I read 20 books last year. All twenty books were deadtree format. Fourteen of them were fiction. Six were non-fiction. I continued to read to the girls almost every night. Podcasts still loom large in terms of time invested.
There’s a chart below showing books read by year since 2011.
Fiction in 2018
- The Cuckoo’s Calling - J. K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith - Tropey brit-bloke detective novel. Fun. I’ll follow this series.
- The Vorrh - Brian Catling - An endless, timeless African forest. Colonialism and ancient magic.
- Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë - An exploration of tyranny and love on the heath.
- All The Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders - Witchcraft and science in the near-future.
- A Wrinkle In Time - Madeleine L'Engle - The Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics for kids.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach - Positive thinking and tenacity for birds.
- Seven Surrenders - Ada Palmer - Providence in another God’s universe.
- Democracy - Papadatos, Kawa & Di Donna - 490 BCE Athens as graphic novel.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch - Gentlemen Bastards serve the Crooked Warden in medieval Venice, but on another planet.
- Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene - Spycraft and other self-fufilling prophecies.
- Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro - A quest to remember in a time with a need to forget.
- REAMDE - Neal Stephenson - Gold farming and jihad.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke - “oh my God! — it’s full of stars!”
- The Will To Battle - Ada Palmer - A tract of time, wherein the Will to contend by Battle is sufficiently known.
Read in that order.
Top Three Fiction in 2018
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
“I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it - but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
This book came highly recommend by Sam. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t an exploration of tyranny, love, and inter-generational trama on the heath.
“This is a wild ride: raw and violent and exceedingly modern. In Wuthering Heights there’s no hiding how terrible most of the people in it are. At the same time, the novel seems to be precisely about how conditions of violence, cruelty, racism, and intolerance reproduce themselves from generation to generation.”
At the end I was hoping for a Nelly spin-off.
Seven Surrenders and The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer
“If God made Man and Man made this, it is still a Self-portrait. And if, as some say, God made Man in His Image, and His Image then made this, it is a portrait’s portrait. And if Nature is the face of God, another Portrait, and Man is the spawn of Nature, it becomes a portrait’s portrait’s portrait. The Nature we see on Earth too is a microcosm, one might say a portrait of the Cosmos, and the Cosmos a portrait of the Laws of Nature, portraits spawning portraits like the spiral chambers of a nautilus repeating the face of God. Such a Creator seems desperate to show Himself to someone. And yet He hides Himself.”
Part two and three of the Terra Ignota Series. Philosophical and political sci-fi of the best kind.
Is there a place for miracle in a scientific society?
Is an Imperfect Sovereign better than a mounting Will to Battle?
What exactly is it that holds society together?
Non-Fiction in 2018
- Fully Engaged - Thomas M. Sterner
- Nonviolent Communication - Marshall B. Rosenberg
- Becoming Leonardo - Mike Langford
- Its OK Not To Share - Heather Shumaker
- If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?- Alan Alda
- Salt Fat Acid Heat - Samin Nosrat & Wendy MacNaughton
Top Three Non-Fiction in 2018
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
“Nonviolent Communication holds that most conflicts arise from coercive or manipulative language that aims to induce fear, guilt, and shame. These "violent” modes of communication divert the attention of the participants away from clarifying their needs, their feelings, their perceptions, and their requests, thus perpetuating the conflict.“ -Wikipedia Entry on NVC
Becoming Leonardo by Mike Langford
"What accounts for Leonardo is an act of self-discovery, and the tenacity to make it, over and over. […] Learning to read was incredibly difficult, writing “correctly” even more so. Everything seemed wrong to him, backward somehow, and he couldn’t figure out why. He felt so stupid. And then, somehow the idea was inserted into his confused little brain, “Do it your own way, even if it is different. You are not stupid! Find how it works for you.”
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton.
“Play to each element’s strengths: use Salt to enhance, Fat to carry, and Acid to balance flavor.”
A cookbook for those who wish to cook without cookbooks.
Podcasts in 2018
For podcasts, 2019 will be the year of the pare down. I seem to have collected 23 podcasts in the podcatcher and I can’t keep up. My unlistened episodes queue is at 27 and growing.
Podcasts added this year:
- Flash Forward - Possible & not so possible futures. Speculative radio plays and science journalism.
- Interactive Indies - Conversations with Winnipeggers doing game dev and/or interactive media work.
- Syntax - Tasty web development treats.
- Views on Vue - Guest and panel discuss all this Vue.
- ZigZag - Journalism as a token economy.
Podcasts still in rotation:
CBC Ideas, Commons, Greater than Code, Hanselminutes, Invisibilia, LeVar Burton Reads, Long Now Seminars, Overdue, Philosophize This!, Philosophy Bites, Reply All, Song Exploder, The Bike Shed, The Public Philosopher, The Ruby Rogues, The Tim Ferriss Show, Think Again & This American Life.
Top Three Podcasts
I enjoyed these podcasts the most in 2018.
Ideas with Paul Kennedy (CBC)
Still a favourite. So many great episodes to pick from.
- Two takes on consciousness as a fundamental element of the universe:
- Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough
- Who are you? Five stories of how gender shapes identity.
Possible and not so possible futures. Speculative radio plays and science journalism.
- Portrait of the Artists as an Algorithm. Welcome to the Museum of Non-Human Art. Listen on Spotify
- Bot for Teacher. A future without schools. Listen on Spotify
- Our Father, Who art in Algorithm. Machine-generated super religion. Listen on Spotify
The Public Philosopher
I was introduced to philosopher Michael Sandel in 2012 through his online course on Justice at Harvard. Since then I’ve been following his BBC Radio series of public debates.
- Should we aspire to be citizens of the world, or is a citizen of the world a Citizen of Nowhere? (St Paul’s Cathedral, 2018)
- Why Democracy? (Online Global Debate, 2015)
- CBC Ideas Crossover, 2017: Why Democracy Depends on How we Talk to Each Other - A debate about immigration that is actually a debate about what it means to be a citizen.