Good news, I have caught the reading bug again. This took off roughly two years ago but I’ve really caught some fire the past year of so. The major thing that rekindled my urge to read was visiting books I previously read. The reread! Very pretentious when brought up discussing books (which never comes up in conversation for me, thankfully, my friends/family aren’t really avid readers outside my mom who reads different stuff than I do) but an enjoyable undertaking.

Pretentious pic to go along with pretentious activity when overtly discussed

The reread is interesting to me on two very significant levels. First I set out to read books that I really liked the first time around. This makes sense, why subject yourself to something that was a chore or you didn’t like. A bit more on this later. Second, it’s interesting to see how your opinions of the books change over time.

Most of the books I read again I still enjoyed but I definitely liked some more than others and vice versa the second time around. As I’ve mentioned Cryptonomicon, a book I loved, become my favorite book of all-time after my reread. It also led me to read more Neal Stephenson and also queue up more of his output for future reading as well.

Another example of a book I still really enjoyed (but maybe not quite as much the second time) was Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude. The book is split into two parts, one focused on the main character as he grew up in Brooklyn. The other half the main character is older and living in Berkley, California and he travels back to Brooklyn. On my initial read I remember enjoying the second half of the book more, but this time I really liked the first half of the book much more than the second half. It’s interesting to see how your memories and opinions can change over time and I thought this was a striking example of that fact.

This leads me to the main point of topic of this post. I read the book Daemon around the year 2008 or so. It’s a technological thriller based on a video game creator who dies but releases a daemon which is a background computer process that automates and wreaks havoc on society and changes our culture. This book was written by Daniel Suarez who is a former IT consultant turned author. Before I get further into this, the technology appears to be correct and the scenario (at least the initial onset of the daemon functions) not too far-fetched. I also apparently liked this book cause I rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads back in the day and lent it out to a friend. I repurchased it and the sequel Freedom (TM) and was really excited to read both when I started roughly a month ago.

I shouted Freedom! upon finishing these books

The worst book I’ve ever read until I set out on the journey to read these books was I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe is an iconic author but he set this on a modern day college campus and it sounds like an old disconnected man writing about college life (he was 74 when he wrote it). It’s truly awful but now only the second worst book I’ve ever read. Daemon is the third worst book and Freedom (TM) is the worst book.

These books are so preposterous and shockingly bad, it’s hard to imagine what I was thinking roughly 15 years ago when I gave Daemon that 4 star rating. The characters are beyond cliché and the dialog is worst I’ve ever read in a novel. Chat GPT sounds way more natural than any of the characters in these novels. Also, characters are introduced as if they may have important roles but they often only appear only briefly or never again.

The sinister daemon created by the evil madman video gamer creator starts off as a really bad thing. It at one point tortures a character for 46 hours straight with snuff films Clockwork Orange style. By the end of the second book the daemon has become the good guy and freed the world from the real bad guys (corporations and mercenary for hire government contractors). Things just happen to aid the barely coherent plot. I’m being polite here, this thing is an utter piece of shit, way worse than it even sounds in my brief recap.

I started hate reading this thing about 150 pages into Daemon and just wondered, again, how I could have possibly enjoyed this book? The major take-away for me, and a positive one, is the power of the reread though and how perceptions can change over time. So all in all reading this book again and the awful sequel wasn’t a total waste of time.