๐Ÿ“š 2022

August

The Iliad, by Homer

This translation was by Samuel Butler and is (fortunately) in prose form, so it was enjoyable to read.

Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik

A nice foray into materials science: the author takes everyday objects and explains how we created them. There are chapters on concrete, plastic, steel and so on.

July

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

A mercilessly bleak book that I'm glad I read but intend to never read again.

The Stranger, by Albert Camus

A murderer is judged by a society he cannot relate to. Told from the perspective of an indifferent, apathetic character.

June

The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, by Thomas Ligotti

A pessimist's manifesto on the pointlessness of it all. A nice break from the usual propaganda.

Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake

A peek into the world of fungi, from truffles to magic mushrooms. Very interesting.

May

The Battles of Tolkien, by David Day

A book to be held. With lovely illustrations and binding, it is a joy to read. Quite short though, and I was expecting a bit more depth in many of the sections.

How the World Works, by Noam Chomsky

A collection of 4 books, collecting interviews given by Chomsky in a variety of topics. An excellent summary of his worldview.

April

Alex Through the Looking-Glass, by Alex Bellos

I've read Alex Bellos before and quite liked the first one. This one is good too, barring the first chapter which feels more like a chapter on numerology/favourite numbers etc.

Olympos, by Dan Simmons

The sequel to Ilium and quite enjoyable, although massive. Somehow the author makes it all work in a way that is quite satisfying.

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin

My first Le Guin. A scientist from an anarchist moon colony escapes to the mother planet and is faced with a clash of ideas. I wasn't too sure what to expect from this but was pretty happy with how nuanced the cultures were.

March

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke

A short fantasy from the author of the excellent Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Recommended.

American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

Um this one is extremely disturbing. I don't what I expected going in, maybe something like Dorian Grey if he was a yuppie. But this book was quite gruesome.

Knowledge, Reality, and Value: A Mostly Common Sense Guide to Philosophy, by Michael Huemer

A phenomenal introduction to philosophy. Skips all the boring bits, has great examples, and has some really good sections on critical thinking. I wish I'd read stuff like this when I was much younger.

February

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe, by Thomas Ligotti

The dreaming, slumbering ghost of Lovecraft is alive and well in this collection of horror stories.

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe, by Steven H. Strogatz

Fairly light reading. Does not go too deep but gives a sense of how wide-spread Calculus is. Some nice historical examples show how it has been used across the years.

Look at the Harlequins! by Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov's last published novel. This protagonist here feels like the one that's the closest imitation of the author. Beautiful, lyrical prose as always.

Supergods, by Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison looks at Super Heroes across the years, and weaves in his own childhood and career. Recommended for comic lovers.

January

A great way to start the year. I'm in Chennai and had nothing to do except read.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

This is my first Austen. I tried to place close attention to the conversations and motivations of the characters, and imagine how a less skilled author would have done the same thing.

The Witcher Series, by Andrzej Sapkowski

  • The Lady of the Lake
  • Season of Storms

With these two, I've now read all the Witcher books. The Lady of the Lake was quite exquisite. The entire series was leading up to this one as all the stories converge to a set of brutal, poignant and unpredictable set of events. Highly recommended.

The Season of Storms is an unrelated prequel that can be read by itself but has some spoilers about events in the last book.

Ilium, Dan Simmons

It's the Iliad, but with post-human Shakespeare-reading robots, meddling 'gods' and a human society that has lost all knowledge of its past. If that sounded fun, this book is for you. I tried to go in blind and enjoyed this. Unfortunately the story doesn't end here and there's one more book that continues (and hopefully concludes) things.

Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre

A gloomy book about a lonely writer pondering his existence. Quite nice.