Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: June 2015

Almost caught up!

Adventures In Solitude – The New Pornographers
Airplanes And Airwaves – Aftermath
Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Congratulations – Blue October/Imogen Heap
Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
Daft Punk – Pentatonix
Die Young1 – Ke$ha
Dream – Imagine Dragons
Hold My Hand – The Fray
Holocene – Bon Iver
Into the Ocean – Blue October
Jimmy Gets High – Daniel Powter
Magic – Coldplay
On My Way Home – Pentatonix
Paris – Magic Man
Piss Crowns Are Trebled – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Run – Snow Patrol
Run to You – Pentatonix
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field
Sacrifice – Zella Day
Should Have Known Better – Sufjan Stevens
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
Smoke And Mirrors – Imagine Dragons
White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons
X Amount of Words – Blue October
Papaoutai – Pentatonix
All Of You – Hinkstep
Dream Again – Hinkstep
I Saw Everything – Howie Day
From The Stalls (Fever 105 Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
A Heartbreak (RAC Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
Heart Beats Slow – Simian Ghost2
Wilder Mind – Mumford & Sons
The Weight of Living – Logan Mays
Screw Up (Ft. Megan Michele of The Resistance) – Logan Mays
Tompkins Square Park – Live – Mumford & Sons
England Skies – Shake Shake Go
Portal – Still Alive – Vitamin String Quartet
A Heartbreak (Ten Ven Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
Lanterns – Howie Day
My Forest Queen – Hinkstep
Like A River – Will Young
My Long Goodbye – The Best Pessimist
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine
Riptide (String Quartet Tribute to Vance Joy) – Vitamin String Quartet
Delilah – Florence + The Machine
All I Want – Kodaline
Hearts – The Best Pessimist
Feathers & Wax – Vicktor Taiwó
Way Back When – Kodaline
Sea of Trees – God Is An Astronaut
Big Bad World – Kodaline
She Wolf – Matt Skiba and the Sekrets

And, with that, we’re up-to-date. Go team!


  1. Deconstructed, obviously. 
  2. Off of the album Angus & Julia Stone: The Remixes 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: May 2015

I keep mentioning that I’ve only got a couple of these left, but it’s getting close to when I’ll have to add another playlist to the end of the list. Welp.
This one appears to be sorted by artist, so that’ll be fun.

Airplanes And Airwaves – Aftermath
Grizzly Bear (Thom from Alt-J Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
A Heartbreak (Odesza Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
A Heartbreak (Ten Ven Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
A Heartbreak (RAC Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
From The Stalls (Fever 105 Remix) – Angus & Julia Stone
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Let Me Love – ARCHIS
Into the Ocean – Blue October
Hate Me – Blue October
X Amount of Words – Blue October
Congratulations – Blue October/Imogen Heap
Holocene – Bon Iver
Magic – Coldplay
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
Atlas – Coldplay
Talk – Coldplay
Jimmy Gets High – Daniel Powter
No Room In Frame – Death Cab for Cutie
Little Wanderer – Death Cab for Cutie
Hold No Guns – Death Cab for Cutie
Good Help (Is So Hard to Find) – Death Cab for Cutie
El Dorado – Death Cab for Cutie
Die Young In The Cave (Bootie Edit) – DJ MikeA
Your Hand In Mine (Album version) – Explosions In The Sky
Your Hand In Mine (Friday Night Lights version) – Explosions In The Sky
Hold My Hand – The Fray
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Asunder, Sweet – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Piss Crowns Are Trebled1 – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
All of You – Hinkstep
Dream Again – Hinkstep
Not Dead Just Forgotten – Hinkstep
My Forest Queen – Hinkstep
Favorite Song – Howie Day
Medicine Ball – Howie Day
Lanterns – Howie Day
I Saw Everything – Howie Day
Take Me to Church – Hozier
Smoke And Mirrors – Imagine Dragons
Dream – Imagine Dragons
Second Chances – Imagine Dragons
Black Cherry Pie – JEFF the Brotherhood
Die Young2 – Ke$ha
Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle
If… – Logan Mays
Little Things – Logan Mays
Screw Up (Ft. Megan Michele of The Resistance) – Logan Mays
The Superhero Song – Logan Mays
Waiting for Angels – Logan Mays
The Weight of Living – Logan Mays
Paris – Magic Man
White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons
Tompkins Square Park – Mumford & Sons
Believe – Mumford & Sons
The Wolf – Mumford & Sons
Wilder Mind – Mumford & Sons
Monster – Mumford & Sons
Snake Eyes – Mumford & Sons
Broad-Shouldered Beasts – Mumford & Sons
Only Love – Mumford & Sons
Hot Gates – Mumford & Sons
Tompkins Square Park – Live – Mumford & Sons
Exile Vilify – The National
Think You Can Wait (From the Film “Win Win”) – The National
Adventures In Solitude – The New Pornographers
Daft Punk – Pentatonix
On My Way Home – Pentatonix
Papaoutai3 – Pentatonix
Standing By – Pentatonix
I Need Your Love – Pentatonix
Say Something – Pentatonix
Run to You – Pentatonix
England Skies – Shake Shake Go
Heart Beats Slow – Simian Ghost4
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Run – Snow Patrol
Carry Me Home – Sohn
Should Have Known Better – Sufjan Stevens
The Real You5 – Three Days Grace
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field
The Freshmen – The Verve Pipe
Birdhouse In Your Soul – Vitamin String Quartet6
Portal – Still Alive7 – Vitamin String Quartet
Star Wars – The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) – Vitamin String Quartet
Centuries8 – Vitamin String Quartet
Rather Be – Vitamin String Quartet
Blank Space – Vitamin String Quartet
Take Me to Church – Vitamin String Quartet
Cool Kids – Vitamin String Quartet
Habits – Vitamin String Quartet
All About That Bass – Vitamin String Quartet
Yellow Flicker Beat – Vitamin String Quartet
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
Sacrifice – Zella Day

The big winner for this month is pretty obvious, I should think: Vitamin String Quartet. Not present is their cover of “Riptide,” but don’t worry, it’ll show up soon, because it’s wonderful. We’ve also got a strong showing from Mumford & Sons, plus Angus & Julia Stone, Death Cab for Cutie, and Logan Mays.9


  1. I’m gonna be honest, I think this one only stayed in my playlists as long as it did because of how great the name is. 
  2. Deconstructed, of course. 
  3. I found out way after I first heard their cover of this song that it’s French rap, I believe? Either way, it sounds cool. 
  4. Found on the album Angus & Julia Stone: The Remixes
  5. I think it’s a rule that I’ve got to have one ‘hard rock’ song on my playlist. 
  6. There’s a whole lot of VSQ in here. Probably something to do with the fact that I was, in a bygone era, a violinist, and I’ve still got a place in my heart for string instruments. 
  7. Fun fact: my aunt really likes this song, and was very surprised when she found out it’s a cover of a song from a video game. 
  8. Every song off VSQ Performs the Hits of 2014, Vol. 3 has “(String Quartet Tribute to [Original Artist])” at the end, but I’m going to leave that off of these. Just know that the rest of the VSQ on this list is all off of Hits of 2014, Volume 3, and you’ll be able to find them, no problem. 
  9. None of the others get a link because I’m too lazy to look their websites up: Logan’s, I know off the top of my head, because it’s running off of my server. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: April 2015

I’ve only got a couple months left, I swear.
Aaa – They Might Be Giants
Adventures In Solitude – The New Pornographers
Airplanes And Airwaves1 – Aftermath
All at Once – The Fray
Always In My Head (Live At the Royal Albert Hall, London) – Coldplay
Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle
Atlas – Coldplay
Belief – John Mayer2
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Bigger Stronger3 – Coldplay
Binary Sea – Death Cab for Cutie
Black Sun – Death Cab for Cutie
Breathe Me – Sia
Carry Me Home – Sohn
Cemeteries of London – Coldplay
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
Come On (Acoustic)4 – Will Young
Comes and Goes (In Waves) – Greg Laswell
Congratulations – Blue October/Imogen Heap5
Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
Daft Punk – Pentatonix
Die Young6 – Ke$ha
Die Young In The Cave (Bootie Edit) – DJ MikeA
Dream – Imagine Dragons
Exile Vilify – The National
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Feeling Like A Sunset7 – Hinkstep
The Freshmen8 – The Verve Pipe
Good Help (Is So Hard to Find) – Death Cab for Cutie
Hallelujah9 – The Canadian Tenors
Hate Me – Blue October
Hold My Hand – The Fray
Hold No Guns – Death Cab for Cutie
Holocene – Bon Iver
How to Save a Life – The Fray
Into the Ocean10 – Blue October
Jimmy Gets High11 – Daniel Powter
Let Me Love – ARCHIS
Life-Sized – Howie Day
Look After You – The Fray
Love Is Never Lost – Howie Day
Mad World – Michael Andrews & Gary Jules
Magic – Coldplay
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Memorial (Edit)12 – Explosions In The Sky
Midnight – Coldplay
Naranja – Hinkstep
Not Dead Just Forgotten – Hinkstep
On My Way Home – Pentatonix
One Too Many – Three Days Grace
Paloma – Carbon Leaf
Paris – Magic Man
Peasantry Or ‘Light! Inside Of Light!’ – Godspeed You! Black Emperor13
Piss Crowns Are Trebled – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Problem – Pentatonix
Radioactive – Pentatonix
Run – Snow Patrol
Run to You – Pentatonix
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field
Sacrifice – Zella Day
Same As You – The Fray
Say Something14 – Kyle Snelgrove
Second Chances – Imagine Dragons
Set The Fire To The Third Bar – Snow Patrol
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray
Sheets – Damien Jurado
Should Have Known Better – Sufjan Stevens
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
Smoke And Mirrors – Imagine Dragons
Snö – Hinkstep
Speed Of Sound – Coldplay
Square One – Coldplay
Swallowed in the Sea – Coldplay
Synthesizer – Mike Posner
Take Me to Church – Hozier
Talk15 – Coldplay
Think You Can Wait (From the Film “Win Win”) – The National
To Die In L.A. – Lower Dens
Up in Flames – Coldplay
Violet Hill – Coldplay
We Cry – The Script
White Blank Page – Mumford & Sons
Worry – Howie Day
X Amount of Words16 – Blue October
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
You’ve Haunted Me All Your Life – Death Cab for Cutie
Your Hand in Mine (album version) – Explosions In The Sky
Your Hand in Mine (Friday Night Lights version) – Explosions In The Sky

This one is less commentated than the others, mostly because I got tired of trying to come up with stuff to say.
I’m really not sure why this one was alphabetized and the others weren’t. I don’t profess to understand iTunes at all – it’s a godawful mess of a program, but it works alright for what I use it for – managing my music library and nothing else.


  1. I have no idea how I wound up with this song, but I only noticed that it was in my iTunes library my junior year of high school when I was making a mixtape as a Secret Santa present for someone. 
  2. For some reason, I have a note in my mind next to the name John Mayer that just says ‘douchebag.’ I have no idea how it got there. 
  3. Probably my favorite little-known Coldplay song, to be honest. Very quiet, though, so you might have to bump the volume up. 
  4. This one is actually a straight rip from YouTube, since I couldn’t find it anywhere to purchase with actual audio quality. 
  5. There was about a 0% chance that this collaboration would be bad, and it was even better than I’d originally hoped. 
  6. This is the Deconstructed version, of course. 
  7. This makes me want to listen to “Sinking Like A Sunset” 
  8. Why yes, this is the song I sang a cover of once. Bonus points if you can find that on YouTube. 
  9. I’ve sung so many different versions of this song, I get them all confused these days. 
  10. I think this is the first song I ever heard by Blue October, and it’s still one of my favorites. 
  11. Childhood flashbacks in 3… 2… 
  12. I found this one while trawling through their website hoping for news about new music – it was a free download. I love when people do that. 
  13. I think it’s a rule that post-rock bands have weird names. 
  14. A lot of my (choir) friends have sung covers of this song, to the point where the original actually sounds weird to me. 
  15. This is the default ringtone on my phone, because I think I’m funny. 
  16. This one is in my ‘sleep’ playlist for some reason. I’m leaving it there. 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: March 2015

We aren’t done yet, folks! You might be able to tell by the way that I haven’t caught up to what month we’re in at the moment. Without further ado, here’s the list:
Parachute – Bryan Rice. I once described this song as ‘so stereotypically pop-y that I want to punch someone in the face.’1 While it’s still generally true, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Let Me Love – ARCHIS. A friend sent this one to me with the request that I play it at the next meeting of the campus LGBTQ group. It went over pretty well.
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift. It’s back!
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field. Fun fact, I have the sheet music to this somewhere. It’s not exactly accurate to the original, it’s missing some of the harmonies.
Cemeteries of London – Coldplay. Another perennial favorite.
Sheets – Damien Jurado. This may or may not be the only Damien Jurado song I’ve got. I’ve been yelled at about that before.
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay. I really like the album cover to Ghost Stories.
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone. This is a pretty distinctive album cover, too.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman. I’m less of a fan of this album cover.
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions In The Sky. I think it’s the other version of the song this time.
Night of the Hunter – 30 Seconds to Mars. We’re still in repeats.
Atlas – Coldplay. I like Atlas a lot better than their other recent movie-exclusive song, whose name I honestly can’t even remember.
Up in Flames – Coldplay. Milo Xyloto is a good album, you guys.
Viva La Vida – Coldplay. But Viva La Vida was a better one, I think. A classic.
It Takes A Lot To Know A Man – Damien Rice. Sorry, dear, you haven’t quite gotten to the ‘Panic! At The Disco’ level of long song titles.
Mutatis – Blueneck. It’s great, okay? I think the word I’d use is ‘desolate.’
2013 – Daniel Kim. Technically it’s called “Pop Danthology 2013” but I have them as an album named “Pop Danthology” so it all works out alright.
2014 – Daniel Kim. I’m excited for 2015, okay?
Always In My Head (Live At the Royal Albert Hall, London) – Coldplay. The ‘live’ stuff petered out pretty quickly.
Hero – Darren Hayes. I got more annoyed with the heteronormativity in his music videos2 when I found out that he’s married to a dude.
Thunderstruck – 2CELLOS. It’s honestly been a while since I listened to any 2CELLOS.
Mombasa – 2CELLOS. I think I overplayed it a bit.
Hold My Hand – The Fray. Good for singing along to.
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray. I’m actually about to put this one back in my current playlist, I’d forgotten how good it is.
Grizzly Bear – Angus & Julia Stone. I have a lot of A&JS remixes but not much of their actual original stuff. Weird.
Paloma – Carbon Leaf. ‘Rollicking fun,’ I might say.
Fun – Troye Sivan. I swear I have the rest of this EP somewhere.
Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn’t on a radio station that my sister heard this song and got mad about it getting popular, it was on Connor Franta’s playlist-album-thing.
Same As You – The Fray. Also just went back into my current playlist.
Final Masquerade – LINKIN PARK. I might have more of this album, but you can’t tell from these playlists.
Wake Me Up – 2CELLOS. I might have the actual Avicii version of this song somewhere, but I don’t listen to it.
Immortal – Marina and The Diamonds. I just really love her voice, okay?
Weeds – Marina and The Diamonds. I can’t remember what this song is about. Did I know in the first place?
Forget – Marina and The Diamonds. I really can’t remember this one.
Take Me to Church – Hozier. Though the heteronormativity3 is annoying, it’s still great for singing along to.
Shots – Imagine Dragons. I keep reading this title and my brain goes “Shots! Shots! Shots!” And I’m like, no, brain, this isn’t that song.
Savages – Marina and The Diamonds. Possibly my favorite off of Froot.
Smoke And Mirrors – Imagine Dragons. This one is still in my playlist of the month.
Die Young In The Cave (Bootie Edit) – DJ MikeA. I honestly have no idea what the album cover is supposed to be, but it’s wonderful.
Never Too Late – Bryan Rice. I keep thinking of the Three Days Grace song…
Can’t Pin Me Down – Marina and The Diamonds. … Which one is this? Oh lord, I shouldn’t be trying to write these lists up without at least listening to them once.4
Bomb Shelter – Bryan Rice. I’m gonna be honest, the album cover kinda makes this look like he’s an LGBT icon, rather than, like, the number one pop star in Denmark or whatever.
Stay Awake (feat. Bryan Rice)[Radio Edit] – Bryan Rice & Guéna LG. I have no idea who Guéna LG is.
These Arms – Bryan Rice. I have a sudden desire to google ‘Bryan Rice arms’ but I feel like that wouldn’t end well.
I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons. Oh man, I miss this song.
Cough Syrup – Young the Giant. I had no idea this was by Young the Giant. Huh.
Friction – Imagine Dragons. A little bit more ‘hard rock’ than the rest of the album, I think.
Froot – Marina and The Diamonds. It’s the titular song! And I only listened to it a few times.
Second Chances – Imagine Dragons. I think this one is also in my current playlist.
Solitaire – Marina and The Diamonds. Ooh, I forgot about this one, it’s great.
Thief – Imagine Dragons. I don’t really remember this one, to be honest.
Warriors – Imagine Dragons. Also a bit harder rock than the rest.
Dream – Imagine Dragons. Oooh, this one is wonderful. Go listen.
Beat of My Own Drum – Bryan Rice. I’m suddenly annoyed by the capitalization in here.
Fire To the Sky – Bryan Rice. Ugh, another one.
Never Let You Down (feat. Lykke Li) – Woodkid. One of my top two songs off the Insurgent soundtrack.
Carry Me Home – Sohn. This is the other one.
Warriors – Imagine Dragons. Oh, that’s why this song kept coming up so often when I had this list on shuffle. It’s in there twice! This explains more than it doesn’t.
Blood Hands – Royal Blood. Insurgent had a good soundtrack. I’ve never seen the movie, nor read the books.
Holes in the Sky – M83 With HAIM. I once tried to describe the album art of M83’s Midnight City and I’m pretty sure everyone in the room thought I was tripping.
Sacrifice – Zella Day. This one is actually still in my playlist I think.

And there we are! Three months down, three more to go, and then I’ll be doing these write-ups once a month.
Unless I decide to do write-ups for 2014, which wouldn’t take too long, since I skipped a few months in there. I’ll think about it.


  1. That may or may not be how I wound up in a twitter fight with the artist at one point. 
  2. It was pretty bad to start with. 
  3. I think I’m overusing this word a bit, but it’s something I complain about a lot. 
  4. Instead, I’m listening to Lisa Lampianelli be offensive to everyone
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: February 2015

I’m back with another of my playlists! Be excited.
This time, I’m reading the songs off of my phone, instead of hopping back and forth between iTunes and a writing app on my laptop. This is ever so slightly easier.

Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift. I did mention that this one would pop up again.
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field. Seriously, this is one of my favorite songs.
Fix You – Coldplay. The first part of these lists is always full of repeats, I start each one off by scrolling through the previous month’s list.
Violet Hill – Coldplay. Coldplay, much?
Cemeteries of London – Coldplay. Not one of their most famous songs but still one of my favorites.
Sheets – Damien Jurado. Jurado, not Rice. I know this now.
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay. There will be more Coldplay, don’t even worry.
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone. Another perennial favorite of mine.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman. Exactly as sad as I like my music.
Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks. Also sad! I like sad music, okay?
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions in the Sky. This is the “Friday Night Lights” version, but the original is just as good. I tend to switch back and forth between the two.
Night of the Hunter – 30 Seconds to Mars. I finally looked up what the bit of french at the start of the song is and it’s just ‘the night of the hunter.’ Oh. Okay.
Vox Populi – 30 Seconds to Mars. Crowd effect!
Atlas – Coldplay. What, you thought I was don with Coldplay? You must be new here.
Viva La Primadonna [Marina and the Diamonds and Coldplay] – phenste. Mashups!
Zombie – The Cranberries. I’m sure I’ve listened to more than one song by The Cranberries, but I couldn’t name another, so here we are.
Up in Flames – Coldplay. Slightly plaintive, I think.
Safe and Sound – Capital Cities. Apparently I wasn’t tired of this song yet?
Pyres of Varanasi – THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS. Yes, I do have “30 Seconds to Mars” and “THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS” as two separate artists in my phone, still.
Viva La Vida – Coldplay. I’ve sung an a cappella version of this song. It was fun.
Scream My Name – Tove Lo. That’s a fun name to say.
It Takes A Lot To Know A Man – Damien Rice. Rice, not Jurado. I know this now.
No Medicine For Regret (Pye Corner Audio Mix) – Mogwai. Hmm. Needs more Mogwai.
Mutatis – Blueneck. Definitely needs more Blueneck.
2013 – Daniel Kim. Pop Danthologies are great.
2014 – Daniel Kim. Still where I get most of my pop music listening.
Arrows (feat. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) – Fences. I’m fairly certain this one is only in here because I kept listening to it and going “is it about being gay or not? WHAT DOES IT MEAN”
Immortals – Fall Out Boy. Probably one of the ‘hardest’ songs in this list.1
Always In My Head (Live At the Royal Albert Hall, London) – Coldplay. Okay, okay, I think this is the last bit of Coldplay this time around.
Hero – Darren Hayes. “Ladies and gentlemen listen up please, I don’t want to be your hero.”
Thunderstruck – 2CELLOS. I feel a little bit bad for their bows in most of their songs.
Mombasa – 2CELLOS. For some reason my brain just notices this song at weird times. That, or Shuffle in iTunes really likes it, because it seems to come up a disproportionately large amount of the time.
I Will Wait – 2CELLOS. I’m just… not even going to comment on these three songs.
Glad You Came – Bryson Andres. It’s a cover! I love me some instrumental covers.
Hold My Hand – The Fray. Helios was a great album.
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray. These two were, I believe, my favorites off the album, but the whole thing is worth a listen.
Grizzly Bear – Angus & Julia Stone. They’ve got an album or two that I don’t have yet and I need to get on that.
Paloma – Carbon Leaf. Also really good at getting stuck in my head.
Fun – Troye Sivan. Troye pops back up in my playlists from time to time. I think he’s got a new album coming out soon?
Arcadia – The Kite String Tangle. My sister told me about this song. Months later, it popped up on a popular radio station. She was mad.
Oblivion (Slinger Remix) – Bastille. I don’t think I have any Bastille songs that aren’t remixes, now that I think about it.
Run Boy Run – Woodkid. If you listen to Woodkid and don’t watch the music videos, you’re doing it wrong.
I Love You – Woodkid. Seriously, look it up. They’re epic.
Don’t Wait – Mapei. I’m not sure what the vocal effect in this song is – it slips past my mind a little bit, or something – but I like it.
Ain’t No Friend – Lower Than Atlantis. Oh man, I forgot about Lower Than Atlantis.
Oasis (Vocal Mix) – Mitis & Crywolf. Someone gave me a Mitis song last summer. This is a delayed result of that.
Got Love – Tove Lo. Is this one a repeat? I don’t know if it is.
Ignition – Casa Murilo. This one is fun to sing along to!
My Favourite Faded Fantasy – Damien Rice. More Damien Rice! He’s gonna wind up back in my current playlist, at this rate…
Set The Fire To The Third Bar – Snow Patrol. Ugh, Snow Patrol. So good.
Break Your Plans – The Fray. More of Helios!
Same As You – The Fray. And more! Such a good album.
La La Latch – Pentatonix. It kept getting stuck in my head and I finally gave in and put it in here.
Lina – Casa Murilo. Oh, Lina…
Final Masquerade – LINKIN PARK. Similar to 30 Seconds to Mars/THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS, I’ve probably got Linkin Park and LINKIN PARK as two separate artists in my iTunes.
The Trooper (Overture) – 2CELLOS. It just makes me think of the ‘mom’ cover of the William Tell Overture that some comedian did.
Wake Me Up – 2CELLOS. More instrumental covers!
Shape of My Heart – 2CELLOS. It’s so quiet.
Oaso San-Voyou Remix – Totorro. Very rythmic, in such a way that it’s also in my ‘sleep’ playlist.2
Satisfaction – 2CELLOS. It’s so not quiet.
They Don’t Care About Us – 2CELLOS. It’s… not really quiet or loud? I dunno man.
Favorite Record – Fall Out Boy. It took me a while to listen my way through this entire album – good songs, but just… louder than what I tend to like.
Street Spirit (Fade Out) – 2CELLOS. This one is pretty quiet.
Time – 2CELLOS. Alright we’re clearly past TWO cellos here, that’s like ten or twelve.
Immortal – Marina and The Diamonds. Second song about immortality in this list! Go me.
Weeds – Marina and The Diamonds. Marina is wonderful.
Forget – Marina and The Diamonds. Although I think she wears the exact same dress in all of her music videos, which makes me wonder if they just did all of them in one shoot or something.
Take Me to Church – Hozier. Almost entirely sure this is in here because of the music video. Considering the content of the video, the actual lyrics of the song are… very heteronormative.
Shots – Imagine Dragons. This song just seems less catchy than they were actually trying for.
Savages – Marina and The Diamonds. Probably one of my favorites off this album.
Smoke And Mirrors – Imagine Dragons. This one came out better than Shots, I think.
Die Young In The Cave (Bootie Edit) – DJ MikeA. More remixes! It’s wonderful, and the album art I’ve got for it is hilarious.
Never Too Late – Bryan Rice. Suddenly, Danish pop!
Can’t Pin Me Down – Marina and The Diamonds. An interjection from Marina…
Bomb Shelter – Bryan Rice. And back to Denmark.
Stay Awake (feat. Bryan Rice) [Radio Edit] – Bryan Rice & Guéna LG. I may or may not have gotten in a small Twitter fight with this guy at one point.
These Arms – Bryan Rice. I was in a bad mood, don’t mind me.

So, that was February. The Fray, Marina and The Diamonds, 2CELLOS, and Bryan Rice were the big winners, from the look of things.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I should see if I can get iTunes to give me a CSV dump of these playlists.3 Those could make some interesting graphs.
Coming whenever I’ve got time: March!


  1. Don’t ask what exactly I mean by this because I’m not entirely sure. 
  2. That list doesn’t actually get much use, it’s mostly there as a fallback for when I don’t have enough internet for my “Explosions in the Sky” Pandora station to run. 
  3. I checked: no CSV, but it’ll do XML. Maybe one day when I’m really bored I’ll put something together to read that and make graphs out of it. There’s gotta be a framework for that somewhere online… 
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: January 2015

So, I’ve mentioned once or twice1 that I make a new playlist every month. The system, to be more specific, involves two parts. First is a folder, within iTunes, for each year. Within that folder, I have a playlist for each month. The playlist first gets created on the first of the month, and I use it – both for listening and for filling in music – for the duration of the month. At the end of the month, I make the next playlist and the whole thing starts over.
I had a request to share some of these playlists, so I guess I’ll start doing that! It seems like fun, and it means I’ve got a bit of a backlog to get through, so here goes.2 For your listening pleasure, January 2015.

Look After You – The Fray. A classic.
Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks. In case you’re feeling too happy.
Fireflies – Owl City. I dunno man, it’s just there.
Twisted Logic – Coldplay. There’s always gonna be Coldplay, with me.
Speed of Sound – Coldplay. This one gets stuck in my head a lot.
What If – Coldplay. Now I feel like listening to this one again. I inception’d myself.
Til Kingdom Come [Hidden Track] – Coldplay. Another one that I wind up singing a lot.
Zombie – The Cranberries. I dunno the lead singer’s name, but I love her accent.
Vox Populi – 30 Seconds to Mars. Gotta love that crowd effect.
Fix You – Coldplay. Admit it, you sing along.3
Night of the Hunter – 30 Seconds to Mars. I’ve got like three different versions of this song, I think…
Running Up That Hill – Track & Field. This shows up in a lot of my playlists and I love it. If you want to know why, go watch Warehouse 13. You’ll know.
Viva La Primadonna – phenste.4 Mashups are fun, and I may or may not have an acapella version of this as an Evil Plan for the future.
Sheets – Damien Jurado. A good one for singing.
Viva La Vida – Coldplay. It’s a classic!
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions in the Sky. This is and forever will be the single greatest song of all time.
Cemeteries of London – Coldplay. Man, that was a good album overall.
Violet Hill – Coldplay. Like I said, a good album.
Pyres of Varanasi – THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS.5 This one is fun.
Safe and Sound – Capital Cities. You are already humming the one riff from this song.
Atlas – Coldplay. This list is, what, half Coldplay so far?
Up in Flames – Coldplay. Mylo Xyloto!
Safe & Sound (feat. The Civil Wars) – Taylor Swift. This one also shows up in a lot of these lists. I just enjoy it a lot.
Abraham’s Daughter – Arcade Fire. The Hunger Games soundtracks are all really good, to be honest.
Hero – Darren Hayes. This pops back into my head at random.
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay. Also great for singing along to!
Try – Colbie Caillat. The music video for this one makes me smile.
The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV) – Troye Sivan. Oh god, mah feels.
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman. This one was a ‘what was that song my dad always used to play?’ find.
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone. There’s like ten words in this whole song but it’s so great.
Ignition – Casa Murilo. Ooh, I forgot about this one.
The One Moment – OK Go. Somebody told me to listen to OK Go, so I did.
Giving Up – Haerts. Haerts is a strange word to say, even in my head.
Plastic Covered Furniture – Have Mercy. I like the beginning of this song but I’m not sure about the rest of it.
Long Long Way – Damien Rice. I think I downloaded this because I thought it was Damien Jurado?
Trusty And True – Damien Rice. I mean, clearly it was a good decision.
The Box – Damien Rice. Seriously, though.
I Don’t Want To Change You – Damien Rice. I’m actually adding this one back into my current playlist. It’s gone self-referential already.
It Takes A Lot To Know A Man – Damien Rice. Last one. I think.
Let It Go – Saint Saviour. No, it’s not Elsa.
Adrift – Tarwater. I can’t remember if this is post-rock or ambient, and I’m too lazy to move the window I’m typing in over to see. What does that say about me?
Mutatis – Blueneck. Oh man, Blueneck.
Father, Sister – Blueneck. I’m flashing back to the bus rides I had all January.
Broken Fingers – Blueneck. I’m adding some of these back into my current list again, dang.
Man Of Lies – Blueneck. Fun fact: I’ve pulled a Damien Jurado/Damien Rice kind of confusion with Blueneck and another band.
King Nine – Blueneck. The other one, whose name I can’t remember, was screamo I think?
Sirens – Blueneck. Needless to say, it was very different.
Counting Out – Blueneck. Alright, last one I think.
Shut Up and Dance – WALK THE MOON. According to Wired, I believe, this is the song of the summer. It just… came out forever ago?
Animal – XOV. Ooh, we’ve hit the Hunger Games again.
Scream My Name – Tove Lo. This is too energetic for me to listen to right before I go to bed.
The Leap – Tinashé. I really just couldn’t remember which song this was.
Lost Souls – Raury. I was going to say something about this song but now I’m thinking about Rory on Doctor Who.
All My Love (feat. Ariana Grande) – Major Lazer. I also completely forgot about this one.
Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde. I have an instrumental cover of this somewhere.
Dead Air – CHVRCHES. Just… try to say ‘CHVRCHES’. Like, “Chvrches” I mean, not “churches.” It’s fun!
Lesser Oceans – Fences. And another chunk of one album.
My Mountain Is Cold – Fences. Like I said.
Sunburns – Fences. Don’t remember this one.
Running Off The Gods – Fences. Or this one.
Arrows (feat. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) – Fences. I’m still unsure on if this one is supposed to be a gay allegory or not.
The Lake – Fences. I do remember this one. A bit of an earworm, I think.
O (Live At Royce Hall, Los Angeles) – Coldplay. More Coldplay!
Oceans (Live At E-Werk, Cologne) – Coldplay. I’m not actually much of a concert-goer.
Another’s Arms (Live At the Beacon Theatre, New York) – Coldplay. And yet, all this live music.
Midnight (Live At the Royal Albert Hall, London) – Coldplay. I wonder how long it took them to make this album?
True Love (Live At the Enmore Theatre, Sydney) – Coldplay. I mean, we’re at, like, three continents already?
Always In My Head (Live At the Royal Albert Hall, London) – Coldplay. Oh good, they got multiple songs from one concert at least.
On the Frame – Beta Radio. I don’t really remember this one…
First Began – Beta Radio. But I do remember this one. Slightly nostalgic, somehow.
I Am Mine – Beta Radio. And I remember singing this one in the shower. Huh.
The Lord is Out of Control (Nils Frahm Remix) – Mogwai. Ugh, yes, this song.
No Medicine For Regret (Pye Corner Audio Mix) – Mogwai. I love Mogwai’s names. Just… for everything.
Re-Remurdered (Blanck Mass Remix) – Mogwai. Seriously, that name.
Teenage Exorcists – Mogwai. I mean, this is the band that brought us “The Sun Smells Too Loud” on the album The Hawk is Howling, so…6
Better Not Wake the Baby – The Decemberists. I think the best word for this one is ‘rollicking.’
Carolina Low – The Decemberists. Definitely not rollicking.
Cavalry Captain – The Decemberists. Now that I think about it, the lead singer’s voice kinda reminds me of the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie.
The Singer Addresses His Audience – The Decemberists. This is one that you should listen to the lyrics closely, it’s funny.
Strong Hand – CHVRCHES. “Chuh-ver-ches?”
Recover [KDA Remix] – CHVRCHES. I have a weakness for remixes of songs, I think.
The Days – Avicii. How did I even get Avicii?
Remains (Bastille Vs. Rag N Bone Man Vs. Skunk Anansie) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. This is hopefully the longest song title in this list.
Weapon (Bastille Vs. Angel Haze Vs. F*U*G*Z Vs. Braque) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. I’m looking forwarded to how confused my Markdown processor gets by the third name in there.7
Axe To Grind (Bastille Vs. Tyde Vs. Rationale) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. What’s the non crossfaded version sound like?
The Driver (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. This one would probably be the easiest to do that comparison on, I assume.
Bad_News (Bastille Vs. Mnek) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. My laptop really doesn’t like ‘Mnek.’
Bite Down (Bastille Vs. Haim) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille. Last bit of Bastille for a while.
Silver – The Neighborhood. I’m glad I don’t have to type the album name, because that would also confuse the crap out of Markdown.
Oaso San – Totorro. Isn’t that a movie?
Motte-Rock – Totorro. The band name, I mean.
Home Alone – Totorro. I mean, I know I’ve got Google right here, but actually checking sounds like a lot of work.
Return – The Phoenix Foundation. I have… no memory of this song.
Driving Home for Christmas – Blueneck. You thought we were done with Blueneck, didn’t you?
Miracles – Coldplay. Okay, apparently we were.
2014 – Daniel Kim. Pop. Dan. Thology.
2013 – Daniel Kim. Fun fact: these are where I first hear a large chunk of the year’s pop hits.
Immortals – Fall Out Boy. I have a sped-up Fall Out Boy song somewhere that’s better than the original.
Novocaine – Fall Out Boy. I’m slightly bothered that ‘fallout’ isn’t one word.
The Kids Aren’t Alright – Fall Out Boy. To be honest, this song is probably here by dint of the name alone.
Centuries – Fall Out Boy. Thanks to the internet, they probably will be remembered for centuries!
Irresistible – Fall Out Boy. I don’t remember this song at all.
Springworlds – Inventions. Don’t they have an album out now? I should look that up.
Mombasa – 2CELLOS. I feel like using a cello as a drum is slightly cheating.
Thunderstruck – 2CELLOS. On the other hand, this is some impressive cello music, so whatever.
I Will Wait – 2CELLOS. And a cover! Isn’t that how they got started? Who knows! (The internet does.)
And there we go! That big long list is my January playlist. That took longer to type than I thought, my fingers are tired.

I’m heading to bed now folks. Enjoy the music!


  1. I have no idea what the formatting for this is going to be like – it might change quite a bit between this post and the next one and the one after that. 
  2. I’ll admit it. I never get the timing right – the bridge is just so long, it feels like it should end sooner. 
  3. It’s a mashup that I found online somewhere! Tumblr, I think, though I’m not sure. Google ‘phenste’ and you’ll find it eventually. 
  4. I’m almost entirely certain this is the same band as 30 Seconds to Mars. I really don’t know why iTunes called it something different – they forgot their iTunes Connect password, I guess? 
  5. I had to look that one up, but I knew the name was “The Sun Smells Too Loud” because my main Pandora station just loves that song. And so do I! 
  6. Updated to fix this, but it originally appeared as FUG*Z, rather than F*U*G*Z. 
Categories
Technology

iOS 9 and Search

So, I’ve been using the iOS 9 beta for a couple weeks now. (I think? Don’t cite me on dates, I don’t keep track of time very well.)

Other than the app switcher, which I have a whole host of problems with, the biggest bit of weirdness is probably the Search from LaunchPad.1

Because the pull-down-to-search thing is still there. It’s got ‘app suggestions from Siri’ when you first open the menu, which… okay, whatever. And the search functionality itself has improved quite a bit.

But.

That menu off to the left side, with all the suggestions? Super helpful! And… it also has a search bar? The icon for that page is even the little magnifying glass that makes everyone think of search. And using the search bar in there produces… the exact same results.

That just seems like a waste of space to me. Maybe swap it out for direct Siri integration, for those times when you don’t want to be That Guy talking into your phone, but still want to make Siri do some gruntwork for you?

Just a thought.


  1. In case you’re going ‘what is that,’ it’s the Computer Nerd name for the home screen with all the apps. 
Categories
Technology

WWDC

I’m just putting together a quick couple responses to Apple’s WWDC news from the day – everything is a little bit crazy at the moment, turns out that moving is a lot of work. So, things I found interesting:

Categories
Photography

Zoo!

So, the other day I wound up going to the zoo with my mom and my cousin – he’s at the age where nothing is more fascinating than animals and trains. Fortunately, our local zoo has both of those things, so he was just in hog heaven.

Categories
Review

Pay Me, Bug!

I finished Christopher Wright’s Pay Me, Bug! last night, and I’ve gotta say, I enjoyed the heck out of it. It was a space opera in the best sense of the term; in fact, I think I’d argue that it’s the best example of a space opera I’ve ever read.1 It’s got, at least, that most important aspect of a space opera: a sense that huge things are happening… in the background.

Categories
Review

The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl

I finished reading The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl last night. I also just got the book yesterday morning, so that really tells you what I thought of it. I can definitely see why it passed the Immerse or Die test.1 Which is, incidentally, how I wound up hearing about the book, as a tangential reference from an author I follow who has a book in the Immerse or Die StoryBundle. I’ve been meaning to get that book2 and read it at some point, and the descriptions of some of the other books fascinated me.3 So I dropped enough money on it to get the full bundle, Bonus Books included.4 And now, having burned through the first of those books in a single day, I figured, clearly I enjoyed reading it enough to ignore a bunch of my responsibilities5 and curl up in a chair and read for hours on end, so I should probably do it the honor of a review.

Categories
Technology

TARS

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Interstellar, and then I went and watched this video. It’s a behind-the-scenes bit on TARS and CASE, the robots in the film. Those ‘bots were, of course, one of my favorite aspects of the whole thing.
They were so well-executed, and a lovely counterpoint to David in Prometheus. David was skeumorphism to the extreme, designed to look exactly like a human. When he (spoiler alert) gets damaged, you see a lot of biotech internals, nanowhatever and fluid that doesn’t look like blood, but definitely doesn’t look like oil.1

Categories
Technology

Cities: Skylines

I may or may not have spent four hours yesterday playing Cities: Skylines. It was, to me, a worthwhile use of my time.1 The game is very enjoyable, and I’m planning to spent a lot more time playing it over the next week.2

Seriously, go check it out.3 The game’s really nice, looks great, and runs on approximately every operating system.4 I had fun gaming on my MacBook5 – it is what I refer to as a beast of a machine, because it’s got the best specs you can cram into a MacBook without doing your own modifications, and it runs the game at near-maxed settings with ease. Sure, the fan is screaming and the battery percentage drops faster than a lead weight in a vacuum, but I’m gaming on a laptop, so I really can’t expect more.

I’ve got one or two issues with the game, but they don’t come up until later – the most noticeable is the same thing that my favorite “reviewer” mentioned when he talked about it – there’s no real way to lose. No disasters, and no negative levels on the RCI demand.6 Now, I’m not really complaining about the lack of disasters – I was always too frustrated by them in SimCity 4, because the learning curve on that game was too steep for me to ever really get off the ground. Cities is distinctly easier – more ‘casual,’ I’d say. And I like that lot.

Oh, right, I said I had one other issue, although it’s not technically an issue with the game. I wanted to tinker with the sandbox-style settings, so I used the built-in mods7 to give myself unlimited money and unlock everything. Except… the ‘unlock everything’ one only pushed the population numbers to max just long enough to hit those unlocks. Plenty of things were still locked due to not having hit their prerequisites, and that really bothered me. Mostly because I just wanted to build the fusion reactor, and I couldn’t! It was very tragic.

Oh well, I got to build a space elevator at least, so I’m still happy. It’s a good game, and now I’m going to go write a paper so I can play some more. Priorities!


  1. I don’t do much gaming anymore because I’m so very busy, and I tend to find lower-time-useage ways to get rid of my stress. 
  2. Some people party over spring break. I am not one of those people. 
  3. Today the link is to the Humble Store, instead of AmazonSmile. Humble has a lovely bit in their checkout process where they split the proceeds of the sale between the developers, a bit to ‘keep the servers running,’ and the rest to charity. Plus, you get Steam keys! 
  4. I believe it’s listed as being compatible with Linux, though I’m not sure which distros. If you’re running linux, though, I figure you’re smart enough to make it work. 
  5. If you’re going to be gaming on a MacBook, though, go into Steam’s settings and disable the in-game overlay, then quit out of Steam, then use Activity Monitor to force quit the inevitable bits of Steam that locked up instead of closing, then reopen steam, then launch the game. Otherwise, it’ll crash instantly. Shoutout to Valve, you’re doing good work over there.  
  6. Okay, there’s clearly negative numbers, but they aren’t visible to the user, they’re just used to run the internals. I can tell by the way the demand for everything says ‘zero’ but the map says ‘all these buildings are being abandoned because nobody wants them.’ 
  7. Somehow that feels wrong to say. 
Categories
Articles

Recommend A Book

Prompt: If you could recommend one book, which one would it be?

Not the most well-formed sentence of a prompt, but I can work with that. I’m also going to add a rule of “I can’t use any of the books from my what I’m reading or favorite books lists.”

I’ll cheat a little bit, though, because once you remove my favorite authors, as I did by blocking out everything from my ‘favorite books’ list, there’s not a whole lot left. So I’m going to use one of the bits of ‘minutia’ of that list, and say that the one book I’d recommend to everyone is Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.1

Diamond Age is a rather sprawling book, but it tackles a lot of topics that I find utterly fascinating.2 There’s a lot of nanotechnology, which is used to touch on the cosmetic and medical uses that become possible, including some of the issues of ethics that show up when you’ve got the tech to rewrite someone’s brain. There’s a well-thought-out conceptualization of the sort of changes in society that the advent of atomic-level manipulation3 would bring. Hell, there’s even a good discussion of parenting, with special consideration for parenting through a digital remove, something that’s becoming more and more relevant in our increasingly connected world.

In short, Diamond Age is a fascinating read, and that’s what I’d recommend to everyone to read. Of course, Stephenson being who he is, that isn’t the only book of his that I’d recommend: Snow Crash4 is another phenomenal piece of work. I’ve read both Snow Crash and Neuromancer, which are widely considered to be the two pieces of cyberpunk literature, and I personally enjoyed Snow Crash a lot more. Sure, Neuromancer had a space station and I’m always a fan of space stations, but the idioms involved felt a little bit dated to me. Snow Crash, despite being written before Tron was released, still feels modern. And who doesn’t love a good parody of capitalism? Check it out, it’s pretty great.

Once more, I’ll make an attempt to bait reader interaction: got any books that I should really read? Hit up the comments and let me know.


  1. This isn’t an Amazon Affiliate link, which is the normal practice for people blogging with links to Amazon, but instead an AmazonSmile link. Instead of the referral percentage going to me, it’ll go to a charity of your choice. 
  2. Plus it’s just badass; how many books can you accurately describe with the phrase “post-scarcity neo-Victorianist” with no exaggeration? Answer: not enough
  3. By means of what is essentially a really fancy 3D printer 
  4. AmazonSmile link again. You might also notice that I’m directly linking to the Kindle books, because saving paper is good for the environment and stuff. 
Categories
Review

My Favorite Books

I’m dropping this bit of introduction in at the start to explain a bit: I wrote this post about a week ago, and I’m posting it now because a) I was too ill to do anything yesterday, and b) Terry Pratchett, mentioned below, passed away on Thursday. He was an amazing writer, and a huge inspiration to me and millions of others. I was consciously aware of the fact that he was dying – his decline due to Alzheimer’s Disease is a matter of public record – and I’d even read his last book, Raising Steam, which was almost painful to read. It was an amazing book, capturing that sense of building something that made me love The Truth so much, and it managed to include just about every character he’d ever written – a tall order in a series that covered more than 50 books and pieces of spin-off media. And it hurt so much because it was so clearly a goodbye. He knew he wasn’t long for this world, and he was able to say goodbye in such a beautiful way. So I’m dedicating this post to Sir Terry Pratchett: you were a phenomenal man, and you will never be forgotten.

Continuing my trend of ‘favorite [category of media]’ posts, I’m gonna talk about some of my favorite books today! (I did that post about what I’m reading a little while ago, but this is more about the stuff that I’ll go back to time and time again.)

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Easily my favorite book, this is (quoting the cover) a tour de force of a book, written as a response to her own “Tough Guide to Fantasyland,” which mocked the stereotypical fantasy novel. Dark Lord is set in one of those stereotypical fantasy novel, but from the other perspective: the ‘hero’ of the novel is actually a tourist, paying an exorbitant amount of money to an exploitative tour agency in order to go on an adventure in another world with magic and monsters. The book ignores those ‘heroes’ and instead follows the ‘dark lord,’ someone who was forced to take up the role to make the tourists experience a proper ‘adventure.’ In true DWJ style, the book starts off slow, but by the time you hit the midpoint of the novel, you realize that you’re physically incapable of putting the book down.

High Wizardry by Diane Duane

I had to think about which of Diane Duane’s books I wanted to mention – Omnitopia: Dawn was a strong contender, but I can still remember where I was when I got So You Want To Be A Wizard, the first book in her Young Wizards series (which includes High Wizardry). The series is one of my favorite of all time, and while I’m not entirely sure if the chronology matches up, I often attribute my wanting to be a programmer with the influence that the Young Wizards series had on my life. The idea that magic wasn’t some sort of inherent trait, but just the ability to convince the world to do what you wanted, combined with the concept that it was just a matter of saying a few words… Well, it got even better when, in High Wizardry, the concept of a computer as an instrument of magic was explored in a beautiful way that, aside from the very specific elements of the computer in question, still feels like science fiction.1

The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce

I tried, I really tried, but I couldn’t pick just one. Honestly, her other major set of works, the Tortall series, is also amazing, and should probably show up as another contender on here, but I had to put the Circle first because it’s what I read first. It’s a beautiful exploration of a unique system of magic with characters that I fall in love with all over again every time I read the books.2 Seriously, go read them, I cannot recommend them enough. And I’m still hoping for a movie series, it would be perfect.

The Truth by Terry Pratchett

Another one where it was hard to pick from a massive series, The Truth follows the invention and growth of the newspaper and newspaper industry in Ankh-Morpork, the ‘big wahooni’ of the Discworld. I’ve read just about3 every book Sir Pratchett4 wrote,5 and I’ve loved very nearly all of them. But it’s this one that stood out the most to me – the sense of something being built, plus the characteristic silliness6 and just a hint of hair-raising horror make it my favorite out of his works.

Honorable Mention

I’ve also got to throw a plug for David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster in here, just because that was the other book that was a big influence on my footnote usage. Another one I read in high school english, Cloud Atlas, goes in here, because of how I reacted when I read the last couple pages of Letters from Zedelgheim. No spoilers, but I’ll just say that I was blissfully oblivious to all of the subtext going on, and when I figured it out on the second-to-last page I dropped the book and sat in silence for a while, and was rather inconsolable for the next couple days. I’ll also drop a plug for Robert Sawyer’s WWW trilogy, which has had a lot of influence on my ideas about artificial intelligence, and another for Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, which is why I’m so hopeful about the future of 3D printing. A mention for Iain Banks’ Culture series, a beautiful, sprawling set of space operas which I adore. Finally, a shoutout to Patricia C. Wrede, who wrote both the Enchanted Forest series and the Frontier Magic series, both of which I would be happy to read another thousand times.

I read a lot, folks. Hit up those comments – have you read any of these books? And what are your favorites? I’m always looking for more to read!


  1. That is to say, it doesn’t feel out of date, at all. A ‘new millenium edition’ was recently released, which made it work out even better, but it honestly had aged beautifully before that. 
  2. I’m being deliberately vague about which series I’m talking about because, honestly, it’s true of both. 
  3. but not quite 
  4. He was knighted for his writing. Yes, he was that good. 
  5. I’m adding this footnote in as part of my editing sweep – I’ll admit to having had to blink back tears as I changed this to the past tense. 
  6. And footnotes, which clearly influenced me a lot.