๐Ÿ“š 2024

July

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

A charming, humorous, magical world filled with time travel, fictional worlds blurring with the real one, and a secret service that aims to catch crimes against literature. If you like Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett you will like this.

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, by David Simon

Before The Wire there was this book. Chronicles a year in the lives of a squad of homicide detectives. Interspersed with essays on adjacent departments like the morgue, the courts and so on. Highly recommended for fans of the show.

June

The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green

A bunch of lovely reviews on the things that makes us human. Very wide in breadth.

Surface Detail, by Iain M Banks

I've read several of his books but missed this one. This one is quite a bit darker than the others: a virtual Hell created by a civilization becomes a point of contention for various factions, including the Culture.

Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro

I was an Ishiguro fan after Remains of the Day, and this book is almost as good.

Tau Zero, by Poul Anderson

A sci-fi novel that starts small and reaches some pretty interesting heights at the end.

May

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Time weaves its way through several interconnecting stories. Reminded me a bit of Cloud Atlas (which I liked a lot more).

The Iron King, by Maurice Druon

An excellent historical novel based on King Philip the Fair. I don't know enough French history to discern fact from fiction but the book was very enjoyable.

Make Me, by Lee Child

My first Jack Reacher book. Enjoyable and moves at a good pace. Recommended as a light read.

The Great Derangement, by Amitav Ghosh

A great writer considers the history and politics around Climate Change.

Sad Cypress, by Agatha Christie

Two quick reads from a library nearby while I'm at my in-laws' this month. Always an enjoyable read.

April

The Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe

A good fantasy novel about a Torturer who is exiled from his guild. Not sure what I expected going in but it was a fairly enjoyable story.

The Just City, by Jo Walton

An excellent thought experiment. Athena and Apollo decide to implement Plato's 'Just City' in Atlantis, and recruit a bunch of children to form the first generation that will grow up to govern or work in it. Socrates joins the experiment and is at his meddlesome best. Enjoyed the book.

March

Introducing Plato, by Dave Robinson

An excellent introduction to Plato's work. Good preparation before jumping direct to the source.

Think Again, by Adam Grant

I don't remember anything about this book now, 2-3 weeks after reading it.

The Odyssey of Homer, by Elizabeth Vandiver

A break down of Homer's Odyssey. Lots of rich context behind the language used, the culture of the times back then, and so on.

Think Again, by Adam M. Grant

Ways to rethink your assumptions, handle arguments, and so on. A bit bland and I'm not sure I took away much from this book.

How to View and Appreciate Great Movies, by Eric Williams

A look into different parts of the movie making process and what sets apart normal ones from the great ones. Fairly enjoyable, and has some interesting anecdotes. E.g. did you ever notice that No Country For Old Men had zero background music?

February

Stress and Your Body, by Robert M. Sapolsky

A phenomenal (audio) book from The Great Courses. The author takes an easy-to-understand analogy and applies it to every part of the body to show how stress affects it. I really liked Sapolsky's way of thinking and teaching.

Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, by Bernard Evslin

A gentle and fun introduction to all the important Greek Gods and Heroes.

Who was Vincent van Gogh, by J. Hulsker

A pleasant read in a single sitting. A nice overview of van Gogh's life and works.

The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin

Sounded like a book on productivity but ended up covering a whole bunch of things about probability and so on.

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, by G.K. Chesterton

Absolutely enjoyable. I usually judge books on how they 'surprise' me and I'm happy to say that every time this book seemed to be going in a predictable direction, it veered off course into a completely different one. Highly recommended.

The Miniaturist, by Kunal Basu

About a painter in Mughal India. A pleasant evening's read.

Post Office, by Charles Bukowski

Ugh, this was just horrible. Please skip.

January

The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth

I'm not sure that anyone could remember all the conventions and idioms covered in the book. But if you ignore all that and just treat it as a nice breakdown of several great pieces of literature by someone who loves the language, it is enjoyable.