March Books

Clean Architecture and a lot of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Clean Architecture
by Robert Martin

I’m a fan of Bob Martin’s Clean Code and The Clean Coder books, so I had to pick up Clean Architecture too. Like Martin’s other work it’s a quick read, made up of very short chapters exploring a few good ideas from a lot of different directions. One thing that really stuck with me is the assertion that it’s the development team’s job to fight for the soft-ness of the software. Another is that a key strategy for the architect is leaving options open as long as possible. Martin describes his approach to this, a structure he calls “the clean architecture” where business rules are the encoded in the highest-level components without dependencies, and all other dependencies flow toward them. I’m not doing a ton of architecture work yet so parts of this went over my head, but I’ll be keeping it around as a reference for sure.

The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea
by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Tombs of Atuan
by Ursula K. Le Guin

I read three Le Guin books this month and what struck me about them was how different they all were. Left Hand resembles Dune in its detailed description of an alien world with its own psychology, society, politics, and ecology, all intertwined. A Wizard of Earthsea reminded me of The Once and Future King in its language and structure, an epic zipping from one life-changing event to the next but with surprising intimacy in each vignette. Tombs is extremely focused with a small cast and a constrained setting. It moves quick and spends a lot of time inside the head of its protagonist. It was my favorite of the three books.

All that to say, I find Le Guin’s range remarkable. I’ve got the rest of the Earthsea books queued up, along with The Lathe of Heaven, but I’m going to take a break for now and read some nonfiction during April.

My favorite image (from Left Hand):

We stowed the wheels, uncapped the sledge-runners, put on our skis, and took off—down, north, onward, into that silent vastness of fire and ice that said in enormous letters of black and white DEATH, DEATH, written right across a continent. The sledge pulled like a feather, and we laughed with joy.

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