It’s a new year, a new decade and a renewed opportunity to read great non-fiction and fiction that strikes at the heart of the ambition, power and challenges of technology and its effect on society at large.
That’s why TechCrunch is launching an informal “book club” for our readers, starting next week. The idea is to bring our audience together around an important piece of writing, discuss it and, perhaps, learn a thing or two (or just enjoy great writing). This is a beta test — we are going to figure out the logistics a bit along the way (“move fast and read things”).
I’m borrowing from Josh Wolfe at Lux Capital to select Exhalations by Ted Chiang as our first book.
As Arman Tabatabai wrote in our overview:
Chiang’s newest work is a collection of science fiction short stories and novelettes that stray away from the speculative dystopian side of the genre. Using common sci-fi motifs such as aliens and AI proliferation, the selected writings instead dial-in on the characters living in these imagined universes as they examine how societal and technological evolutions impact the ethical, philosophical and cognitive aspects of the human psyche and existence.
"Exhalations" has not only been lauded by the likes of VCs, but was also selected as a top 10 book of the year by The New York Times for 2019.
For next week, we will start slowly and just read the first short story in the collection, “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate.” There are nine chapters in "Exhalations," some very short, some longer, and we will balance out the reading over the next 4-6 weeks or so.
Each week, we will read a story or two from the book, and I will curate responses from any reader who wants to email me their thoughts about what they just read for a post on Tuesday (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). TechCrunch has discussion comments available on our posts, so we can continue the conversation there, as well.
Update: There is no sign up mechanism. You can follow our feed for these posts here.
Join us! And if you have feedback on this concept, feel free to email me at email@example.com.