly; silly and trivial

Book 2: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Author: Douglas Adams

Why: The only reason this book would have ever been on my radar was the fact that I stumbled upon the third of this particular trilogy shortly after graduating from University. It was the first pleasure read I completed after moving back home into my parents house (temporarily, thank goodness for the three of us). I loved every chapter of Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. I picked up the first two books of the trilogy on ThriftBooks and have been waiting for the right time to dive in.

New vocabulary words:

  • interminable: endless
  • fens: a marshy lowland region of England
  • sinecure: an office or position requiring little or no work, and likely having a good payoff
  • assiduously: with careful and consistent effort; diligently or tirelessly
  • discomfit: to confuse and deject; disconcert