I read 22 books last year. Three were read on my new e-reader, the rest were deadtree format. Fourteen of them were fiction. Eight were non-fiction. I continued to read to the girls almost every night. Normally my bus commute allows for my reading and podcast habit. In 2020 my reading shifted into bed before sleep. Podcasts shifted to running and cooking. 2020 was also the year the fam truely took over my Spotify account. The algorithms are confused.
Where 2019 was all re-reads, 2020 included one re-read, a bunch of sci-fi (as per usual), and a number of math and coding tomes.
Fiction in 2020
- Jennifer Government - Max Barry - Capitalizm knows best.
- The Final Solution - Michael Chabon - Exploits of a once-famous detective turned senile beekeeper.
- The Cursed Hermit - Kris Bertin & Alexander Forbes - The Hobtown Junior Detective Club solves another Lynch-ian mystery.
- Fall or Dodge in Hell - Neal Stephenson - Digitally ever after; a simulation of Paradise Lost.
- The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith - Bombyx Mori.
- The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Patrick Rothfuss - Auri alone in the Underthing.
- The Book of Dust - Philip Pullman - Alethiometers, Dæmons, and His Dark Materials.
- American Gods - Neil Gaiman - Of old and new gods.
- Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters - J. D. Salinger - Folks who live in Glass houses…
- Babel-17 - Samuel R. Delany - Sapir-Whorf in space.
- Three Body Problem - Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu) - Long distance calls to another world during China’s Cultural Revolution.
- Recursion - Blake Crouch - Loop back again. Loop back again. Loop back again.
- Radicalized - Cory Doctorow - Near future dystopias.
- Rebel Angels - Robertson Davies - Scholars and Gypsies. The root to the crown.
Top Three Fiction Books in 2020
The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
“The pleasure of knowing secrets was doubled by telling them.”
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
“There was a door, but it was terribly bashful, so Auri politely pretended not to see it.”
Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies
“Universities cannot be more universal than the people who teach, and the people who learn, within their walls.”
Non-Fiction in 2020
- How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen - Joanna Faber, Julie King, Adele Faber
- Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher abd William L. Ury
- How to Solve It - George Pólya
- A Tour of C++ - Bjarne Stroustrup
- The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love - Per J. Andersson, Anna Holmwood (Translator)
- This Book is Anti-Racist - Tiffany Jewell
- Burn Math Class - Jason Wilkes
- Game Coding Complete - Mike “MrMike” McShaffry and David “Rez” Graham
Top Three Non-Fiction in 2020
How to Solve It by George Pólya
“Solving problems is a practical skill like, let us say, swimming. We acquire any practical skill by imitation and practice. Trying to swim, you imitate what other people do with their hands and feet to keep their heads above water and, finally, you learn to swim by practicing swimming. Trying to solve problems, you have to observe and imitate what other people do when solving problems and, finally, you learn to do problems by doing them.”
Burn Math Class by Jason Wilkes
“Forget everything you’ve been told about math. Forget all those silly formulas you’ve ever been told to memorize. Make a little room in your head with clean white walls and no math. Without leaving that room, let’s reinvent mathematics for ourselves.”
A Tour of C++ - Bjarne Stroustrup
“Think of [this book as a] short sightseeing tour of a city. […] You do not know the city after such a tour. You do not understand all you have seen and heard. To really know a city, you have to live in it, often for years. […] After the tour, the real exploration can begin.”
Family Books in 2020
The library was closed for much of 2020 so our picture book consumption plummeted. We still managed 40 picture books, two Nancy Clancy chapter books, one Harry Potter, and far too many garfield comic strips. Jelani Memory’s A Kids Book About Racism gave us the words to talk through the racism the girls have no doubt already noticed in the world.
Podcasts in 2020
The plan for 2019 was to pare down my podcasts, but in 2020 my show count balloned from 20 to 28. To keep up, I’m no longer an every-show-completionist.
New Podcasts: Front Burner, Nice Games Club, Game Dev Advice, CBC Spark, CppCast, CppChat, Lex Fridman, Pitchfork Review, Gameplay
Podcasts that continue to be in rotation:
Top Three Podcasts in 2020
Machine-learning researcher does long-form interviews about the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power.
Way more than three favourite episodes:
- Joscha Bach - Artificial Consciousness and the Nature of Reality
- Stephen Wolfram - Fundamental Theory of Physics, Life, and the Universe
- Francois Chollet - Measures of Intelligence
- Lisa Feldman Barrett - Counterintuitive Ideas About How the Brain Works
- Alex Garland - Ex Machina, Devs, Annihilation, and the Poetry of Science
- Roger Penrose - Physics of Consciousness and the Infinite Universe
- Chritof Koch - Consciousness
Front Burner and Spark from CBC
Front Burner is a short daily news podcast, while Spark is a weekly look at how technology, innovation and design affects our lives. I don’t listen to every episode, but Jayme Poisson and Nora Young are there when I need a news and culture explainer.
Instead of picking fav episodes, I suggest you cherry pick the topics that stand out to you.
A show where nice gamedevs talk gaming and game development. A lovely show with a thoughtful group of friends.