Hitting the Books: Summer reading list

Over a million new titles are released each year in the United States, far more than even most could pass. Even with a weekly publishing schedule, we can only bring you 52 every year. To help shine a light on all the fantastic stories that can’t make it into our weekly column, we’re now bringing you Hit the books quarterlya semi-annual roundup of books that may not be strictly about technology, but we think you’ll like them nonetheless.

This edition’s selection runs the gamut from STEM to Sci-Fi, including selections from New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi, UC Berkeley sociology professor Carolyn Chen, and journalist Stephen Witt. We hope you enjoy.

it’s very yellow

by Carolyn Chen

Silicon Valley may look like the emerald city at the end of America’s yellow brick road, but one only has to pull back the curtain to find the oppressive capitalist machinery hidden behind. In his new book, , UC Berkeley sociology professor, Carolyn Chen, examines how an industry already seeded for worship gradually intruded on the religious beliefs and practices of its workers, peddling adjacent Buddhist “wellness programs” into the hope that they attain the enlightenment of productivity. What, you thought the company town wouldn’t include a company church?

Cover How Music Got Free

Cover How Music Got Free

by Stephen Witt

In the early days of social media, when the popularity of physical media began to wane but long before the emergence of ubiquitous streaming services, there was a time of limitless possibilities. It was a time when any song ever created could be yours, for free and with the click of a button, assuming at least one other person on your network had a full copy of it. Many music collections were built up in the era of unregulated file sharing, much to the chagrin of the recording industry. But no one has pirated music on the scale of Dell Glover. In his 2016 book, , journalist Stephen Witt explains how Glover exploited his job position at a North Carolina compact disc manufacturing plant to steal and surreptitiously leak more than 2,000 albums over the course of a decade before he was apprehended. Someone get a medal for this guy.

Kaiju Preservation Society cover

Kaiju Preservation Society cover

by John Scalzi

Stuck in dead-end gig work amid the first COVID lockdown, Jamie Gray is looking for an exit, any one from his dreary, cash-strapped existence. Bad luck for him, he’s about to get exactly what he wants John Scalzi’s last, NYT bestselling author of The Old Man’s War and red shirts.

the women of walt disney imagineering

the women of walt disney imagineering

Walt Disney may have had the initial spark of inspiration for what would become one of the world’s greatest media empires, but ever since his noggin went into cold storage, the responsibility of bringing those stories to life , rides and attractions fell on the company’s legion of passionate designers, makers and builders: the Imagineers. The Women of Walt Disney Imagineering brings together first-hand accounts from a dozen women who worked behind the scenes and struggled in a predominantly male industry to ensure Disney’s theme parks lived up to their reputation as the most magical places on earth.

Cover of The Gone World, very scary

Cover of The Gone World, very scary

by Tom Sweterlitsch

In this tense, time-traveling thriller, NCIS Special Agent Shannon Moss is tasked with finding out why a Navy SEAL murdered her family – and where her teenage daughter went missing. Harnessing global “Deep Time” chrono-jump phenomena, Moss leaps along the fourth dimension, flitting between alternate realities in search of clues to the killer’s motivation. That is, until she stumbles upon a near event that could end humanity altogether.

Got a recommendation for a book you can’t put down? Send us a message about it and maybe we’ll include it in a future roundup!

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