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These Days

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Connor Vast designs fake computer interfaces. Not the ones you see in sci-fi movies or primetime crime dramas, though he's worked on a couple of those in the past. The interfaces he designs tend to be static: they are the screens for prop computers in furniture showrooms. Young creative professional, child of the internet, refugee of the suburban Midwest, Connor goes about ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published April 2013 by Jack Cheng
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Christy Moyer
I wanted to love this book. Not only is Cheng an NYC local and a member of the tech community, he funded this novel—his first—on Kickstarter with a $10K goal. Had I known about the campaign before it ended, I probably would have donated, too—the plot was both fresh and intriguing.

But the book fell totally flat. Cheng read like a first-time author from the beginning. There were so many adjectives and adverbs worked into a single sentence—as if he had just passed the 4th grade lesson on descripti
Ellen Chisa
I backed Jack Cheng's Kickstarter project almost a year ago (July 2012). I did it sort of on a whim, and sort of because a bunch of my friends had and it seemed like the "cool" thing to do. I was skeptical about if it would come across as cliche, or anti-technology.

After that, I got a weekly update about the process of writing the book. I learned fascinating things about the cover design (which actually made me think I'd broken my fifth Kindle), the typography, and the process of editing at a hi
Israel Derdik
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the first novel I've read that accurately portrays the New York tech startup scene. As part of that world, I recognized a lot of the dilemmas and soul-searching that the characters go through. The ruminations of the main character resonated strongly with me as well. Overall, it was a great read and I'd be very curious to see how non-tech folks feel about it!
Frederic Jacobs
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a programmer myself and have been doing startups for a few years now. I can totally identify with Conner regarding dealing with deadlines, investors, team spirit.

Startups are requiring a lot of attention and hard work to succeed and it might not always easy to keep up with relationships. Good hints regarding that subject in the book.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sometimes it's about what you choose not to read," she said. "Every book we read or movie we see, every little experience becomes a part of who we are. If we're all watching the same things and reading the same things and listening to the same things, then our conversations would end up going in circles, reaffirming things we already know and agree about. There would be no surprises, no serendipity. It'd be like this big tragic echo chamber. It's just not for me." (44)

"A moment had a certain ki
Emily de Moura
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
In two shorts months, virtually every aspect of his life had changed. And it all had something to do with her, with the creature purring gently beside him.

Not gonna lie, I'm a liiiiiittle bit disappointed - mostly at myself, I guess.

I picked These Days after I read See You in the Cosmos, a really cute middle grade book by Jack Cheng. I had liked his second book so I thought I should give his first one a try. The problem is that, even though These Days is a very contemporary book, it is also, i
Todd Vogts
In the summer of 2012, I was looking around on to become familiar with how the whole crowd-funding process worked. I was considering a venture with a friend, and Kickstarter seemed like a possible way for us to get our project off the ground. We ended up not pursuing our endeavor, but along the way of my journey through the site, I did come across the project of Jack Cheng. He was writing a book (his first) called "These Days," and I was fascinated because he was attempting to fu ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Молодой дизайнер, стартапы, Нью-Йорк.

Не так много книг написано про людей нашего поколения. Обычных творческих работников, а не CTO всяких. Здесь мне абсолютно понятны герои: чем они живут, что обсуждают, чего хотят от жизни и друг от друга.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book captures some essential features of what it's like to be a millennial - a story of self-discovery, interpersonal connection, and the search for love that is all too poignant for those who have had similar struggles. For weeks after reading this book, the emotions, scenes, and dialogue followed me around my daily life, like shadows of real-life characters. My main critique is that I thought the reader wasn't given much reason to sympathize with the protagonist relative to the other char ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I am seldom a reader of fiction that is not rooted in fantasy or science, so books set in our modern world are foreign to me. So I was pleasantly surprised to find how engaging These Days was. Author Jack Cheng has a fluid narrative that is colorful and evocative of New York City and the characters' physical sensations. Reading a book where the events are realistic — two twenty-somethings meet, one who's planning his future, the other who's escaping her past — was actually a refreshing change ...more
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To start: I read this months ago, but have now decided that a review is needed.

I did not know about the kickstarter for this book, but instead received it through GoodreadsFirstReads. If I remember correctly, Jack Cheng himself sent it to me and told me to enjoy. It was one of the first books I won through a giveaway and was extremely excited about reading it.

Being a twenty-something myself, the idea of technology and its good and bad points drew me in. Being in university, I naturally have my p
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was NOT one of the Kickstarter backers, but I borrowed this book from my husband who was. He is a web designer/developer and he insisted that I read this book because a lot of what was in Connor's head was also in his. I guess as a person not in this industry it was a little slow going. There was a lot of detailed talk about the industry that went right over my head. I thought there were too many details during pitches that didn't really add to the story. So anyway, we have Connor who is not s ...more
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I signed up for the Kickstarter on a whim, because I always like when someone is willing to explore how modern technology is having an impact on society through the lens of a love story. I wasn't expecting the torrential, soulful outpouring of the writing process on a near weekly basis!

Needless to say, I was quite excited to finally read the finished work, and it didn't disappoint. Upon finishing the first chapter, I was a little worried this love story would fall on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl t
JD Estrada
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Time is the most valuable asset you have to invest in your life. Although intangible, it has its own weight, its own personality and cannot be recovered once spent. You can't earn more time than what you have in this life, for however long you live. Those are some pretty deep thoughts to come from reading a book, the thing is that reading These Days, I read myself in one of the characters while being able to compare the value of life experiences.

The details in life, the unexpected, the thrill of
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I backed this book on Kickstarter because I really liked the premise...a guy completely engrossed in technology falling for a girl who doesn't even have a cell phone...and oh yeah, they meet at IKEA. I wasn't really sure what to expect and had no connection to the author but got into the story quickly and found myself really interested in why this girl had no cell phone. I honestly couldn't imagine life without mine. I liked that it was set in current day New York and referenced a lot of things ...more
Dawn Lennon
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I discovered Jack Cheng who was a contributor to a wonderful business book, Maximize Your Potential edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Cheng wrote the closing essay on "The Better You." His style and points somehow got me to this, his first novel.

As a fiction book focused on basically 20-somethings struggling to find themselves and compatible careers in NYC, I was both intrigued and broadened. Cheng has a significant gift of observation and the ability to capture it in rich description. For some it may
Jens Ivar
I was one of the Kickstarter backers, but I did not have the time to read the book until today.

I liked the book. It had good moments and some great insights. The prose about the information age, technology and how it is affecting us was excellent.

But.. (there is always a but).. I often wondered if the the author knew where he was going with this story. The core of the story is the relationship between K and Connor, and it was an interesting relationship. But so many pages in the book was about
May 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this based on a recommendation by an author I enjoyed, but I found the writing to be unpolished and amateur. The way he writes about technology in his story and drops brand names was blatant, distracting, and annoying. Although I doubt that was the point, it could have been done with a lot more skill. Other tech themes in the book were also over-emphasized, cliched, and boring, like the swiping of phones, the mobile internet feed, the glow of his phone.

Having said this, I did find the re
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
I discovered this book via Kickstarted while the author was raising money to publish it.
By being funding it, I got weekly emails on the progress of it, and it built a certain relationship with the book and author.
It is totally appropriate considering the trials and errors of Connor the main character, one always connected, living via his phone and discovering a girl with only a land line and her approach to life.
It is very much a reflection of our time, our ways to live over connected and checki
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sono fan dei racconti di Jack da parecchio tempo e non ho atteso due volte prima di aiutarlo con il Kickstarter di questo libro. Ho adorato la presentazione e newsletter settimanale che inviava per tenerci aggiornati sugli sviluppi del libro, ho adorato praticamente tutto del libro tranne il libro stesso

Mi spiace dirlo ma la storia di base è "meh" in tutti i sensi, l'unico frangente interessante l'ho trovato nell'inserimento della tecnologia qua e la, ma il mio interesse si è concluso lì.

Un libr
Josh Straub
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ended up Kickstarting These Days in the middle of last summer after I had gotten a paycheck. At the time I wasn't sure whether I would truly enjoy it, but it was a book that would be signed, and have my name in the acknowledgements at the end, so obviously I had to do it. After receiving the book around a month ago, give or take a week, I ended up reading it exclusively, dropping everything else I had been reading at the time, and picking up the e-book whenever I was out and free for a few mom ...more
❤Marie Gentilcore
I was very excited to receive this book which was autographed by the author in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The book arrived quickly and I started right in. It was an enjoyable story and I learned a lot about start ups. The two main characters were well developed. There was Connor who was very much into technology and K who didn't even own a cell phone. I wasn't sure why the two were together because they just seemed to want such different things from life but their story had me wondering a ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As, I must admit, a technology addict I was looking forward to reading this book about the (and I quote) "human side of technology" and the relationship between a connected guy and a utterly disconnected girl. I was a bit disappointed. I hoped for more reflections on the consequences of technology on human behaviour and relations. However, to me, the relationship between Connor and K in this book isn't representative for many relations due to personal issues of (mainly) K. I was an amusing read ...more
Diego Petrucci
I've got mixed feelings about this book. Although it's a good story, in various occasions while reading it I've felt that it's a story I could have written — it's almost cliché-y, exactly what you would expect. I can't say anything more, I might spoil it, but I can say the book takes an analytical look at technology using it as a background for a mediocre story (we all want escape from technology, we'd love technology to be the root of our problems, and yet our weaknesses are the roots of our pr ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this first novel by a new author. I won this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.

The characters were very well written - I was interested in what was happening to them and what was going to happen next. I liked the premise of the book and the story engaged me from the beginning. Working in a tecnology industry, I saw a lot of traits I recognised in this story.

The ending fell a little flat for me. Not just the relationship breakup, but the work side of things too. That was what preven
I won this book through one of the Goodreads giveaways and I was really excited to start the book once I got it in the mail. The characters and the plot were interesting, but there were a lot of details about the business and other stuff that I didn't think was necessary. The book definitely reflected this generation's use of technology accurately, nonetheless. The ending wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was a nice end to a worthy book.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alison by: Kickstarter, SwissMiss
Not quite sure how I feel about the novel... The characters were interesting and the plot kept me interested but I feel rather dissatisfied. It's not that I need a happy ending, it just ended so abruptly. There were also points (especially at the beginning) that the descriptions got too wordy and I ended up skipping ahead.

Kickstarted this book, but felt that the writer sent me updates wayyyy too much. I'm interested, but not that interested.
Anders Høeg Nissen
Would have liked to be able to give it 3,5 stars...
Basically a romance/existentialist story, set in the New York startup scene. As a tech journo, I found the stuff about the UI work and the startups more interesting than the romance bit (I think I would have loved this book much more 10 years ago).
Everything is very well written, though, and it's pretty unputdownable. A great summer read. What's the equivalent to chicklit for tech-interested guys? Brotechlit? This is one of those, anyway :-)
Simon De la rouviere
Really enjoyed 'These Days'. Originally found it through Jack's post on the 'slow web movement', which resonated with me: someone that is probably sometimes too involved with information and the 'stream'. It's no coincidence then that I connected to Connor much more than I thought I would. Great read. The people and the themes are all too familiar.
A solid debut effort. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, found both protagonists frustrating in I think the intended way, and have a sudden craving for lingonberry sauce.

I found parts of the beginning chapters clunky and a little amateurish, but Cheng's fiction writing skills clearly developed as his novel progressed.
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Jack Cheng was born in Shanghai and grew up in Michigan. After nearly a decade in New York, working in advertising and tech, he now lives in Detroit.
“There’s a difference between not caring and knowing what’s important.” 6 likes
“I guess I felt like the reason I was so hurt afterward was because I'd gotten carried away, started thinking too far ahead of myself. And all the pain and suffering were because I'd built up my expectations, and after that I learned my lesson. If I don't expect anything, then nothing can hurt me.” 4 likes
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