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Friday fun: what are you reading?

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

I was traveling this week, so spent a lot of time reading on airplanes. I read The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, which are "new" Agatha Christies written by a different author. They were fun airplane reads but didn't hold up against the classic Christies. (Read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd if you haven't yet, and avoid spoilers.)

I also finished Lost City of the Monkey God, a nonfiction book about the search for a lost city in Honduras that I'm reading with @Ashley Elder and @Stephanie Grice.  And finally, I'm making my way through 100 Years of Solitude, which I've been trying to read for years and have never managed to finish.

So, what are you reading? 

Click here to read or contribute to previous Friday fun threads


The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer.  Pretty farfetched but was addictive.  Since I was a twilight fan (yes I admit it), always curious to see what she's writing these days.  The Host was better.

Currently reading the ever controversial Jodi Picoult - Small Great Things.

One of the best reads in the past year has been Defending Jacob by William Landry.  VERY GOOD.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

I read all the Twilight books! No shame, no shame. :)

I will add Defending Jacob to my list, sounds interesting. 

Currently reading The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil 

Next up is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

 (Lost City of the Monkey God looks cool! Added it to my To-read Trello board!)

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Oooh, I'm intrigued by The Age of Spiritual Machines.  How is it so far?

And is your Trello book board public? ;) 

Erica Moss Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Love the idea of using a Trello board to track your to-read list. 😄

Mark A. Atlassian Team Sep 22, 2017

^^ That's a really good idea. I may have to try this.

Here's a public Trello board I created based on this discussion.

Feel free to add books and share :) 

Erica Moss Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Blair, for the WIN.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

@Blair at Atlassian that's awesome! Can you add me? I'll add some stuff to the Fiction section which is sadly lonely right now. Come on, Fiction!

(Some awesome fiction: The Hate U Give, The Sympathizer, Americanah, Version Control, IQ, 11/22/63.) 

@Monique vdB added you and updated the link so everyone can join! :llamayay:

JoCo Atlassian Team Sep 22, 2017

In the Atlassian office in Austin, our book club is reading the classic The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman. I read the first version years ago, and the revised version is quite updated—almost a new book.

On my own, my latest fun read (started this morning) is Die Trying of the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Does it hold up, @JoCo? I've never read either version.

I love that we all have our fun reads.

I'm in chapter 4 of The Design of Everyday Things right now @Monique vdB. It's a great book for anyone who's ever been frustrated when something didn't work as expected.

The updates are good and go along with the maturation of the design field.

Peter DeWitt Community Leader Sep 22, 2017

Just finished:

SCRUM - The art of doing twice the work in half the time

Jeff Sutherlan

- nice easy read.  gets into the origins of scrum and the core process.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Sounds like a good book for this crowd especially. 

Leslie Lee Atlassian Team Sep 22, 2017

This is cheating since I listened to it on CD, but it was the BEST "book" I've listened to - Trevor Noah's Born a Crime. His story is amazing and I loved listening to Trevor Noah narrate it.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

As someone who commutes via audiobook, I don't think it's cheating! I am listening to A Place of Execution right now and looking forward to Behold the Dreamers, which supposedly is great on audio. We should swap audio CDs.

I had to give up on the audiobook of Wild (loved the book, hated the narrator, read it on my Kindle instead). 

And thanks for the Trevor Noah tip! I will add it to my list. 

Mark A. Atlassian Team Sep 22, 2017

I just finished "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" and have started the following:


  • World War Z by Max Brooks (I've heard it's best to listen vs reading)


  • Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century
  • On the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio
Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Thanks for the suggestion on World War Z.  I think it's a zombie apocalypse oral history which would definitely make for a good audiobook.  Let me know how it is!

Mark A. Atlassian Team Sep 22, 2017

Will do!

Mark A. Atlassian Team Jan 02, 2019

I thought I responded but I didn't.

World War Z audiobook was fantastic but it is abridged so I double dipped and read the actual book which is also fantastic.

I had a lot of time to read while sitting in airports and aircrafts (the entertainment system broke down, so there were no distractions...) and I read "The Girl in the Spider's Web" by David Lagercrantz (Book 4 of the Millenium Trillogy by Stieg Larsson). I almost finished the book.

I'm also reading "A song of ice and fire" by George R R Martin. Game of Thrones based on these books. Now reading  book 7 ( I think in the US it's book 4, in Germany the books were divided in two).

Another awesome experience was "S" by J J Abrams. Not easy to understand, a book with a lot of different levels, stories nested into each other (at least four of them), inserted to the books are fotos, postcards, plans, letters, everything is a gigantic riddle, I did not totally understand, but it was great. Really great.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Wow, hadn't even heard of S. Sounds interesting!

It is, but you have to read the real book, no ebook, no audiobook. This would be just half the fun.

The story is about an old library book (the book S) and two students who communicate with each other through writings into this library book. They put things into the original book, comment the book and try to detect the big secret about the original author - and get into danger themselves...

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

Duly noted -- I will definitely get the real book, on paper and everything. :)

After finishing reading all these Ikea assembly instructions this week, I am returning to "The Perfect Bet: How science and mathematics are taking the luck out of gambling". 

Next on the list is Charlie Stross's "Wireless" (I'm way behind - it's 8 years old), "Written on the Skin" by Liz Porter, or a re-read of a pTerry Pratchett.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 22, 2017

I'm going to bring you with me next time I hit the blackjack tables, then, Nic!

Ahh, good choice, Blackjack is the game you're most likely to be able to "beat" in a casino.

Don't even touch the roulette wheel - the opening chapters in the book are about people who could beat them, and the only way to do it was to collect data on each individual wheel's "personality".  They ended up building tests for casinos to ensure more modern wheels are truly random, and hence impossible to beat.

I'm definitely not bad at blackjack, but I'm not good at counting cards.  You might say I know when to hold em, know when to fold em. I know when to walk away. And when to run.

Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 5.25.24 PM.png

(Yes I know this is poker, but Kenny Rogers didn't write a song about blackjack. "You gotta know when to split em... know when to hit em... know when to double down... and when to stand...") 

Fun reading has taken a back seat lately, as I study for certs, So it's been a lot of Jira Admin books, papers, blogs, etc.  But I'm about due for some light reading, which means I need to pick back up the YA reading and finish the Series of Unfortunate Events books.  :-)  They are wonderfully dark and yet light reads all at the same time.

Monique vdB Community Manager Sep 27, 2017

I loved those. :)  Lemony Snicket did a children's book called 13 words that I've been reading to my daughter since she was three. The words are like bird... goat... baby... despondent.... haberdashery....

Jack Brickey Community Leader Dec 20, 2018

I recently downloaded and consumed a free four book set (David Wolf Mystery Thriller 4-book series about a sheriff in the mountains of Colorado). It was free on Amazon, was looking to try a new author, wanted something light and, well it was free. Overall I enjoyed it but there were aspects that I disliked. That said I did buy the 5th book for $5. I sort of felt I owed it to the author (Jeff Carson) after the first four. ;-)

That said, I'm still a diehard fan of Lincoln/Child Agent Pendergast series and have the next book lined up when it releases to Kindle at the end of the month.

Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Dec 20, 2018

My book recommendations for this year: 

"Days Without End" by Sebastian Barry

"A little life" by Hanya Yanagihara

Both books are so intense and so special, you can't stop reading.

Monique vdB Community Manager Dec 20, 2018

"A Little Life" is compulsively readable while also being the most depressing thing ever. This essay from the Atlantic really unlocked the novel for me!

For all the SciFi/Fantasy fans...

If you haven't read "The Kingkiller Chronicles" by Patrick Rothfuss you really should. The main story is three books, two have been published (The Name of the Wind and The Wiseman's Fear. The world is anxiously awaiting the third and final book, Doors of Stone and hoping the author doesn't go out like Robert Jordan. 

I could talk for hours about The Stormlight Archives, Mistborn, Sunrunners, Green Riders, Thomas Covenant, , and Inda, but I'll leave those for you all to discover. 

I do, however want to recommend a bit of an obscure one....The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jannie Wurts, and Jennifer Roberson. In the mid-90's these three fantasy powerhouses collaborated on a book that followed a family of artists over several hundred years.   The book uses iconography in a society based on the Spanish Moors to set the plot, develop characters, etc. I don't know if it was the collaboration, the story, or slow pace starting out, but it was not well received by critics and can be hard to find.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to read The Golden Key before April and be prepared to discuss it at Summit. No, this message will not self-destruct in ten...nine...eight... 

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@Scott Theus - Task accepted - I ordered them (in German the book is divided into three separate books)  at an antiquarian bookshop 

Like Scott Theus likes this

The Kingkiller series has been on my wait list to get into. I listened to part of the first one and was hooked on it!

I am still on the Stormlight Archives first book, decided to take a break while I work through the Mistborn series first. But both are amazing series. 

Also been thinking about trying out the Reckoners series as well. Not sure if I want to do that before I start up on Stormlight again or after.


The Golden Keys seems interesting I accept the challenge, as long as my library has an audio version of it!

I give two thumbs up to the Brandon Sanderson books you mentioned. Right now he is by far my favorite author. Anything he writes is gold to me.

Like Scott Theus likes this

I just finished Warbreaker...I've had my head in the Cosmere all year.

Like Davin Studer likes this

I liked Warbreaker. It would be cool to see another in that series. Did you notice that Nightblood (the sword) and Vasher both show up in The Stormlight Archive?

Could not agree more about the Kingkiller Chronicles. Got hooked on Patrick Rothfuss’ books, waiting for the third book had me reading the novellas.

Like Scott Theus likes this
Bryan Trummer Community Leader Dec 20, 2018

On my commute to work over the past few months I have read (listened) to quite a few books. Here are some series that I am currently enjoying and working my way through.

Mistborn Series (I'm on book 2, the way Brandon Sanderson interweaves stories and characters later on is amazing) - Brandon Sanderson

The Mortal Engines Series (4 book series, I'm on book 3, some predictability at times but very interesting character development) - Phillip Reeves (The movie isn't bad either!)

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (The movie did a disservice to the book, do yourself a favor and read the book there is so much in here for the board game/role playing/ video gaming/ movie loving/ music loving culture its amazing.

Like Monique vdB likes this

Sanderson is awesome! My favorite author right now.

If you are up for starting an EPIC fantasy series I would recommend The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. The depth of that series and character development is immense. Over the course of the 14 (yes fourteen) books Jordan morphs and changes the characters so subtly that you don't really notice much, but when you go back and re-read the series you are struck by how much they all changed from the beginning to the end. Side not Jordan died after book 11 so Brandon Sanderson finished the series at the request of Jordan's wife.

My favorite author right now is Bandon Sanderson. He is an amazing writer. He is often called the "Magic System Guy" because all the magic systems in his books are so unique and different. He doesn't write your typical elves and wizards magic systems. I have loved every book he has written without exception.

Another great series if you are looking for something to read with kids is The Wingfeather Saga. It has just the right amount of fantasy, adventure, humor, danger, and drama to keep both kids and adults engaged.

Like Monique vdB likes this

I'm a big fan of The Wheel of Time. My theory is that Jordan planned to follow the typical 1970s-80's trend of publishing the story as a trilogy, followed by a second trilogy and end at Load of Chaos. But, after realizing the world-building potential he was getting into (and the increasing popularity of the Fantasy genre) he decided to expand it while he was wrapping up The Dragon Reborn. 

Like Davin Studer likes this
Monique vdB Community Manager Dec 20, 2018

Trying to get a jump on the Tournament of Books this year! One of my favorite books of the year made the finals, the other didn't: they are My Year of Rest and Relaxation and My Sister the Serial Killer. Currently reading and mostly enjoying The Italian Teacher. I started Call Me Zebra but did not enjoy so set it aside. 

I am also getting ready to participate in this year's Read Harder Challenge. I completed the challenge in 2018 and here is what I read (copied from my book blog). I particularly recommend Homegoing.

[X] Published posthumously: The Bright Hour
[X] True crime: I'll Be Gone in the Dark
[X] Classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance): A Study in Scarlet
[X] Comic written and illustrated by the same person: Your Black Friend
[X] Set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa): Shirley, Goodness and Mercy
[X] About nature: A Walk in the Woods
[X] Western: The Sisters Brothers
[X] Comic written or illustrated by a person of color: Your Black Friend
[X] Colonial or postcolonial literature: Homegoing
[X] Romance novel by or about a person of color: The Wedding Date
[X] Children’s classic published before 1980: A Wrinkle in Time
[X] Celebrity memoir: So Close To Being the S***, Y'all Don't Even Know
[X] Oprah Book Club selection: Love Warrior
[X] Book of social science: Nickel and Dimed
[X] A one-sitting book: Catch Me If You Can
[X] The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series: Space Case (Moon Base Alpha #1)
[X] Sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author: vN
[X] A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image: Your Black Friend
[X] Genre fiction in translation: Inkheart
[X] Book with a cover you hate: Down and Across
[X] Mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author: Righteous
[X] Essay anthology: Nasty Women
[X] Book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: Florence Gordon
[X] Assigned book you hated (or never finished): Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I think I can do this in 2019....we'll find out in the next Advent Calendar.

Monique vdB Community Manager Dec 20, 2018

Here are the categories for 2019:

  1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters
  2. An alternate history novel
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018
  4. A humor book
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
  6. A book by an AOC set in or about space
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
  11. A book of manga
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
  14. A cozy mystery
  15. A book of mythology or folklore
  16. An historical romance by an AOC
  17. A business book
  18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime
  20. A book written in prison
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
  23. A self-published book
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014
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After posting this in the 2018 Advent Calendar, I couldn't resist copying it here!


Herewith my current reading items !

Professional - Radical Candor
A really interesting philosophy on being a "kick-ass boss without losing your humanity". I find that much of its teachings is extremely relevant that equally challenging in introducing into the workplace.

Leisure reading - Frey & McCray series
Such enthralling reading! It's really captivating and I read the first two books 'Strings' and 'Fever' (plus the short story The Hunt) within days. Now about to start book 3.... 'Mask'. Cannot wait. These crime thrillers beautifully mix fantasy and logic and always deliver a unique and non-obvious twist at the end.


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Jack Brickey Community Leader Jan 02, 2019

@Andy - PTC Redundant, Radical Candor is a good read for sure. The author Kim Scott was the quest speaker at Summit 2017 in San Jose. I will have to look at Frey & McCray series as I am not familiar with the books/author.

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@Jack Brickey: Great to come across a fellow reader of Radical Candor ! 


I would imagine it was a great session. Have participated in a live Webinar of hers and it was really fun and informative.

I came across the books by pure chance... found The Strings Of Murder in an independent book store and never looked back! Books 1 & 2 are just lying around collecting dust. They're yours is you want them! Let me know.

Monique vdB Community Manager Jan 04, 2019

@Andy - PTC Redundant and @Jack Brickey, the entire community team has read Radical Candor!  @Leslie Lee bought it for her whole team and led a great discussion about how Radical Candor helps support our "open company" value. 

Like Andy - PTC Redundant likes this

@Monique vdB: That is absolutely awesome. I love hearing this!

Hats off to @Leslie Lee for insightful leadership and team spirit. 👒👏🥇 

Mark A. Atlassian Team Jan 02, 2019

I've finished 2018 reading:

  • Just Write
  • Storycraft
  • Writing the Breakout Novel
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Published
  • The Brand Gap
  • The Hedge Knight
  • Story Engineering


I've started 2019 reading:

  • The World of Ice and Fire
  • Atomic Habits


Up Next:

  • Fire & Blood
Like Adrian Stephen likes this

I am looking for books on unsolved mysteries. Any significant suggestions would be highly appreciated.


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