๐Ÿ“š 2023


An Immense World, by Ed Yong

A lovely exploration into the hidden world of animal senses. I love seeing the world through different perspectives and this book did that job very well.

Post Office, by Charles Bukowski

Trash. I'm not sure why Bukowski is rated so highly. Certainly not for this pointless book.

I Used To Know That, by Alan Joyce

A short read. A collection of anecdotes about famous authors.

House of Leaves, by Mark Z Danielewski

I'm surprised I hadn't come across this book before. It is /very/ similar structurally, to Nabokov's Pale Fire, one of my all-time favourites. This one is a horror book based on a film documentary narrated by a blind man and annotated by a constantly-digressing tattoo artist. Lovely layers upon layers of a labyrinth.


The Outlaw Ocean, by Ian Urbina

A fascinating look into the wild, lawless life in the oceans. From illegal fishing to slavery and piracy, every chapter astounds.

Glory, by Vladimir Nabokov

One of his russian books, translated by his son. The writing is as always, luminous in places. The protagonist is a lot more decent than the usual odd characters Nabokov writes about.


Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene

An enjoyable satire of the incompetent people running the government's secret service.

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

My first Woolf novel. I liked the rich inner monologues of the characters.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcรญa Mรกrquez

A dreamy, looping novel. Found the recurring names confusing -- but it was clear this was intentional.


Rutherford and Fry's Complete Guide to Absolutely Everything, by Adam Rutherford & Hannah Fry

A humorous, short guide to space, time and everything in between. I didn't feel like I learnt anything new, but I appreaciate the authors' enthusiasm and wit. Recommended for a new generation of kids getting into science.

The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli

I wanted to get back into my old non-fiction favourites and picked this one. It is a pretty good introduction to humanity's pursuit in understanding time. But I fear I've hit a ceiling with such books and need to either go deeper or look elsewhere.


Doomsday Clock, by Geoff Johns

A Watchmen sequel that merges it with the DC characters. Sounds like an awful combination, but I was thoroughly impressed by how much it retained the original flavour and added to it.

Faith, Hope and Carnage, by Nick Cave

A series of interviews with a great artist. Nick Cave does not do anything in halves. Always thoughtful, deeply considerate and passionate about the human connection.

Under the Skin, by Michel Faber

I don't read horror usually but I really enjoyed this one. It is hard to discuss this without spoiling the plot and I'm glad I went in blind. There are larger and deeper themes that make it a deeper book than it appears.

Winter World, by A.G. Riddle

A decent sci fi novel about an alien visit that triggers an ice age on Earth. The protagonist is annoyingly flawless.

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

The story of a bright girl dealing with mental illness. Appears to be semi-autobiographical, which is quite sad.


Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert

Continues Paul Atreides's journey from rebel to ruler and eventually, messiah. Recommended for fans of classic sci-fi.

Prisoners of Geography, by Tim Marshall

An excellent guide to how geography shapes history and civilizations, and how arbitrary lines drawn by colonial powers has led to decades of struggle. Each chapter is on an interesting part of each major continent or world power.

No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

I was already going through this when the great writer passed away. This one is more straight-forward than his earlier books like Blood Meridien, but is still a very great read.

Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke

What I expected: more on junk food, doom scrolling and how the media, internet and food industries have optimized the consumption of junk to perfection. What I got: some of the Doctor's sessions with some of her patients, and their extreme addictions. Skip.

Life's Edge, by Carl Zimmer

A marvelous book on the grey area between the living and the non-living. Wide in breadth and filled with beautiful examples of bizarre living beings.


Masters of Doom, by David Kushner

An inside the scenes of look at the early days of id software, and how John Romero and John Carmack built Doom and related games. Recommended, especially for the 90's nostalgia.

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

It took me a lot of time to finish this (audio) book but I'm happy that I stuck with it. A butler whose mission is to serve a worthy master reminisces about his life's journey.


Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos

Like the movie version of Starship Troopers, but missing the satire.

Illuminations, by Alan Moore

I'm a huge fan of Alan Moore's graphic novels and this is the first novel of his that I've read. He has not lost any of his strangeness and this short story collection is quite nice.

The weakest link, I felt, was the longest of them, centred around a fictional comic industry and the messed up executives who built it. I got the feeling that, from the many axes he had to grind from his own experiences in the industry, he set about to make as insulting a portrait as he could. So some of the usual charm and imagination of his stories was lacking in this one.


Pirateology, by Dugald A Steer

I got this purely because of the lovely art style. A very short read but beautifully made.

Dogs of War, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A short and entertaining read on bio-engineered animals used in wars. The protagonist is a fearsome dog that is fighting its programming. The other members of the squad are interesting as well. This would be pretty awesome to play as a video game!

Dune, by Frank Herbert

This is a re-read, and I also saw the new remake recently, so it was nice to compare the story with the movie's casting and other choices. Dr Kynes is probably the one who has changed the most. The inner monologues, training, and perception of Paul and his mother are other aspects that are lost in the move to the big screen.

This is one of the classics so is an easy recommend. The parallels with imperialist wars in the middle east are a bit obvious (melange == oil).


All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, by Jonathan Abrams

A lovely collection of trivia and behind-the-scenes looks at the people behind The Wire. This is the greatest show made in TV history, so these interviews are quite fascinating.


Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

I have read Tess of the d'Ubervilles and liked it. This one is quite good too. Recommended.


Rationality, by Steven Pinker

A dissapointing book. I expected a lot more from the author of How the mind works. Most of the chapters here will be familiar to people who've read about game theory, statistics, the replication crisis and so on... there are dozens of general science books that cover this quite well. What could have been a really interesting chapter on irrationality today (anti vaxxers, tribalist politics) did not unearth any compelling insights.

The author's primary argument against irrationality is that anyone who argues in favour of it is doing so on a rational basis, so it is ultimately rational. Quite unsatisfying.

The Time Traveler's Almanac, by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

The book's aim is to be comprehensive collection of time travel short stories. I would have preferred if it had been half the size with a selection of the best ones. Nevertheless this is obviously a good collection.