Early Summer 2024 Reading/Viewing List

I start writing this at a York Road Starbucks after dropping our youngest child off at his first job at a grocery store, the same chain…

Early Summer 2024 Reading/Viewing List
That weird statue in the Firaxis parking lot where I do “driver training” with my kids

I start writing this at a York Road Starbucks after dropping our youngest child off at his first job at a grocery store, the same chain where his sister also got her first job a few years ago. I can’t remember how many, but it was when folks were still masking. Since the “Pandemic ended” it has been a blur, with the mask ratio the only metric I can remember, and when I started or left jobs. Or the semesters my daughter completes at college. And the growth of the trees I planted before the vaccine arrived and that are doing great, haing survived Brood X and the few winters where there was snow and ice.

My tree babies (planted October 2020)

He is working at the register and collecting the carts in the lot. He is proud to be earning and spending his own money. A milestone towards the elusive empty nest, which is unlikely to happen any time soon and we aren’t sad about that!

We’ve had a few hot spells, but the Summer is very mild so far.

My wife was out on the deck in a flannel, writing as she does most mornings. It is that cool, but the heat is coming. I took a break to Old Navy yesterday afternoon to replenish my athleisure short collection to prep for summer. Last week, I drove down to AA County (just 30 minutes north of Annapolis, around Severna Park) where our oldest bought an old F250 with less than 100K miles on the odometer. It needs exhaust work, but generally runs and is probably safe enough. We can hear him coming and going in the neighborhood. He’s removed the plow, as this was a fleet model with a number 16 on the side and white. He calls it “Earle” after Steve Earle.

My daughter (who also has been home from college for a few weeks) finally got her real driver’s license. My youngest son just got his learner’s permit and I’ve started “driver-training” Hunt Valley on the weekends in an empty corporate office park where I started with all the others. We complete laps around the parking lot at the game studio that made Civilization and in and out, driving py the parked semi’s on the weekends.

My wife is cranking out the stories. But of course it is never that easy. It is slow plodding work. It is about getting in the reps. The learning spiral. A merry-go-round, where each time you see things slightly differently.

Another one of her hospice clients passed away last weekend. She is a death doula. I hear the stories how her clients each approach death differently — and how she is there alongside them on that journey.

Rinse and repeat. Keep at, whether or not there is a payoff. Show up. Keep talking. Try again tomorrow if you fail. Get more sleep. Take a walk. Watch the frustration-level. Exercise.

(These are the things I tell myself)

After working two straight Saturdays (and whole weekends, for the most part) I’m taking a much needed breather today, but rushing to get this finished so I can get back to my books.

I’ve been working with teams in India again and Elasticsearch again, just like a decade ago. Oh, how the documentation (and stability) as improved and I’ve grown to respect ECK and EKS. I’m back in the AWS again, building. Kubernetes is finally making sense, the many years of learning coming together, although still not easy.

Tomorrow, will be 75 days in my new job as an IC again. I have been wanting to blog on the Engineer-Manager Pendulum, but have not had the time. But I’ve learned from my experience 5 years ago when I last “downshifted” from a leadership role, but in this case I’m working faster and harder than ever. The learning is intense, but let’s get to the books and media so I can wrap this up before noon.

This blog is about repetition and returning to things and the learning spirals.

The authors we continue reading. The historical eras we want to view from a different perspective. Watching film versions of books. Re-reading books over a decade later from a different perspective.

When your brain is fried from looking at YAML all day and when you see Kibana in your sleep, sometimes you need something escapist.

I took a chance on Fallout and found it to be watchable (and only occasionally annoying), but not as good as The Last of Us which I borderline-binged over the last week which led me to re-reading Cormack McCarthy’s The Road.

(Having taken multiple creating writing classes in the 90's from Texas writers and having a Southern writer as a wife, I’m no stranger to this author.)

So, yeah, I’ve got a post-apocalyptic thing going on now, which I haven’t really figured why I’m fixated on that now and whether it has anything to do with the coming U.S. election. I think about how we are so close to to the National Guard Armory in Towson and what that will mean in the coming years.

We finished The Sympathizer and overall it was well-done even if Robert Downey Jr. was generally annoying and the books were better. If there is a second season based on the The Committed, I can’t wait to watch it.

Other topics (and authors) I’ve returned to since my last book blog. I’m continuing to read Jenny Erpenbeck stories and novella’s. I’ve continued to read about Algeria and the French involvement in Indochina, completing An Honorable Exit and continuing to make my way through The Praetorians which I started in March. I’ll get there. And airborne assaults of bridges.

We are a week past the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and I’m reading Pegasus Bridge because Amazon got me with a $2.99 special. Speaking of bridges (and the British Airborne), I read an amazing tale of Canadian serving in the Paras in Arnhem, where I visited last October.

After quitting my last job, someone recommended Hirschman, so I took a detour into the social sciences, having skimmed Exit, Voice, and Loyalty and started a biography. His background reminded me of Oppenheimer (which I finally saw the movie, well part of it) on the flight out to RSA.

History & Social Sciences

  • Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E. Ambrose (2013)
  • The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy, from the Mediterranean to China by Robert D. Kaplan (2023)
  • Escape From Arnhem: A Canadian Among the Lost Paratroops by Leo Heaps (2023)
  • Albert O. Hirschman: An Intellectual Biography by Michele Alacevich (2021)
  • Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States by Albert O. Hirschman (1970)
  • An Honorable Exit by Eric Vuillard, Mark Polizzotti (2023)
  • Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall, Anthony Tully, John B. Lundstrom (2005)


  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2007)
  • The Book of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (2024)
  • The Old Child: & Other Stories by Susan Bernofsky, Jenny Erpenbeck (2005)
  • Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, Tina Kover (2019)

Business, Career, and Tech

  • Conscious Business: How to Build Value through Values by Fred Kofman. (2006)
  • Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout by Cal Newport (2024)
  • Kickstart Your Security Engineering Career: A step-by-step guide to getting your first job in security engineering by Raaghav Srinivasan and Karan Dwivedi (2024)

Film & TV

  • The Last of Us (2023)
  • Fallout (2024)
  • Oppenheimer (2023)
  • Zone of Interest (2023)
  • Perfect Days (2023)
  • The Sympathizer (2024)
  • Past Lives (2023)

Previous Lists

Leap Day 2024 Reading List
Leaving Penn Station after spending the day in DC on Tuesday
Final 2023 Reading Targets
Since I’ve been blogging a ton here and on LinkedIn, I don’t feel I need any personal introduction this time, but the clock is ticking…