Today's edition of Weekend Reading illustrates what's so special about books. The breadth of genres alone is impressive--there's something for everyone and real quality in each. There's nonfiction, mystery, short stories, and fantasy. There's old stuff and new. You'll find paranoia, an argument against cynicism, a marriage that is not what it seems, and a third book in a trilogy about a magical world. In biology, we learn that variation is the secret to adaptation and survival. Something about that rings true of reading as well.
Secrets: We all got ‘em, right? Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), we happen to be unlucky enough to be living in the worst time in history for keeping them. Appropriately, there is no shortage of books about hackers, hacking, and the hacked. Jeremy Smith’s breaking/_and/entering| (January 8) explores the darker corners of cybersecurity through the story of “Alien,” a woman initiated into the dark arts of black-hattery when she arrived at MIT in the early 1990s, and later developed an arsenal of digital trespassing tools that included physical disguise.
Another book takes a more philosophical approach: McSweeney’s 54: The End of Trust (currently out of stock, but more on the way) wonders why we eagerly opt-in to a system built to collect and disseminate our most personal information. Including contributions from Cory Doctorow, Douglas Rushkoff, Bruce Schneier, and the infamous Edward Snowden, 54 lives up to its ominous front matter—white text on an otherwise completey black page: something went wrong. -- Jon Foro